Find out about typical whippet behavior traits, possible problems and easy solutions.
Don’t give for granted that the separation anxiety disorder will subside with the coming of age of your puppy. Your beloved pet might just merrily carry on with his redecoration hobby for all his long and happy life while you have to pay the bills of his expensive pastime.
Whippets, like other dog breeds that are very attached to their human family, may find especially stressful to be left alone and the consequences can ruin the relationship with your dog and other family members.
Detecting the symptoms of canine separation anxiety and adopting simple measures can save your home and sanity.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety
If your dog whines, chews, barks, scratches doors and windows, tries to escape, and suddenly forgets all about housebreaking within a few minutes of you leaving the house, is probably suffering of canine separation anxiety.
1 Don’t punish your dog after the damage is done.
Your puppy won’t connect the punishment to the misbehavior and your reprimand will only increase the anxiety level of the situation.
2 Gradually increase the time you leave the dog alone, giving him a chance to get used to the situation without getting stressed.
If during this training you have to leave him alone for hours, confine him in a different part of the house or garden.
3 Ignore your dog when leaving and upon your return. This requires a good deal of self control especially if your find your home in a mess but leaving and returning quietly is a very important part of the training.
A few minutes after your return call the dog to you, ask for a simple obedience exercise (like sitting) and praise him.
4 Crate train your dog to give him confidence and a safe place to go to when he feels stressed.
5 Confine your whippet in a small, safe area. Leaving the run of the house only increases the anxiety of your pet and the chances of destruction.
Consider also the possibility that your puppy or dog might just become destructive out of boredom.
6 Exercise your dog before leaving the house and keep him busy while you are away with a plastic bottle filled with his portion of kibble.
7 Enroll your puppy in an obedience training program, agility class or in a local puppy class. Keeping your dog busy will help him overcome his fears.
My whippets, even in their puppy years, never cared much for chewing my collection of shoes, assaulting antique furniture pieces or devouring electric wires.
What they simply seem unable to resist is viciously ripping apart innocent cushions and pillows.
Mind you, it never happens when they are in human company. If a family member is present anywhere in the house, my dogs can be trusted with the most expensive brocade cushions but, left alone for a couple of hours, my hound dogs feel the ancestral hunting call and will mercilessly kill any piece of soft furniture unable to defend itself, including their own beloved beds.
Our occasional distraction already claimed too many innocent lives of pillows whose white interiors we found decorating the yard or kitchen after a prolonged absence.
The obvious solution to this problem is to confine the dogs in a cushion free area of the house or garden and provide them with interesting toys for entertainment.
Nevertheless it would seem cruel to let a whippet with such a low body fat rate and high comfort craving attitude, completely deprived of any soft bedding.
We reached a compromise by stuffing their crates with shredded newspaper that is totally uninteresting as prey but provides insulation and convenience for all the parties involved.
If I foresee a long absence, to prevent my whippets from providing themselves with clever and potentially destructive solutions to boredom, I fill a couple of plastic water bottles with dry food pellets.
With these simple toys they first have a chance to hunt for their food while playing with the bottles and finally, by chewing them, they flatten the flasks, helping me with recycling.
These preventive measures and cheap toys keep my whippets busy while we can be confident we won’t come back to a house decorated in typical whippet dog style.