Whippet socialisation is a crucial part of raising a happy healthy dog, but what is socialisation and why is it so important?
Well, whippets are naturally a social breed, they require social interactions with other dogs and humans.
This helps them get a better understanding of the world and their surroundings.
See, when puppies are born they start learning and exploring immediately, under the supervision of their mother of course.
They start using their senses, smell, taste and touch to satiate curiosity and help them feel comfortable in their surroundings.
By the time a puppy has left its mother, they’ve already learned quite a lot about being a dog, however, they still don’t know much about the outside world, that’s where you come in.
In this post we are going to go through the importance of socialising your whippet, giving you some of the best ways to do it and more.
Let’s get into it…
What Is Whippet Socialising?
Socialising a dog is essentially the same as socialising a human, it involves exposing your whippet to many new experiences whilst they are young so they can gain a better understanding of the world.
This helps make positive connections and gives them make sense of the world, and also gives them valuable skills that they’ll develop over the course of their life.
A puppy begins socialising on their own as soon as they are born, but by the time they are eight weeks old, they are ready to expand and explore.
This is where you come in, you’ll be responsible for providing repeat positive experiences for your whippet pup, whilst he does the actual socialising.
Every small event for a puppy is a new life experience which they can learn from, they are always observing and paying attention to their surroundings.
Why Is Socialising Your Whippet So Important?
So why is whippet socialisation so important?
Well, this breed of dog is incredibly social, they need interactions to make them confident later on in life.
An unsocialised dog can lead to anxiety, aggression and extreme behaviour shifts that can be challenging to work with.
If you think about it, if your dog has never met other dogs before or had opportunities to meet other people, then when they are put in this scenario they are completely out of their comfort zone.
This is why it’s important to socialise your whippet pup at a young age, so when they do come into these scenarios later on in life they have a “been there”, “done that” attitude.
A socialised dog takes life step by step, as they know the world is full of surprises and mysteries.
A socialised dog takes thunderstorms, men with caps, restaurants, cars, motorcycles all in his stride, as he knows there is nothing to fear.
They are generally well-rounded dogs that have been exposed to these experiences as a young pup, so have gained knowledge, experience and confidence around them to understand that they are not a threat.
An unsocialised dog will feel anxious around these things, maybe they bark at moving cars? Or they feel anxious when around other dogs?
Or even aggressive around other dogs. It’s important to socialise your dog because he will stay composed, calm and confident throughout these different experiences.
Making him a dream dog to own as nothing can get in his way.
The Best Ways To Socialise Your Whippet
So how can you ensure that you socialise your whippet and prepare him for experiences to come later in life?
Well, here are a couple of great ways to socialise your whippet;
- Take your whippet to the park – When you’re whippet pup has had his vaccines and is old enough to go for walks. It’s a good idea to take him to the local dog park where he can meet some new friends, this helps socialise him and get him used to the idea of being around other dogs.
- Take your whippet to meet family or friends – Taking your whippet pup to meet family and friends is a great way to socialise him. Whippets love to meet new people and they love attention and affection, I’m sure your friends and family would love to meet your new furry friend too.
- Endure a thunderstorm together – This one isn’t usually pleasant, but if there’s a thunderstorm you should go through it by with your whippet pups side. This lets him know that you’re there for him no matter what, and he will come to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of with thunderstorms and that you’re there for him in hard times.
- Take your pup out to restaurants – When you go out to eat, it can be a good idea to take your whippet with you. This gets him used to being around a lot of people and will help socialise him. This helps your pup get accustomed to the world around him, and helps him absorb new experiences that he can learn from and use later on in life.
- Offer praise and rewards for good behaviour – After every positive social experience, you should reward your pup with some praise of a cheeky dog treat. If your whippet pup is staying nice and calm around people, dogs and other animals then he deserves a reward. Did they just walk past a motorcycle and not react? Give him some well-deserved praise!
- Take a deep breath and relax – Not all exposures you have will be perfect, but it’s a learning curve that is crucial to your whippet becoming friendly, confident and happy. Take a deep breath and relax if it doesn’t go your way, and certainly don’t punish your pup for not being calm and composed, as it may take some time to get him used to social experiences.
Living with an unsocialised whippet can cause some problems, and even dangers.
Often they can be unpredictable and have radical behaviour changes when they are in situations they are not used to.
Not only that, but changes in their life can really affect an unsocialised whippet, making moving house, taking a new job, being home less much harder on your whippet.
Here are a couple of ways that an unsocialised whippet can be a danger or problem;
- Aggressive behaviour towards humans and dogs.
- Extreme anxiety that can cause radical behaviour changes.
- Unpredictable around children.
- Barking at cars or motorcycles.
- Harder to take for walks because you’re anxious of his behaviour.
- Your whippet refusing to walk in the rain because he’s never been exposed to it.
- You live in a bungalow and have never exposed your pup to stairs, he may refuse so you’ll need to carry him up.
- Your whippet may try to escape if you leave a door open and could cause an accident or be injured.
There are many examples and dangers of living with an unsocialised dog, which is why it’s incredibly important that you won’t isolate him when he’s a pup.
An unsocialised dog makes everyday tasks much harder, as you’re always thinking about how he will react in different situations that he’s never been exposed too.
What’s The Best Age To Start Socialising Your Whippet
So when is the best time to start whippet socialisation?
Well, according to the American Veterinary Society Of Animal Behaviour, the most important time to explore your pip to new experiences is during the first three months of life.
Up to 12 weeks being the best window of opportunity, with the window closed at around 16 weeks of age.
This means that there’s a short opportunity to socialise your whippet so that problems don’t arise in the future.
During this time you should expose your whippet pup to lots of new experiences, everything you don’t want him to have problems with when he starts to grow into adulthood.
Although this is the most important time to socialise your whippet, it’s also important to keep this up as his life goes on.
Continue to expose your puppy to new places, people and experiences, as this will only help them build confidence and make them into a more well-rounded dog.
As your whippet matures, it’s important that this socialisation doesn’t stop, as it can be much harder to overcome fears when you’re dealing with a grown, matured dog.
Maintaining their confidence is super important, and it will only make him easier to train, live with, and an overall better dog for you and your family.
Your whippet puppy relies on you to give him new experiences that he can learn and grow from.
Including these daily activities whilst he is still a pup will ensure he grows up to be a confident, happy dog that can tackle any situation calmly.
Once you start socialising your whippet puppy you’ll be surprised at how quickly they start to learn and develop.
As puppies, they are always observing and learning from their environment, and as he learns and grows so will you.
Your pup will also appreciate you going through this journey with him, and you’ll develop a relationship that is unbreakable and truly strong for life.
Hopefully you now know the importance of socialising your whippet and the benefits it has on your pup.
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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!