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  • Writer's pictureAureate

The 10+ Commandments of Whippet Ownership

Updated: Jan 30

-Never leave your whippet tied or restrained to a post or line. When they run 50km/hr + and can reach that speed in under 2 seconds they’ll forget they’re restrained and either badly injure the soft tissues of their neck or worse their spinal cord.
-Never blame your puppy for eating or destroying something that resulted from YOUR inattention.
-Play is fun, but boundaries are essential. So we say dog parks are a big NO. Whippets tend to tease other dogs because they know they’re fast which tends to activate other dog’s prey drive and can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation.
-No RAW HIDE EVER! It can lead to serious and life threatening intestinal obstructions!
-Never let your whippet off leash in an unenclosed area. This is literally taking your whippet’s life in your own hands. How confident are you they’ll recall when needed?!
-Doorways are deadly, beware! The number one cause of premature death and injury to whippets is traffic accidents. Be EXTREMELY careful of your front and back door, your gate to your backyard. Go the extra mile and safeguard these entrances with a fail proof step... attach a baby gate or consider securing the front and back door with child proof locks. We STRONGLY advise travelling with your whippet crated in the car. If you don’t then you MUST have a ONE DOOR AT A TIME POLICY in the car which can be difficult to ensure with young children and teenagers. Open windows and multiple open doors are a sure way of guaranteeing something potentially deadly can happen to your whippet.
-Lacerations will happen... there will be vet bills. It’s not the end of the world. If you can clean the wound before taking your dog to the vet, but seeking out appropriate veterinary care should always be your first priority.
-The backyard is the “Kill Zone”. Squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, skunks and cats beware. Never punish your whippet for following their natural prey drive. Yes it can be upsetting, but they’re simply doing what they were bred to do. That being said most whippets don’t become effective hunters until 1.5-2 years of age. We always recommend making sure your backyard is free of the neighborhood cat before letting your whippet go outside.
-Counter surfing will happen. Deal with it! Clean your countertops! Do NOT leave food unattended. Do not leave food on the table or counters unless you want your whippet to get into it. KNOW WHAT FOOD IS POSIONOUS to your dog! There is ZERO room for errors when it comes to food like grapes (raisins) and chocolate.
-Never leave puppies and children together unsupervised. Whippets make fabulous additions to many families, but we strongly advise to NEVER leave them alone together. Your whippet puppy is teething between the ages of 3-6 months and their mouth will be sore. WE STRONGLY, STRONGLY URGE you never to leave them alone without adult supervision.
-Collars are killers! Never leave a collar on your dog in the house. Collars are for walks they should not be left on your dog unattended as they are a strangulation hazard.
-This one you may find hard, but it’s CRITICAL... Just say “No” to “nose to nose” greetings on leash. Whippets do NOT like meeting other dogs on leash when they’re on leash. They tend to feel trapped. A lot of dogs are not comfortable meeting another dog while on leash. This is preventative management. It’s A LOT easier to prevent behaviour problems like reactivity by never letting your dog meet another dog on leash. I know it’s hard, but it’s not natural for two restrained animals to feel comfortable while greeting each other, ESPECIALLY when your dog is trained to react in FLIGHT mode.
-We HATE harnesses. Harnesses are for working dogs like seeing eye dogs, or sled dogs. They are not for sighthounds. The way a harness is designed it restricts the movement and therefore the function of the shoulder and the dog does not learn to walk properly and does not move properly via the shoulder. We STRONGLY discourage the use of harnesses on whippets.
-NEVER EVER use a choke chain or prong collar on a whippet!!! At Aureate we don’t care who says it’s “safe” if used properly these are negative reinforcement tools and should NEVER be used on the long slender neck of a whippet.
-DO NOT DRILL! Whippets and all sighthounds do not thrive under repetition. In fact they will shut down. When we train our adult dogs we keep the training sessions short to 5-10 mins and do not repeat a task more than 2 times. With puppies you should limit the training sessions to 5 minutes or less.
-Never hit or physically reprimand your dog. Whippets do NOT respond to forceful physical correction.
-Flexi-leashes are a big NO! Not only are they hazardous to your puppy but they’re hazardous to you as well. There have been 1000’s of documented cases of 2nd degree burns and injuries from using flexi-leashes.
-Family walks are important, but ADULTS ONLY (or OLDER CHILDREN) holding the leash. Whippets as sighthounds respond to movement. Your puppy can go from nicely walking by your side to lunging at a squirrel and if you’re not paying attention and don’t have a firm grip on the leash your dog is gone.

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