Why Do Whippets Bark?

why do whippets bark

Whippets are most known for their slim slender build and their exhilarating running speed which is why they make for exceptional racing dogs.

These beautiful dogs were bred for hunting small game such as rabbits and rats, and they were regarded as incredibly high-value dogs for their ability to put bread on the table for their owners.

For this reason, many whippet owners used to keep their whippet indoors so that they would be safe and could continue to hunt for their owner.

In today’s age, many whippets are also kept indoors, they make exceptional companions and really don’t enjoy the cold outdoors.

However, there’s one problem which can become quite annoying for dog owners when it keeps to keeping your dog indoors, barking.

In this post we’re going to answer a question we get asked regularly, why do whippets bark?

Whippets do not bark much at all and are well known for being quiet dogs that are generally shy.

However, there are exceptions, but keep reading to find out more about whippet barking and what you can do about it if it’s a problem…

Reasons Whippets Bark

First, we need to understand what whippet barking means, and by understanding this we can work to minimize barking and help your dog become more house friendly.

Barking is common among all dogs, which does include whippets. It’s an important communication tool for our furry friends and allows our dogs to alert us when something is wrong.

why do whippets bark
Image: roy saunby

However, there is a difference between acceptable barking and nuisance barking, so it’s important to understand why your whippet is barking.

Here are some of the most common reasons your whippet is barking;

Separation Anxiety

Whippets are notorious for being anxious dogs, they hate to be left alone for long periods and never want to leave their owners’ side.

If you’re leaving for work or leaving your whippet alone for an extended period, you may find that he’s barking excessively through being anxious.

This is quite common for whippets as they’re super social dogs that love company, so when they are left alone it can become quite unsettling for them.

Try not to leave your whippet alone for very long and if you absolutely have to, then leave a jumper or a t-shirt which has your scent on it with your whippet to help them feel less anxious. 

Communication

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our whippets could talk to us in human language? I’m sure they would thank us for being amazing dog owners and feeding them lots of doggy treats.

Unfortunately, this is something that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, but your dog does communicate by barking.

When your whippet wants to tell you something, the only way he can do this is by barking or whining, so excessive barking can sometimes be because he’s trying to tell you something.

Maybe he’s had an injury or is feeling sad and depressed, or he could be trying to alert you of an intruder or danger.

This is something to be aware of with barking it’s more often than not something we as dog owners would prefer, as we would want an alert system should an intruder come into our home.

Excitement

There is nothing quite like coming home from work to see your little bundle of joy bouncing up and down with excitement when he sees you.

This is a normal reaction for many whippet owners, but some dogs can become overexcited and start to bark excessively.

Whippets often bark out of excitement, whether that from seeing their owner come home from work or receiving a new dog toy to play with.

This is very normal behaviour but is something that you may want to address if you find your pup barking excessively through excitement. 

Alarm & Alert

As mentioned above, dogs often bark as an alarm or warning system which can be very useful if there’s a stranger at your door.

My whippet Bonnie will often bark if there is a stranger in our back garden or something when the postman comes to the door, I actually don’t mind this type of barking as it lets me know there is someone on our property who my whippet is cautious about.

This acts as an early alarm system and is a sign your whippet is switched on and warning you of an unexpected guest.

Is Your Whippet’s Barking A Nuisance?

Now that we’ve identified the reasons why whippet bark, it’s important to find out whether or not your whippets barking is a nuisance.

Are you getting noise complaints from neighbours?

Are you losing sleep because your whippet won’t stop barking?

These are the type of questions you’ll want to ask yourself to determine whether your whippets barking is a problem or if it’s normal behaviour that you can accept.

But what is nuisance barking and what is acceptable barking?

Nuisance Barking

This type of barking is what you, and there’s class as a nuisance. It’s the type of barking that get you noise complaints from neighbours, keeps you up at night and is frankly very annoying.

Nuisance barking is common in dogs that are still very young and have not had time to mature just yet.

Also, this type of barking can be found in dogs that are not trained, and they feel constant barking is a way to get what they want.

This type of barking is actually rare in whippets, but as mentioned earlier all whippets are different and some are noisier than others.

Acceptable barking

This type of bark is one that you as the dog owner can accept and tolerate, for example when your dog barks because he’s excited or he’s alerting you of a stranger.

Acceptable barking is common in even the most highly trained dogs, it’s something that doesn’t need to be trained out of your dog and can even be beneficial.

How To Train Your Whippet Stop Barking

So how do you train your whippet to stop nuisance barking and be quiet? Well, it’s going to take patience, time and some dedication to get your whippet out of this noisy habit.

The first thing you should do is ensure that it’s really nuisance barking that you’re trying to get rid of, and don’t punish your dog for acceptable barking.

You want your dog to know when it’s ok to bark, and when he needs to be quiet, here are some top tips for training your whippet to stop barking:

Crate Training

Using crate training for your whippet can be an effective way to reduce barking. A crate should be seen by your dog as a safe, comfortable place where he can go to relax and sleep.

This is the key to crate training your whippet, the crate should never be used as a punishment as this will only encourage more barking.

You can check out our best dog crates for whippets post to find a crate that your whippet will love to relax in.

Socialise Your Whippet

Whippets are incredibly social dogs and need to interact with others, so it’s important that you socialise your whippet to help reduce barking.

Many dogs get into the habit of barking because they are afraid or uncomfortable around other dogs or humans, but if your whippet is used to this then there’s no reason for him to bark.

whippets barking
Image: Dave Gershkoff

Try to introduce your whippet to other dogs by taking him for walks with a neighbour or family members dog, this get’s him used to the idea that other dogs aren’t going to attack him and there’s no need to be scared and bark.

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

We all know how much whippets love to run and burn off steam.

If your whippet isn’t getting at least 60 minutes of physical exercise per day and given the chance to run at full speed then this could be the reason he’s barking excessively.

You should ensure you exercise your whippet throughout the day to allow him to blow off the cobwebs.

Mental stimulation is also important for whippets, so it’s a good idea to use a dog toy so that he has to use his brain for a portion of his day.

This will tire him out and allow him to sleep more and get rid of the pent up energy he has. 

Final Thoughts

So, why do whippets bark? Well, there are a lot of reasons why your whippet may be barking. However, this cannot be said for all whippets as they are all different, some whippets can be quite noisy and have a tendency to bark more than others.

The key is to identify whether it’s nuisance barking or not and if so then you can use the steps set out above to reduce your whippets barking and get him back on the right tracks.

This is going to take time and dedication, but it’s well worth it as your dog will not only be happier, as he’ll be getting the exercise and stimulation he needs to stop his barking.

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of whippet barking and why these dogs typically bark, as well as what you can do to prevent excessive barking.

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