A whippet that is extra clingy with its owner and doesn’t want them to leave can be an annoying problem to have.
There are many possible reasons behind the behaviour and trying to find out why your whippet is clingy can help you work out how to manage it.
If you have a whippet that becomes attached to you and can’t bear the thought of you leaving, you’re in the right place.
In this post, we look at how to manage a clingy whippet and what you can do to help solve this issue.
Why Are Some Whippets Clingy?
There are many different dog breeds that have been bred over the years for certain characteristics, and whippets have been selectively bred to be particularly intelligent.
Their intelligence means that they can sometimes pick things up faster than other dogs which makes training them easier.
However, their intelligence also means that they will be more likely to pick up on your emotions.
If you have a whippet that has been clingy, there is a good chance that this is because it has picked up on the fact that your leaving and coming back means more stress for you than it does to them.
This can mean they attempt to make themselves as useful as possible to try and reduce your stress by taking the pressure off of you.
They might also try to prevent you from leaving by getting under your feet or even climbing on top of you.
Clinginess is often a behaviour that your dog has learned. For example, if you always give your whippet a treat when they follow you, they will start to follow you more and more as they now expect a treat.
Training plays a big part in how clingy your whippet will be too. If you give your whippet puppy constant attention whilst they are growing up, they will never want to be away from you and can start to become fearful of being alone.
This is when separation anxiety can start to develop and can become a real problem in whippets.
This illness is when your whippet gets incredibly anxious when it’s not with its owner, which requires commitment, a lot of hard work, and dedication to get your whippet out of this.
Another reason your whippet may be super clingy is that they are growing old and becoming blind, deaf, or subject to other illnesses.
When their world starts to become unfamiliar they will look to you as their owner for guidance and comfort, which is the sad reality of your dog becoming older.
Understanding Clinginess & Separation Anxiety
Clinginess and separation anxiety are not the same. A dog that is clingy will be fine when left alone, but a dog that has separation anxiety will not.
The difference comes from how the dog reacts when you are not there.
It’s important to identify if your whippet is simply clingy, or if they have separation anxiety as the way you will treat them is different depending on the issue.
Separation anxiety can cause whippets to be destructive when left alone out of fear and frustration, as well as urinating or defecating.
Clinginess is not destructive but will result in excessive crying when left alone.
If you feel your whippet has separation anxiety perform a few simple tests to check for it before applying any of the methods below.
Clinginess can progress into separation anxiety if not treated early, so it is important to identify which you are dealing with.
Clinginess can be caused by a number of different factors, not all behavioural.
It could be that your whippet simply wants more attention (and they certainly get it when they’re crying), but sometimes the reason for clinginess can be medical or environmental.
How To Stop Your Whippet Being So Clingy
If you’ve successfully identified that your whippet is clingy, and does not have separation anxiety, I’ve listed some of the top ways to stop your whippet from being so clingy below;
You have to enforce rules for your dog, just as you would a child. If your whippet is clingy and crying when you first leave him alone, stay away until he’s calm.
There are many scientific reasons why this works, but essentially it breaks the association between being close to you and being left alone.
When your whippet is tired, he’s less likely to be clingy. If you can, plan your day so he has a good run around before you leave the house this will stop him from whining and being so clingy.
If your whippet is tired he will have little or no interest to follow you around all day, so try increasing their exercise to see how they react.
Stimulating your whippet mentally is crucial if you want them to be happy and healthy.
Try playing some games and using dog toys to mentally stimulate your whippet, a bored dog is much more likely to become clingy with its owner than a dog that is stimulated.
Crate training is very beneficial to whippets, it will help them feel secure and safe which in turn will make them less clingy.
If your dog wants to follow you around all day then they are likely not using their den (crate) properly.
No matter whether your whippet is a puppy or an adult it doesn’t matter, crate training is a must for all whippets.
If you need to make a cup of tea and your whippet is in the crate, pop a toy or a bone in there before you leave, this will keep them occupied until you get back.
Crate training also makes it easier for house training which is always essential to having a well-trained whippet.
Crates act as a safe place for your whippet to go so that they feel safe and comfortable, so in times when you’re not home they will learn to go into their crate and they’ll feel secure.
Desensitise From Your Movements
As whippets are very intelligent dogs, they will often associate your movement with their activity.
For example, if you stand up and go into the kitchen, they may associate this with you leaving and they may rush in to follow you.
Start to move around your home a little randomly, for example, pick up your car keys and walk to the door but turn right back around and sit down on the sofa.
Over time your whippet will desensitise from your movements and learn that just because you stand up doesn’t mean they need to follow you.
Is Clingy Behaviour Normal In Whippets?
Clingy behaviour in whippets is perfectly normal because whippets are very sociable dogs.
They would be considered to be a “Velcro” type of dog because they simply want to be around the people in their home all day long.
Whilst this can be great because it makes them excellent family pets, but it can also cause problems if you have visitors over or if you want to leave them alone for a while.
Try not to worry so much about your whippet being clingy, over time with proper techniques you can absolutely stop your whippet from being so clingy.
The Importance Of Training
Starting to train your whippet as early as possible is crucial to stop them from displaying clingy behaviour.
Training teaches the whippet that he needs to listen to you, and not do what he wants because it’s fun.
Training will also help build trust and a bond between you and your whippet, and they’ll learn that you’re not going to run away and abandon them so they don’t need to be so clingy.
Whippets can become clingy for many different reasons, some of these are circumstantial, some due to insecurities, and some due to genetics.
It’s important that you do not approach your whippet when he is in a room by himself if he is acting clingy, this could upset him even more.
If the problem persists it might be worth having your vet check him over to rule out any medical conditions.
If your whippet is new to you it’s worth noting that some whippets are naturally clingier than others, and this can cause problems if not approached correctly.
Important: Whippets with a history of abuse, neglect, or abandonment will need extra time and patience when training them as they might be very scared or fearful of being left alone.
Rescue whippets are known to be clingy because of this, so they need extra time, patience, and a lot of work to stop them from being so clingy.
It may be best to speak with a professional dog trainer if your rescue whippet is showing clingy behaviour, it’s often not something they will grow out of or can be easily treated if this is the case.
As a whole, whippet clinginess is totally normal and something that many whippet owners experience.
There really isn’t anything you can do to stop it, apart from the recommendations provided above.
It may take your whippet some time to ‘give in’ and allow you enough time to leave them alone for a brief period of time.
A little training goes a long way with whippets though, so it’s not too late to start!
Even if you don’t think it will work, it’s definitely worth a shot!
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope it has helped you in managing your clingy whippet.
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Hello. I’m Luke- the founder of WhippetCentral. I’m somewhat of a whippet nut and have been for most of my life. In that time, I’ve owned and raised numerous whippets. Bonnie is my latest girl; she is currently eight years old and keeps me very busy! Understanding the need for whippet-specific content, I decided to create this blog to share what I have learned and to share my expertise regarding owning and raising whippets – the right way!