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Whippets are sensitive, intelligent dogs. They are easily distracted, and easily bored, so training these dogs can be a handful, and it takes time. Whippets need good training in basic commands in order to keep them safe around roads, children, and other pets, as they can be impulsive chasers. They need to identify you clearly as their pack leader, while at the same time, their sensitive nature must not be triggered by aggressive domination. Owners of Whippets say the effort of training them is well worth the reward, settling and socializing the Whippet to live happily with the family and meet a variety of other people and pets.
Are Whippets easy to train? These dogs are not easy but also not too hard to train. The nature of Whippets is either to be sleeping or going at a million miles an hour: because of this high-intensity exuberance, Whippets can be challenging to train. Most Whippets can be trained well, but they will typically take longer, and need more patience and repetitions, than some other breeds.
In this article, I’ll look at the unique nature of Whippets, their temperament, the common obstacles to training these dogs successfully and easily, and how to manage their gentle, sensitive nature. I’ll look at when to train your Whippet, what your early goals should be, and what key commands you will need to instill to keep this dog safe. I’ll also discuss behavior problems sometimes encountered in Whippets and outline a sound approach to easy toilet training your Whippet puppy. You’ll learn how to enjoy training your Whippet in ways they can respond to well and that both of you can enjoy.
Are Whippets easy to train? Is training easier than with order breeds?
Because Whippets can be easily distracted and easily bored, this dog may seem to take a long time to train compared to other dog breeds and some people might consider these dogs difficult to train. But the success of training Whippets will mostly depend on your approach.
You will need to keep your long-term goals in mind: helping your Whippet to be happy, responsive to your safety commands, and friendly with people and other dogs. You will need to be patient.
Picking a good time to train your Whippet (or any other dog) is also important and it will make your life easier: seize moments when they are alert, reasonably calm, and responsive. There will be no value in dragging a Whippet off the couch to start a training session, as their mind will not be on the job.
Adding some variety into your training will help your Whippet with his short attention span.
According to the Kennel Club of America, a Whippet have great athleticism and can run at up to 35 miles per hour, so you will need to make time for fairly vigorous exercise with your Whippet every day. This will help them to be physically and mentally healthy and in a better condition to respond to training.
Pack hierarchy is especially important to dogs and especially to Whippets. They must learn to see you as the top dog; at the same time, their sensitive nature means you must train them with praise and positivity, not with scolding.
Are Whippets easy to train in comparison to other dog breeds? Specialist guides to the care of Whippets state that there are patterns in their behavior that make their training process different from that of other breeds.
When it comes to training, it is worth purchasing a specialist guidebook. There are also Whippet social media groups, dog forums, or dog boards, on which owners share information.
Whippet Dogs Behavior Problems
Whippets are somewhat paradoxical: these dogs can be quiet, sensitive homebodies who want to please you, but they can also easily create their own bad habits or be resistant to training.
There are reports of Whippets becoming stubborn, destructive, and hostile; Whippet dogs are also easily triggered to run away and can be strong enough to drag you along by their leash or pull it out of your hand. You may consider buying a GPS dog tracker to avoid going through the anxious experience of having a lost dog.
The American Whippet Dog Club recommends that fencing must be at least five feet high, and have no gaps big enough for their head. Whippets who are frightened by loud noises are good escape artists.
Are Whippets easy to train to walk on a leash?
A big problem is making sure they are not hit by a car during walks, as a Whippet can be drawn to chase anything that moves quickly. A piece of trash in the wind or a passing squirrel can make a Whippet run out into a busy road without warning. These dogs must be walked on a leash for this reason, and you need to remain alert. A secure chest harness is the best form of leashing for a Whippet, who can easily slip a collar. Also, if you walk in a dog park, you should check how secure the fencing is.
Whippets can live with other pets such as cats, particularly if they are introduced when the Whippet is a puppy; however, their instinct is to hunt. The American Whippet Club warns that their respect for a family cat may not extend to an unfamiliar cat or a small dog and that they should not be considered completely cat-safe.
How to train a Whippet Dog
Ok, let’s talk about Whippet house training and when to start house training. Firstly for Whippets, you should prioritize the training of basic commands that will keep them safe and under your control. These basic dog commands will include ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘look’, and ‘come’.
Secondly, use dog treats or food when training. Are Whippets easy to train with food? Yes, if you find a reward that really motivates the individual Whippet. Try small cubes of cheese, sausage, small pieces of chicken or cooked meat, or healthy dog treats.
Third, keep your training session short, because Whippet is easily bored, and try to make it enjoyable and fun. When training your dog, use a high-pitched, excited voice, and keep talking to and praising the dog during training to keep them interested.
To teach “sit”, let the dog smell the treat near their nose, then raise it in a slow arc over and behind their head, so that to follow it, their bottom has to sink to the ground.As soon as you see this, say “Yes, good dog” and give the treat. Once the Whippet starts to anticipate the treat’s movement, and they initiate the sit movement, say “Sit” as you start moving the treat.
To train the command “come”, say “come” when the Whippet happens to move towards you, then reward them with the same “Yes, good dog”.Then try it as you step away from the Whippet, encouraging them to come with you.
Start training your dog in a familiar environment, but aim to move your training into the outside world such as on the sidewalk, in the dog park, and at friends’ houses or other places. This helps teach that obedience is required no matter what the surroundings are.
Dogs should not be punished for making mistakes, or even for being deliberately disobedient, as they are not able to understand it. You can say “no” or “down”, but you should remain calm.
Keep your training expectations realistic: Whippet dogs may take longer to train than other dog breeds, and you should not be discouraged by this.
Can you potty train a Whippet Puppy?
You can potty train a Whippet dog (or any other dog for that matter) following basic toilet training principles. Bear in mind that dogs (any breed) younger than four months old don’t have bladder and bowel control yet, and can’t be expected to follow toilet training the same as older dogs.
Don’t allow your Whippet puppy to roam around the house until he is fully potty-trained. Use a playpen or training crate with pee pads on the floor.
If your puppy is between four and six months of age when you get them, you will need to reestablish toilet training in their new home, even if they were doing well with toilet training at their breeder’s. Dogs at such a young age might not understand that the same “toilet rules” apply to all houses.
Toilet breaks for puppies need to be about every 20 to 30 minutes, particularly when they have had vigorous play or a lot of activity or excitement.
If your Whippet puppy starts to turn in circles, sniff at the ground, or paw at the ground, they probably need the toilet. Place your dog in the crate or take it outside so he knows that the floor in your home is not the right place for this business.
When your puppy is old enough, take them into the yard to a designated toilet spot:
- After your dog is waking up in the morning
- After you fed your dog
- After training or play session with the dog
- After your dog is waking up from a nap
- Before your dog go to bed
When you notice this behavior, speak a cue command, such as “go toilet”. Afterward, tell the Whippet “Yes, good dog”, and reward them with a dog treat (if on hand).
However, don’t have a big play session after their toileting; you don’t want to associate being in this spot with play.
You may eventually be able to use the cue dog command to encourage your puppy to go to the toilet on command, which is very helpful for times when you are going in the car. Dog training is an important part of your future life with your dog. It will determine the quality of your relationship with your dog and help to avoid any stressful situations.
So, if you are thinking of adopting a Whippet, think also about dog training – results with this breed might not be visible straight away, but it’s definitely worth it. Whippets are not difficult to train and at the same time Whippets are not easy to train – you are in charge of the training and your dog will be only as good at learning as you at teaching.