Whippets are called "potato chip dogs"
because you always want more...
With that thought in mind, here are some tips for getting your new family member off to a good start. This is written for families starting out with a puppy; if you are acquiring an older dog for your family, the information is still good but many of the puppy issues won't surface.
How To Provide Safe Housing for Your New Whippet
You will need a secure fence at least five-feet tall with secure gates that lock. Whippets are not outside dogs. They are house dogs--love nothing better than a snooze on the sofa. You will find they do just fine and, in fact, enjoy a romp in the snow/rain/mud as long as they are running and active--but, once tired, they need to be able to get inside and get warm and dry again.
The First Nights in the New Home
I try to keep my puppies with Mom and siblings until 10-12 weeks old. I am always willing to negotiate that depending on schedules of the new family. But, I do believe it is important that the puppy not leave for its new home before 8 or 9 weeks old as a minimum. Considering that, be prepared for a couple of rough nights. The puppy will need to go out for potty at least once and maybe twice during the night. It will probably cry as it is used to sleeping with siblings in a nice, warm heap. Be tough. If you plan that your dog will sleep in a crate in your bedroom--stick to it at this time. If you are going to let it sleep with you in your bed--be alert to restless action in the night that might signal a need for a potty break. DO NOT leave a puppy of any breed loose in the house at night--it MUST be contained.
Do your dog and yourself a favor and crate train your new family member. When you get the puppy, it will already have some experience inside a crate. A crate is a safe haven for a dog all its life. It should be large enough for movement and stretching--but, not so huge that a puppy can go to one corner to potty and still get away from the soiled area. You may need to start out with a smaller crate and graduate to a bigger one when the dog is grown. There are several good brands of crates on the market. The recommendation is that you use a solid crate--not a wire one. The solid ones (also called airline crates) provide more protection and more of a "den" feeling. The wire ones can collapse--the puppy can also get its paw or teeth caught in the wires. You will need a mat or pad for the bottom--and, since Whippets like to snuggle and cover themselves a blanket on top of the mat is good. You can find inexpensive blankets at one of the salvage stores--Goodwill or St. Vincent dePauls among others. Don't buy old electric blankets though.
Why Crate Train:
Written information on feeding is provided with all dogs that leave here. As a general rule of thumb, though, my biggest caution is that you not believe the dog food advertising for puppy food. Your puppy will start out on adult food here--and, should be kept on it. Puppy food can cause the bones to grow faster than the tendons and muscles and could have lifelong consequences. People with a lot of dog experience over the years say they can tell an adult dog that was raised on puppy food just by looking at their feet, pasterns, and legs.
It is going to happen with a puppy--any breed of puppy. They get their baby teeth around three weeks of age--then they go through the process of getting their adult teeth at about 4 to 5 months of age. NEVER give the puppy an old shoe or any of your possessions to chew. NEVER go away and leave your puppy loose in a room. To a puppy with a need to chew your furniture, lamp cords, and carpet are fair game. Make sure your puppy has his own toys--if he gets something of yours--take it away--tell him NO in a firm voice and give him one of his own toys with a sincere GOOD BOY/GIRL . Some things that seem to ease the teething pain are: Raw carrots, ice cubes, a Kong (a hard rubber toy with a hole in the middle) filled with peanut butter or cottage cheese and then frozen. Be sure to give the Kong in the crate--not on your pretty new carpet.
Puppies will bite or chew on hands, feet, ears, etc. when playing. NEVER let it go without a correction. Tell the puppy NO very firmly and stick something of his in his mouth. A hard pressed rawhide bone can serve this purpose. From the beginning, the puppy MUST know who is in charge. The nursing Mom began this learning process for you--it is up to you to continue what she started.
Puppies need to be given the opportunity to meet new people and new dogs. If you are getting a puppy, don't take it around strange dogs until it has had the full series of vaccinations needed. (See #3 in unwritten rules below.) Your new puppy/dog will leave here well socialized, but as the new owner you have an obligation to continue the education. But, do be selective about situations. Don't put your new family member in a bad situation. Use that wonderful ability we are all supposed to have called common sense. Dogs don't reason--you need to help them with decisions. If you live near an off-leash dog park and want to use that as an exercise/socialization area, keep your new dog on a leash for several visits and just walk around. Let him visit with other dogs and people--but, with the leash on, you still have control of the situation should you run into a dog that thinks your little one looks like a good lunch. As your puppy grows and becomes used to the dogs and people at the park you and the baby will be more comfortable with him off lead. Always be on the alert for dangerous situations, though.
What a good idea. Find a puppy class at your local parks and rec department or from an accredited obedience school. They will tell you at what age they allow puppies to start classes. As a youngster, all you need to do is to teach Come, Sit, Stay, Walking on Lead, etc. If you and your dog enjoy it, you can move on to more complicated skills when the dog is older. You will find working with your dog a great bonding tool and a pure joy when you realize what a great team you are.
Some Unwritten Whippet Rules to Live By:
Recommended Whippet Reading and Viewing:
The Whippet, Second Edition--by Bo Bengtson. Published by the author. Order from Dogs in Review, P.O. Box 30430, Santa Barbara, CA 93139
The Complete Whippet--by Louis Pegram. Published by Howell Book House, Inc.
The Whippet Video--a beautiful video produced in England. $29.95. Order from Sharon R. Sakson, 132 Point Court, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
The American Kennel Club's web site offers a video demonstrating the Breed standard. AKC's website is found at http://www.akc.org/index.cfm
The American Whippet Club website, at http://www.americanwhippetclub.net/, offers a Bibliography "button" with information on obtaining the items listed above and many others of interest.