How do you go from puppy to adult dog?
That’s it, the period when my Whippet puppy was all little and well-behaved is over! Now it’s time for adolescence, and that’s a different story!
Adolescence is a difficult time for many dogs, including Whippets. This phase of your dog’s life is marked by physical, hormonal, and behavioral changes that can be difficult for inexperienced Whippet owners to manage. While my Pimprenelle made it through adolescence quite well, for other things are proving much more difficult. According to their owners, some of them seem to live in an almost ‘brainless’ state from 6 to 18 months, which makes raising them complicated. Indeed, like all good ‘Teenagers’, Whippets go through a phase of growth and hormonal changes, which can sometimes make their behavior a little more difficult to manage, if not unmanageable at all!
Here we take a detailed look at the Whippet’s adolescence and how you can help your dog get through this period safely.
Understanding the Whippet’s adolescence
The Whippet’s adolescence generally begins around the age of six months and can last up to 18 months or even two years. During this period, your dog undergoes major physical and hormonal changes that can affect its behavior. Adolescent Whippets are often more energetic and impulsive than adult dogs, which can quickly make them unmanageable. Whippets can also become more stubborn, more independent, and sometimes even more aggressive. They can also have a strong desire to run and chase, which can lead them to ignore basic commands. Rest assured that these behavioral changes are not permanent and are often linked to your dog’s puberty. This delicate period, made up of progress but also of a lot of backtracking in the various learning processes, will eventually pass!
Whippet’s adolescence and socialization
The pursuit of good socialization, begun in puppyhood, is a crucial aspect of training a teenage Whippet. As your dog grows, he needs interaction with other dogs and people to learn good manners and appropriate behavior. When you socialize your Whippet, you need to make sure it is safe and well supervised. Meetings with other dogs should be closely supervised to avoid fights and brawls. You can also organize play dates for your Whippet with other puppies his age, as this will help him learn the basic rules of canine communication.
Whippet’s adolescence and training
Continued training is another important aspect of your adolescent Whippet’s education. During this period, your dog may become more stubborn and less inclined to obey. Don’t give up! It’s important to remain patient and keep working with him to reinforce the basic commands. Use positive training methods, such as food rewards and verbal encouragement, to encourage your Whippet to act correctly. Avoid any violence or intimidation, as this will only have a negative impact on your relationship with your Whippet. Whippets are sensitive dogs and don’t like to be rushed. It would only increase his anxiety.
Exercise and mental stimulation
Whippets are very energetic dogs who need exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. During adolescence, your dog will need a great deal of exercise to burn off energy. However, to ensure your dog’s healthy physical development, it’s important not to overdo it and to respect his growth. Walks should be regular but of short duration. Games will also help them burn off energy. Make sure you also provide your teenager with enough mental stimulation, such as interactive toys and games of enquiry. This will help prevent destructive behavior and boredom.
Whippet’s adolescence and food
During adolescence, your Whippet’s nutritional needs may also change. He’ll switch from puppy food to adult food when he’s around 12 months old. Your Whippet will need a diet rich in protein and nutrients to support his growth and development. Speak to your vet to determine the best diet for your teenager, and make sure you follow the recommended dosages.
Differences between males and females
There are differences between adolescent male and female Whippets. Males tend to be more energetic and impulsive than females and can be more difficult to control. They can also become more territorial and aggressive towards other males, especially if they are not neutered. Females, on the other hand, may become more protective of their territory and family during adolescence. They may also become more reserved and introverted than males.
However, it is important to note that each Whippet is unique and that behavioral differences between males and females may vary. Appropriate socialization and training can help to alleviate some of the undesirable behavior in both sexes.
Tips to help your adolescent Whippet:
Here are a few recommendations to help your teenager through this period of his life:
- Provide exercise and mental stimulation to help your dog burn off energy and avoid boredom.
- Provide a diet rich in protein and nutrients to support growth and development.
- Teach your Whippet basic commands and be sure to reward good behavior.
- Expose your Whippet to a wide variety of social situations to help him become more confident and less anxious in new situations.
- Spay or neuter your dog to reduce territorial and aggressive behavior. Ask your vet for advice.
- And most importantly: be patient. I promise, it will pass in the end!
Whippet adolescence can be a difficult time, but by understanding your dog’s needs, continuing to socialize and train him appropriately and remaining patient, you will both manage to get through this stage safely. The hormonal changes in your Whippet are only temporary. His attitude will gradually return to normal, and you’ll be the happiest couple with your beloved Whippet!
By following these simple tips, you can help your teenage Whippet become a well-adjusted, loving adult dog, just like my beautiful Pimprenelle!
And if you want to learn more:
- “When do whippets calm down?” – Occam: https://www.occamstores.com/blogs/whippets/when-do-whippets-calm-down
- “Managing your puppy through adolescence” – RSPCA: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/health/adolescentpuppies
- “Adolescence in dogs” – Blue Cross: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/advice/dog/behaviour-and-training/adolescence-in-dogs
- “Your Adolescent Puppy and Changes to Expect” – American Kennel Club: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/adolescent-puppy-changes/