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Whippets are said to be kind and loving dogs, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t and won’t bite. What causes a whippet to bite in the first place?
Is it normal for whippet puppies to bite or is this a bad sign?
Why Do Whippets Bite:
Each reason for why a whippet bites is specific to the scenario, their history and age. Whippets can bite because they are gauging the world, teething, resource/territory guarding, excited, fearful, or injured. Adult whippets that bite is primarily caused from improper training.
In this post you’ll discover:
- The top 5 reasons whippets bite
- What their biting means in different situations
- 9 tips to stop whippets from biting (tips #3 and #6 can help the quickest!)
- And much more
Let’s dive in…
Table of Contents
The 5 Main Reasons Your Whippet Bites
Before we discuss the reasons your whippet is biting, it’s important to know that puppy biting is completely different then adult dog biting.
This list shares major reasons for a puppy and adult dog to bite.
1) They’re Teething
The first 3-6 months of age, whippet puppies are going through some major physical and behavioral changes.
They are rapidly growing into their adult size, teething, and being fearful of new places and people. These are crucial development stages for a puppy.
Biting is common when puppies begin teething due to the discomfort in their mouth. Their gums and teeth are swollen and in pain.
So the only way to relive this is through chewing and biting.
2) Learning & Gauging The World
A dog perceives the world in a different way than we humans do. Dogs use their mouths as we do our hands.
As puppies develop you’ll find them putting almost anything and everything in their mouth. Biting, nipping, and licking is their way of learning and gauging the world.
Not to mention, when puppies first come into the world they are surrounded by their brothers and sisters.
For the first few weeks alive they are mouthing each other, biting, nipping and playing. So when you get your puppy they don’t yet know how to properly play with you.
They need to learn their limits. A puppy that bites and nips does not know they might be hurting you.
This is why you must teach them and use proper training techniques to avoid any bad behaviors developing.
Older dogs will also use their mouth to gauge the world but the biting and nipping should subside.
If this is not the case they were likely not trained properly.
Related Reading: 9 Simple Steps To Create The Obedient Dog Of Your Dreams
3) They’re Excited & Over-Stimulated
Whippet puppies that bite due to excitement are quite common. At early stages they are still unable to control their emotions.
When excitement and energy builds up they are not sure how to appropriately disperse the energy.
Thus, leading them to nip and bite to release built up tension.
Older dogs have better control of their excitement and should not be biting or nipping due to excitement. If this is the case they may have been poorly trained.
Related Reading: What Age Do Whippets Calm Down? Age By Age Breakdown
4) They’re Guarding & Protecting
Next reason why whippets may be biting is due to protection. They are protecting a resource, territory, or person.
Some dogs are resource guarders so anytime other animals or people go near their food or water, they may bite to defend.
You usually see this type of behavior in dogs that were abandoned or lived in a crappy environment where resources were scarce.
In addition, some dogs are trained to guard and defend locations or people. This can lead to dogs biting and is usually seen in army and police dogs that were trained to do so.
5) They’re Scared Or Hurt
In a due or die situation processes in a dog’s body will respond to protect themselves. This means a dog that gets injured or hurt may bite in response.
Even whippets that are gentle & shy can snap and bite when hurt. Never approach an injured dog that is scared.
For the same reasons it would scare the hell out of us to be harmed and then have a massive unfamiliar animal approach us.
To add to this, some dogs who have had a history of abuse may respond in fear towards things, even when there is nothing to fear.
For example, some dogs that were abused may bite you when you touch them in certain areas.
Related Reading: 9 Reasons Why Your Whippet Is Always Nervous + 3 Tips
9 Tips To Get Your Whippet To Stop Biting
The best way to stop your whippet’s biting is to first identify why they’re biting. Once you’ve found the trigger causing their biting you can fix the issue. Main reasons for dog biting are they feel threatened, they’re teething, over-stimulated, or protecting something.
The best way to stop whippet biting is through proper training and understanding of why they are biting.
Here are some tips to guide you.
1) Identify Biting Triggers
The first step in solving any problem is to identify what is triggering the reactions. Then based on their age and the situation we can construct a plan to stop it.
For a whippet puppy that is biting they might be teething, over-stimulated, scared, or perhaps having their “witching” hours.
When you know what might be causing your puppy to bite you can move to the next step.
For older whippets the process is similar, their reasons for why they are biting will just be adjusted since they won’t be teething or having “witching” hours.
2) Use Redirection & Positive Reinforcement
When a puppy whippet is biting the first step is to start redirecting this behavior onto something else that is okay to bite.
In fact, you should always have a treat or chew toy ready to go whenever you are playing.
That way as soon as they start biting, you redirect them onto a toy then reward them with a treat.
This will reinforce that it’s okay to bite the toy but not you.
Another important strategy is using treats to put them into “feeding” mode rather than play/biting mode.
If you notice they are getting too mouthy you can simply pull out a treat and get them to do some training exercises.
This will distract them and stimulate their mind to help tucker them out. That leads us to our next tip.
3) Exercise & Stimulate Your Whippet
The more you can tire out your whippet the better. A sleepy dog is a well behaved dog.
Especially for young dogs it’s really important to stimulate them and burn as much of their energy as you can.
This will reduce the amount of energy that might be built up and lead to inappropriate biting.
4) Use Isolation Tactics
For whippets that are persistent with biting and nipping you, one of the best approaches to use is isolation.
Whippets love to be with their owners. Leveraging this to train them is a great strategy to improve their behavior.
Anytime your whippet decides to nip and bite, you place them in an isolated area. This can be into a room, or into a gated area.
I recommend to avoid placing them into their crate if you are crate training.
This is because you will associate their crate with isolation and thus, build a negative association with it.
A great idea is to have an area that is close by but isolated from everyone.
This will help them understand that anytime they bite or nip, they are isolated and no longer get to be involved in play.
5) Always Use A Puppy Line Or Leash
Make sure you always leave a line attached to your whippet puppy. If your whippet is older and biting, put a line on them also.
Rather than running around the house every time they make a poor choice and making things worse, having a line on them puts you in control.
When they bite and are being bad you can use the leash to have better control of the situation.
You can opt for a smaller indoor leash that is not as long for better control.
Some dogs know that when the leash is on they have to behave and this is exactly what we want. They need to know who is in control.
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6) Don’t Be On Your Whippets Level
It can be tough to avoid cuddling and playing on the ground with your whippet, however, if they are biting you want to avoid this.
Bringing them to your level (like bringing them on the couch) puts you in a situation that makes them feel equal to you.
At early stages of training you need them to know you are the alpha. Not to mention playing on their level makes them feel like you are one of their brothers or sisters.
Resulting in them nipping and biting you like they would their siblings.
Therefore, make sure to avoid getting really low on the ground or bringing them up to your level.
When you are on the ground and playing, just sit up tall so they know who’s boss. You want to stick to this until they are properly trained with how to play.
When they start making progress you can start to test the water by bringing them on the couch or getting low to the ground when playing.
How you play with them is important so make sure anytime they do something bad you stop playing immediately.
7) Know Your Whippet Puppies “Witching Hour”
We all have heard of the dreaded “witching” hour for puppies. You know that time when puppies get completely crazy and get the “zoomies”?
Ya that is the “witching” hour.
It can be quite scary sometimes especially when older whippets get this. The built up energy can lead to biting, jumping, and running all over the place.
In some cases you may find your whippet is jumping and trying to bite you. It can be alarming at first but to them they are just playing and burning energy.
It’s important that during this time you do not play with them. Let them burn off most of their energy before engaging.
When this first starts to happen you want to learn their behaviors and patterns. Over time you will be able to be proactive to reduce the bad behavior that can come.
In addition, once you know the relative time of day they are getting these bursts of energy you can plan ahead.
A great strategy is to exercise and mentally stimulate them before this time of day.
That way when it comes around they will have already burned a ton of energy.
Resulting in less biting and nipping that may come during these times.
Related Reading: Why Whippets Get Zoomies & Run Around Like Crazy + Tips
8) Pay Attention & Read Your Whippet’s Body
If your whippet has developed a habit of biting, look for signs and warning in their body language.
You can tell when a whippet is fearful or becoming aggressive based on certain changes in their stance, fur, and facial expressions.
When you see your dog is becoming agitated, fearful or aggressive, it’s important to remove your dog from the situation immediately.
To help further here are some clear body language cues in whippet you can look for:
- Raised fur
- Rigid posture
- Rapid tail wagging
- Growling or snarling
- Lowering of their stance
- Slowly backing up
9) Socialize Your Whippet
It’s extremely important to socialize whippets in particular.
They tend to be shy and timid dogs naturally so it’s even more important for this breed to be properly socialized.
By properly socialized I mean having many different POSITIVE experiences.
Negative experiences can lead to trauma and make things worse for whippets.
A whippet that is not properly socialized can bite because they are scared.
This can be avoided by building their confidence early on when they are young.
Other posts you may find interesting:
A Timeline Of Puppy Teething
How To Stop Puppy Biting And Train Bite Inhibition
How To Stop Your Dog From Biting
Survey Of The Use And Outcome Of Confrontational And Non-Confrontational Training Methods In Client-Owned Dogs Showing Undesired Behaviors