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Am I doing ok?


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First time dog and Whippet owner seeking reassurance...!

We have a lovely 9 week 4 day old puppy that we have had for 2 weeks now. She's very playful but also independent. We exercise play,or train for 1 hour in the garden or play inside or a combination of all then I encourage her into her crate to sleep. When I shut the door she may cry for a short time which I usually ignore then she will sleep for 45mins to 1 hour. Her crate is in the conservatory and is separated from the rest of the house by a room divider with gate it's like a 3 metre long stair gate. She has her own play area as well as her crate in this bit of the conservatory.

Is it ok to exercise or play this much with a young puppy?" Is this schedule ok? Is she getting enough sleep?

The crate door is always open should she wish to go in... I close it if she does that otherwise she would not sleep. She would just pop out of bed and want to be with the rest of the family. Where She would get really excited

I have 2 small children 3 and 4 year old girls who are slowly warming to her... What I mean is they don't like her jumping up at them as the claws hurt them so if I let her into the house they will scream and make our puppy more excited. So she only goes into the house when I am there on my own or after 7:30pm when the kids are asleep. Although I have let her in and encouraged the girls to give her a treat. The worst is if we are outside and our puppy jumps at their wellies and chews the hoops that help put the wellies on!

I hoping she will calm down with age but I don't like denying her and the kids mixing.

I also need to find some way of getting her to tell us she needs letting out for the toilet. She will go outside if we leave the conservatory door open if she's in her confinement area but it's too cold to leave it open all the time... If she's in any other room she will not go to the conservatory door even if it's left open and I am worried that the more times she goes in the house the more times she will think it is where she should go...
Firstly you are doing very well! You are very brave having a young puppy and two such young children. Whippet bitches can be very independent. From your description of your circumstances this is a good thing :) Many puppy owners will envy you being able to safely leave your puppy in the conservatory. Young puppies do need a lot of sleep.

The problem with young children and puppies is that they wind each other up. I would do as you are doing at the moment but introduce some training sessions. The most important of these is bite inhibition for your puppy. When a puppy is with its mother and littermates they teach it not to bite them by ostracising it if its teeth are used in play. We can replicate this by using the "ouch" technique. Every single time the puppy's teeth touch skin, or clothing, the recipient should say ouch and immediately withdraw attention. If a toy is involved take the toy with you (but do not delay the ignoring to get the toy away from the puppy). The ignoring must come immediately after the ouch to show why the puppy is being ignored. This is stage one and needs to be practised religiously by everyone who has contact with the puppy. The children could be encouraged to become a "statue" i.e. stand still, fold arms and look at the ceiling/sky. Count to 10 then, if the puppy is calm, resume play. Be prepared to repeat and repeat and repeat. Only put the children and puppy together if the children have tough clothing on to withstand the puppy's teeth without them jumping away and winding the puppy up even more. The idea is that the puppy will learn that putting its teeth on people results in all fun ceasing. Keeping its teeth off people results in lovely games and attention. It is never an accidental bite it should always be inhibited.

Housetraining is going to be very difficult with your current set up.

Firstly you need to shut the outside door. Puppies can believe that the indoors and outdoors are all "one" if the door is left open. Summer puppies often fail to house train properly for this reason.

Next you need to use the crate for times when you know the puppy needs to toilet but has not done so yet. After meals, after sleep, during/after play are all danger times. Make sure she is crated until she has been and then she can have some freedom until the next time you think she needs to go. Take her outside, wait patiently, be boring until she goes then immediately approach her and reward her with a fantastic treat and lots of fuss.

Your aim is to teach her that all toilets done inside the house get her ignored (never chastised), but toilets done outside get fantastic treats and lovely fuss. Soon she will start to think "I need to pee/poo - I will get a treat if I go outside and she should show signs of wanting to go out by looking at you or going to the door. When you get to the door just wind her up a little so that she finds the door opening a time to show excitement, then take her to toilet and get her treat. After many repetitions she should show signs of getting excited around the door.

For all this to work you have to be able to watch her. Could she have a play pen near you when you are minding the children? This would save her from being crated too much. Sometimes I am sure the children will want to be in the playpen - that is fine because they are safe and you can do some puppy training!

Any time you know you cannot take her to the garden quickly she should be crated. Every accident will make it harder for her to learn.

Is the puppy enrolled in Puppy Socialisation Classes? If not, I strongly suggest that you find an APDT registered trainer that runs some in your area. They will usually welcome the children though you might like the break that it will give you by going alone and just taking the children to, say, the last one. Here they will teach housetraining, bite inhibition, obedience exercises etc. They will give advice on stealing, jumping up and all the other problems that you and the other owners will be experiencing.

If classes are impossible then you should be able to book a session with an APDT trainer at your house. They will be able to look closely at your set up and make suggestions as to how you can move forward.

A good book for new puppy owners is called "The Perfect Puppy" by Gwen Bailey.
Thanks Gypsymum...

I really appreciate your reply.

I am going to use your advice and enrol with an instructor/trainer as suggested. There are a couple that are close to me which I will contact tomorrow. I will use the ouch technique as suggested and encourage everyone else to do the same.

I have the book you referred to (I will read it again)... and I do tell the kids to stand like statues but it's hard for them being so young and screamy!

I have found that if she is with me on the sofa she tries to jump at my face a lot which is annoying.

I do stay calm though and never shout just take her outside for a play or her playpen or crate her for a timeout.

I'm confident we will get there as she is so young

I just need help!!
Well done for seeking help.

In the meantime, with the sofa situation, I would just say something like "oops" and get up from the sofa immediately she starts the jumping. The "oops" will give her an indication that her behaviour is causing you do desert her and ending all her fun. She may be jumping up to get you pick her up and interact with her. Cunning little devils aren't they?

Almost all bad behaviour from puppies is caused by attention seeking. Withdraw attention and the dog will give up that behaviour. It will get worse before it gets better as they try harder to achieve their aim and get the attention. This is called an extinction burst and it is very important to be consistent and see it through this phase.
Hello. Congratulations on picking the best of all breeds- great choice. I have had whippets for almost 30 years and currently own 4.

I am going to be very wicked and suggest you consider joining " the whippet forum " where you will be able to take advantage of the breed specific experiences of whippet owners worldwide
Thanks again!!

No doubt I will post again...

For now I take your advise and I will be hopeful that I can make it work...
Just an update....

I'm not quite sure how this was achieved but since taking her out for walks and slowly letting her out of the conservatory into the rest of the house she has become almost the perfect puppy! She is relaxed and The kids adore her now too! My eldest (4) has become so much more confident which is wonderful to see the interaction.

When she jumps onto the settee she has a minute of greeting the kids and then settles down quite nicely...

Still plenty to work on but stress levels have greatly reduced!!
Well done! It was achieved by you researching and finding out what to do and then doing it :)

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