The Whippet Puppy Survival Guide
Puppies in general, are one of the best things in the world. And of course, I'm very biased but sighthound puppies, in particular, are so special and having raised one little hound and being in the process of raising another we've developed our own little survival guide. Because as adorable as those tiny snoots are, they can be quite the handful and you go from cooing over your sweet little pup to staring into space whilst they zoom around the house destroying everything in their way wondering how you're going to get through the next few months.
puppies are hard work
When you think of puppies you think of those really sweet moments that we've all seen on various films and tv shows. Because who wants to see a puppy destroying your skirting board or eating your fireplace? There are some pups out there who I'm sure are an absolute dream but I can safely say there are plenty of people out there who struggle and it seems that none of us like to admit it. No-one is the perfect dog owner and it's ok to find it difficult, puppies are whirlwinds of mess, razor-sharp teeth that wee and poop everywhere and most definitely don't like doing as they're told. And it doesn't matter how much you think you're prepared when it's the first time you've had a dog of your own the panic does set in and you feel helpless. There will always be dog owners who stand there judging and pointing their finger but every single dog is different and sighthounds, in particular, from my experience are not the easiest pups.
SET A SOLID ROUTINE IN PLACE
This is the same for any puppy but having a good solid routine is something that we've found so important for our dogs. They thrive in routine and even though sometimes we can't quite meet their needs in the ideal order in general, when we can keep to it they're much happier throughout the day. Things like letting them out, breakfast at the same time, a walk in the AM and then dinner at the same time might sound like obvious things but having your pup in a good routine from day one makes everything just feel a little easier. Now if I even attempt to go to bed past 9 the dogs are up there waiting for me as they're so used to an early bedtime and early morning, which is very helpful with a full-time job. Routines change depending on the seasons too for us and they do adapt well which is brilliant for those dark miserable UK winters.
TOYS, TOYS AND EVEN MORE TOYS
When we got Josie we turned to the internet to try and learn everything we could about training her. And there are some really useful pieces of advice out there but subsequently, there are also some absolutely terrible things. And one we followed for months was not overloading her with toys when it came to chewing and teething. Even reading that now makes me question why I ever believed it but as a first time highly strung sighthound mum I was desperate for anything that might stop her chewing. So we used to give her a small selection of toys and rotate them as we worried she might get bored but it had the complete opposite effect. Of course, you cannot possibly buy them every single toy in the world but as soon as we gave her everything at once she knew to reach for them rather than the fireplace and it's been the exact same for Edie. Giving them a wide range of toys to play with and having toys for different needs certainly makes the crazy puppy stage way easier on you and your arms, ankles and furniture.
LET THEM RUN
If you caught our post on teaching a sighthound recall then you will know that we're very pro dogs off lead, especially sighthounds. Yes, they have a prey drive but they also need to run and explore and doing it from day one helps an incredible amount. Letting them zoom around [somewhere safe] when they're young helps so much with their energy as they are properly worn out. There is a lot of conflicting advice about how much you should exercise a puppy and that is a minefield that is simply too complicated to get into online but ultimately you do what works for your dog. Everyone knows that it's not good to exercise your dog too much as their joints are still growing but a 5-minute lead walk is not going to cut it, especially for dogs with high energy. A dog that hasn't had enough exercise is bored and that's when they get destructive and the joy of them being off lead is that when they're tired they will stop and tell you.
Dogs are not humans, we all know this as much as we give them their own little personalities and voices. But something that dogs certainly do have are bad days and there is usually a lot of those in the puppy stage. When your sweet little pup is growing longer limbs and their teeth are falling out it's difficult, you cannot tell them what's going on and it must be such a confusing time for them. And that is something that is all too easy to forget when they're being absolute little buggers and you're feeling super stressed and tense dealing with a dog that doesn't want to listen and a lot of the time is wailing. Days like this can make you feel like you've gone back in your training and all your hard work is coming undone but it's not and soon enough they are back to their usual perky selves.
INSTAGRAM IS YOUR BEST FRIEND
One of the reasons why this blog was created in the first place is because of the wonderful dog community that is on Instagram. I always thought starting an account for your dog was kind of silly but then the second I did and I was opened up to the dog community I instantly understood why people loved having a page for their beloved pups. I'm usually a big fan of Google but when it comes to the world of dogs it's just a minefield of conflicting advice whereas I find Instagram completely different. When you follow someone and the lives of their pup it feels much easier to reach out and ask for advice or help on something. There is rarely any snobbery or snootiness and just a community that wants the best for pups and it's something that I wish I'd discovered from day one with Josie.
QUICK FIRE TIPS
- Be patient, more patient then you've ever been before.
- Embrace those first few days, they might be hard but it gets easier as your pup will be in a completely new setting.
- Don't Google too much.
- Or panic yourself silly about every single thing, dogs are daft and will eat any type of poo if they can but that's why you're there.
- Discipline the way you feel comfortable but don't be terrified to tell your dog off if they've been naughty.
- Don't hold grudges, which is hard when they've been a nightmare all day but it doesn't do anyone any good.
- Let them learn and be dogs, they aren't perfect and that's ok.
- Cardboard is the best thing for the teething stage, it's our secret weapon.