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Thread: Shy Whippet

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Northern suburbs of Cairns FNQ
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    Default Shy Whippet

    I need to pick your brains. Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

    A week ago yesterday we bought home a 20 month old Whippet. He has lived with his breeder since birth. I bought him sight unseen and had him flown up. He has been shown but his breeder felt he would be happier in a pet home and liked the idea of him coming to people who understand sight hounds and would have him indoors.

    He was understandably very nervous when we picked him up from the airport but relaxed a bit when we got him home. He ate a meal and played with toys and our young Sheltie and I felt it wouldn't take him long to settle in.

    WRONG. He seems to be going backwards and is more timid than when he arrived.

    The boys (aged 6 and 9) understand they mustn't rush him. They have treats in their pockets and know to let him come to them not the other way round. The other dogs get the treats as the new boy won't go anywhere near the kids.

    The first weekend he attached himself to my husband who is one of those people who moves quietly and animals instinctively trust. However when Adrian came home from work on Monday the Whippet was terrified of him and it took several days before he would go near my husband again. As for the boys, the dog won't even come inside until after they are in bed.

    He's good with me but I am home with him during the day. I get licks and ear washes and hound leans until everyone else gets home. Then he hits the panic button and goes and hides.

    Some days he eats reasonably well, other days he turns up his nose at everything, although I can sometimes tempt him with chicken wings and brisket bones. Today he is in non eating mode. We had a play and a gallop this morning but not enough to tempt his appetite. His breeder's dog handler said he is a good eater but drops condition fast if stressed.

    At night he sleeps happily on the bed with the Sheltie and us. These are the good times when the fear leaves him and he finally relaxes.

    Any thoughts or ideas?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    Have you had him to the vet to make sure there is no physical reason for the behaviour? I don't know much about these kinds of dogs, I was going to suggest letting the kids or hubby feed him, so he learns to associate them with good things, but if he's not food motivated, that prolly wont help.

    If it were me, I'd rule out any physical issues, then if there are still issues, maybe see a behaviouralist?

    Best of luck.

  3. #3

    Default

    mmmm a tricky one without knowing his history etc
    Did he show any of this whilst being shown? Would they tell you if he did?
    Was he like it at home with them?
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Brisbane
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    Default

    awwwwwwww poor little guy, I would also go the vet route and see what the vet thinks.
    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v604/Jenelle66/sigs/puss_jarrah-siggy-3.jpg

  5. #5
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    Default

    I would suggest this dog hasn't had socialisation so new things frighten him. Whippets aren't the most confident of dogs in my experience so I think just time and patience.

  6. #6
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    Default

    Have you got a crate set up for him as a safe place?

  7. #7
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    Feb 2009
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    Northern suburbs of Cairns FNQ
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    Default

    Thank you for your thoughts. Just a bit more info on him.

    Physically he's fine. Beautiful coat. Bright eyes. Sound movement with no sign of any injuries. I would certainly take him to the Vet if I thought there was a health problem but at the moment any contact with strange people and situations would totally freak him out so I would only take him if it was really necessary until we have really bonded.

    A lot of the problems with not eating probably has to do with a change in routine. He is used to having his main meal first thing in the morning. Not possible here until after the kids are off to school as he won't eat if there are distractions. He has dropped a bit of condition but not too much.

    His breeder is overseas at the moment but I will certainly ring her when she gets back if things don't improve.

    Prior to coming here he was a kennel dog, although he was allowed indoors sometimes for a couple of hours. Kennel dogs normally have a very routine life so this probably suited his timid nature better than day to day family life.

    He is quite an outstanding specimen of his breed with a very impressive pedigree so it's surprising he wasn't shown more. I think this may have been because of his retiring nature.

    His breeder checked out my credentials before letting me have him so I know she genuinely cared about him and he was not illtreated in any way. However he behaves like an abused dog.

    Perhaps I am asking too much, too soon? It's only been a week.

    I wrote this before seeing your reply Occy. I'm sort of doing washing and seeing to kids and dogs in between writing.

    No crate, Occy. I don't have one his size. His safe place inside is my bed or the dog bed beside my chair which are both kid free zones. At the moment he is lying contentedly outside in the sun with Kenna and Arwen. If I open the back door he will freak until he sees it is me on my own. Then he will come up and press against me as sighthounds do and follow me until I go inside. There is no way he will come inside the house when the kids are around unless I put him on a lead. Then he runs to the bedroom and stays on my bed until the kids bedtime.

    He is such a sweet, gentle boy I want to see him happy. I hate living with the feeling he might have been better off with someone else.

    As you say - time and patience.

    Any more thoughts please share.

  8. #8
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    I would just put it down to being a kennel dog. IMO that is a form of cruelty regardless of how the breeder appears to feel about their dogs. A dog should be a member of the family and should be socialised to every day sounds. I suggest getting him a crate that he can escape to - one with all sides covered- even if it is an oversized crate - as it will be ultimately something familiar for him. No need to close the door obviously but it will hopefully encourage him to be in the house and eventually venture out.

    Keep your routine as normal - he needs to fit into yours, not you into his. Dont give credit to the fear. It sounds as though you are comforting him when he is panicky - are you also praising him when he doesnt react? The more comfort you give to his fears, the more credit you give them

    but you know all this - this isnt exactly your first dog lol

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Most whippets we get in the vet are very very nervous, a lot have fear aggression too. Im happy with yours boys, most children (especially boys) dont understand the whole gentle aspect.
    I dont think the vet is in order, but I do belive, as others have said, he hasnt been socialised to many things.
    I would give it time, stay patient and keep doing what your doing.
    You trust the dog, so now let the dog trust you.

  10. #10

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    If it's only been a week, I wouldn't worry. Some of the Greyhounds we get as fosters take many weeks to adjust to life as a pet instead of a kennel dog, and get used to everything. One of our Borzoi is shy too, and would be exactly the same in a new place, it's in her family.

    Give him time. Give him a place to feel secure when things overwhelm him, then go about life as usual. Don't mollycoddle him, much as it's tempting. Just let him take it all on board for a while and he'll figure out his place in the scheme of your home.

    We've found with the sensitive Greys they get very attached to a bed or a safe spot for a while, but they'll relax about it as they settle.

    My greyhound foster Jack didn't pay me any attention for nearly two weeks. He was very distant and I thought he was too kennel based to re adjust. Wrong. After two weeks, one day he came bounding up to me like a long lost friend! He is very devoted. We find the sensitive hounds are the most devoted so he will be worth the wait.

    I wouldn't think two months was a short time for a Greyhound to re adjust out of kennel mode, so be patient.

    If he gets stressed to the point of not eating for longer periods, try making some satin balls. You'll find the recipe online. I use honey instead of molasses, and even the most devoted non-eaters find them hard to resist!

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