Celebrate the Whippet Breed


Crate Training by Several Whippet Breeders and Owners

Suggestions by Tommie Porter

To crate or not to crate.

A controversial subject.. Although this hasn't happened to me, as I DO CRATE! I would like to reflect something that happened to a friend of mine some years ago. Maybe you non craters might change your minds..

This person owned 3 Whippets. One male and two females. One female was the alpha of the three. All three dog's were between the ages of 3 to 5 yrs and were raised together pretty much, and were allowed to be loose all of the time, even while the person was gone. So she left the house for a couple of hours one day and of course left the dog's loose like always. Upon her return on this day, she walked into a major catastrophe, one of the bitches was dead, and the other two dog's were tore up very badly. She doesn't know what happened or why all of a sudden they turned on each other, but none the less they did. Maybe it was somebody at the door and they got excited, maybe a noise or a cat outside that they could see and got frustrated. Guess we will never know, but the whole point of it is, by leaving multiple dog's loose, dog's that are natural hunters with high pray drive you are flirting with disaster. Things in the house can be repaired or replaced, but you can't bring back the life of the dead dog. I have 21 Whippets and a 75 lb. cross bred.. When I leave for what ever time/reason all of the Whippets are crated! I don't like leaving them for long times and arrange for somebody to potty them if I know I'm going to be a long time. But I would much rather walk into maybe messy crates, or dog's who are in a hurry to go out, than to find a dead dog in my living room... When I'm home they are all out loose, and I don't even walk out the door to the mail box without crating some of them, those that I know have a tendency to snarl at another when I'm out of site.. I also crate at night, but rotate my dog's sleeping with me. They all get a chance to sleep with mom... When I have puppies, they and mom go into an x-pen when they are big enough, plus after they are born, they are in a big crate, which is moved into the x-pen. They learn from the very beginning about crates. They learn to eat in them, be quite in them, and that it's a safe haven for them. I don't think my dog's are mal adjusted, on the contrary. They are happy, friendly and very athletic, AND ALIVE!!!

Y-NOTZ Whippets


Suggestions by Stacy De-Lin

For owners who work and crate their dogs, I do believe that 8 or 9 hours is far too long for a dog to be crated. I have read some books say four hours, some say six hours, but I'm sure that six would be the maximum.

We had a problem crating my dog for any amount of time. We really worked with him for about a year and used a behaviorist, but my dog would also injure himself when left in a crate. But he would chew at the door when we left him out. So finally, we just made a decision that we could replace the door frame if we had to, that was more acceptable for us than having him hurt himself in the crate. Within two weeks he had stopped chewing at the door, and he's fine out in the house. Whether it's a confinement anxiety or just too long in the crate, you've got to develop a better system. As for the urination part, again, 8 or 9 hours is too long for a small dog to hold it. (Try holding it yourself for 9 hours today!) If you leave him out in the house, you could possibly install a dog door for him to get outside during the day, or you could hire a petsitter to walk him once daily. I urge all people to take the obedience class and as I said, deal temporarily with the tearing up and housebreaking. I know that there will be questions of cruelty for creating excessive hours, and we most would admit that a dog whose gums and claws are badly injured who is covered in open sores is a cruel situation. I congratulate anyone who is having this problem and seeks information from others, it is a start to correcting the problem. I think it comes down to the problem that Whippets cannot be crated for extreme hours each day.

If the whippet cannot be created and continues to tear up your home and it is a situation you feel you cannot live with, then it may be time to contact your breeder or a rescue person and rehome your dog. I know that is probably the LAST thing most of you would want to do, but it is importannt to do what is best for the dog, and maybe being with someone who can be home regularly may be best for him. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck in exploring various options.


Suggestions by Jean Good

My youngster (1-1/2 year old) male enjoys being in his crate "IF it is in the car and going somewhere", especially to the park. It is a different story if the same crate is in the house. He runs to his crate at meal time where he eats, he has nice soft blankets and plenty of chew toys in it. He will go to his crate, seemingly quite relaxed, that is, "IF the crate door is open". If it is closed, and there are sometimes when it is necessary to shut the door with him in it, no matter if it is just for a few hours---to him, whatever time is spent with that door closed is WAY tooo long! He starts with the barking and then with the scratching and then with the chewing the blankets and trying to rip them apart.

My big mistake, is that when he would start barking, I would let him out. If I didn't, he would just bark louder and then I would let him out. Pretty soon, it became quite evident to him that when he was put in the crate, and if he would almost immediately reach his HIGHEST OCTAVE, he would be let out of the crate even earlier. So the neighbors started to notice and someone even asked me if I was torturing my dog! So, now I am back to "square one"! Making sure that I do not let him out until he quiets--I competely ignore him until he does and when he does quieten down a little, I walk over to the crate and give him a treat. He's not let out until he is completely quiet and I think that is very important. Other owners will suggest that I should put one of my other Whippets in the crate with him for company. It is going to take sometime to remedy my problem, but hopefully I can and I hopfully others can resolve their crating problem as well. Most owners really care for their dogs and are willing to see help from others who have experienced these same problems. Good Luck Jean


Suggestions by Jen Gough, Wilango Whippets

I do NOT allow any puppy of mine to go to a home without a crate and careful instructions on it's use. It is not punishment. The dog is never put in its crate for doing something bad. It is their room and they are expected to keep it tidy! I realize they can't work the washer/dryer so I do there bedding for them, but if they spill food, they are to clean it up. The only time they are crated is at night when we are all asleep. They all run to their crate at night when I say "kennel". Why is it SO hard to get my boys out of bed in the morning?

I did have a room mate who didn't believe in crating and her two whippets destroyed her house when she went to work. Blinds ripped off the walls, food carried into the backyard, furniture edges eaten, paper towels shredded, prescription drug bottles chewed up w/ the pills in them...I could go on here. When I moved in, I set up crates for all the dogs, and order was restored. Her bitch didn't like it as she had been allowed to do whatever for so long but she adjusted. What is the real difference between leaving whippets in indoor/outdoor runs with no human interaction 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, than some judicious crating when necessary. When I leave the house, they are all old enough to be left loose, but the males are separated by rooms. Rico or Paolo can go upstairs to the bedroom to sleep on our bed with crate door open. Reebok stays in the kitchen so he can get outside to pee and girls are in the den with a screen door between den and kitchen. I come home to girls and Rico or Paolo asleep on the furniture, dog upstairs asleep on the bed, and Reebok most likely laying in his crate w/door open or out in the sun, depending on the weather. Rico is such a horrible counter surfer; we can't even trust him not to get into kitchen trash while we sit on the front porch. Pups are completely crate trained with no accidents by 12 weeks so if they go to other homes, it does not present a problem. On the subject of urination in crate if crated for extended periods of time: We sleep for 7-8 hours at night and don't need water so what’s the difference? Aurora now is pretty trustworthy left alone in the house. We separate our boys since having the fight but this is done by rooms, not crating. The only time everyone is crated is when we go to bed. All crates are in our bedroom except Reebok's. He has to have constant access to the dog door. He can't wait all night to go urinate. In conclusion, my suggestions are: if possible, get your dog an opposite sex playmate, use Calms instead of Clomicalm (if it's no longer effective), and work toward not needing to crate. We have 5 dogs who live peacefully together in the den when David and I are away from the house. No mass destruction when we return. Of course, we never leave food anywhere in the den because a couple of mine would most likely scale the walls to get a box of crackers! If they get bored, they have shredded a newspaper or magazine for entertainment but no big deal. I also thought the middle of the day pet walker might be a good idea, too, unless it just gets the dog upset all over again. Another thought if doggy daycare where you'd drop him off on the way to work, then pick him up again on your way home. Of course, this doesn't help when you need to go somewhere on your off days. I also used to take Aurora along w/me to run errands if at all possible, weather permitting and depending on how long I'd be out of the car. She got upset one time and ate all the seatbelts in the car. Very expensive mistake. I don't know if people saw her in the bank parking lot and went over to say hello which got her stirred up or what. Will never know. I kept this puppy because I thought whoever would have taken her would not have been happy with her temperament and wouldn't be as patient with her as I would. I've never regretted the decision. I love her, I produced her, she's my responsibility and it's taken me years of work to get her where she is today. Just my thoughts on the subject. Jen Gough, Wilango Whippets


Suggestions by Gay Robertson

I was going to keep out of the crating discussion because everyone is entitled to their own views and no one asked for mine. I do feel that an alternative view should be mentioned so that it does not become the norm for Whippets to be kept in cages like zoo animals.

The hours they spend in crates is inevitably going to be more than the predicted eight over 5/7. Personally, I never sell or re-home a whippet to someone who will be out at work all day, leaving a single Whippet at home, crated or loose. I take the view that the Whippets I breed or become responsible for are entitled to a life where they will not be lonely or stressed by not being able to relieve themselves when they need to. I am now retired (which means busier than ever) but I have always thought that paying a dog sitter/walker is part of the cost of keeping a dog, like vets' bills, for those who do not have a partner at home for at least half the day and I elected not to have holidays in order to be able to do this. My dogs are never left for more than four hours at a time (loose in the dog room) and they quite obviously feel that that is plenty. So while I agree that collating all the helpful advice on how to make them feel the crate is a good place to be, would be very useful, I also think you should include a view that this is a last resort for a breed that wants human companionship so intensely and that solitary confinement for a Whippet is not nice, to put it as mildly as I can. Gay and the milling about Moonlakes


Suggestions by Linda & Mike Stone

Not all of us have the money, space, know-how, or live in a climate where we can have outdoor dog runs. I personally wouldn't trust the yahoos in my neighborhood with my dogs outside while I'm gone.

While 8-9 hours is a LONG time cooped up in a crate for a dog that probably True, but when I think about it, if I go to bed at 10 and get up at 7, my dogs have been crated for 9 hours. (Yes, we lead an exciting life here!) I'm lucky enough to be able to come home at lunch to let my dogs out, and I find they're more relaxed if I've walked them a quick mile in the morning before work. Keep play items in the crate for the dogs, I find a sock-tied-to-a-whip is a quick way to exercise a feisty, bored dog.

You can't over-emphasize only letting him out when he's quiet, even if he only shuts up for a second. A good distraction toy is a Kong with peanut butter in it. And I toss cookies in and leave the door open. It's fun to see the light bulb come on for them when they realize they can go in *and* out.


Suggestions by Linda & Ned Madden

When I had to leave my first dog alone for a while I put her in the kitchen, which led straight to the dining room without a door, and I blocked the entrance with a large wire crate with the door open. I blocked off the other entrance to the kitchen with gates. She wasn't and still isn't a jumper so the baby gates weren't a problem, and she was more than happy to go in and out of the crate to sleep on her bed and come out to get water when she needed it. At the start, as she was used to being outside in a dog run, she would have very infrequent accidents but it was on lino so no big deal. I always put the radio on: Nessie seemed like a comtemporary jazz type of gal so that's what she got. I timed getting the hound at a point in my life when I could be at home more often than not, so I was never away long and she seemed quite content. I realized quickly though that she was a bit lonely so we got her a buddy and the two of them bonded quickly, and are still best buds even though we are overrun with hounds and kitties. (This also made me feel less guilty when I had to leave her for a while....)

However, try blocking the hound in the kitchen if you can, make sure you hide everything you think she/he can chew, then hide even more stuff - a punctured alkaline battery can make a hell of a mess to a dog's mouth. If you have a jumper, I would recommend a trip to Frank's craft store where you can pick up wrought iron room dividers that are five feet + tall and although they are fairly open in design, a six month old pup can't get through them and they aren't big ugly things. I have two of those now and my husband attached them to the wall and they swing out when I need them and fold back when I don't.

In the meantime; set up a crate in the living room and pop the dog in there while you are working around making dinner etc. then feed the dog in there. Don't make a fuss when you leave or when you come home, but give the dog a cookie when you go out and make sure the dog has some toys in with it but nothing like bones that it could choke on. I always say to Penny and Stripe, "into your wee house!" and they are in the big crate like a shot and sitting no less, waiting for that cookie. They whined a bit at first but now when I come home there isn't even squeak never mind the big screeching match from them.(which I did get the first couple of times, "let me out, I'm dying sort of thing!!" to which I replied in a louder serious voice, "that's enough" and it worked!)

Hope everything works out for all of you.


Suggestions by Lois-Ann Snyder

Separation anxiety is the Veterinary buzz word of the year, and it has now trickled down to the pet community. I hear folks in the pet store talking about their pets SA! Very clever marketing on the part of the drug companies. First they have a drug and then they create a disease!

One more quick suggestion. If you want your dog to be clean in his crate, keep it immaculately clean and full of nice blankies! If the puppy or adult has an accident, clean thoroughly and immediately. There is usually a stage when the puppy will mess in his crate and then demand to be let out of this nasty smelly place. Don't get angry, get patient! It is a major step in the right direction. Let them outside, give them a kiss, clean up the mess and put them back in a nice clean crate. (You put them back, if only for a short time, so they don't associate demanding to be let out with getting out of the crate). It is very tempting to use newspapers in a youngster's crate because they can be discarded if soiled. Don't do it. Your puppy has probably used newspapers to eliminate on in the whelping box or puppy X-pen. You are just encouraging him to continue. Probably the best choice is the fake lambskin material, it is used in hospitals because it will clean up so well. It is also warm, thick and cozy. Get enough to always have clean ones on hand. Dogs learn to appreciate these things but I think they also learn to be resigned to living in dirt and don't care. Teach them to care. I think vari-kennels are the best for this in the house. They contain any spills and their plastic doesn't hold odors. Vari-kennels can be too warm in a vehicle in the summer though.


Suggestions by Katherine Shearer

Not all of us have the money, time or resources to provide the PERFECT living situation for our dogs. I'd LOVE to be able to have indoor-outdoor runs, and free running and play time for the Whippets 24-7. But this is not currently possible. We do the best we can with what we have, and love the dogs all the more for being able to adapt to some crazy situations.

Second, here are some more suggestions to add to the ones that have already been posted. - Teach your Whippet that the crate is a GOOD thing. This fact was mentioned earlier, but include feeding him in the crate with the door open, and giving treats for being quiet in the crate too. He may start off eating outside the crate, just poking his head in to reach the food. Push the bowl to the back, but don't force the dog in. Eventually he will be eating inside. You will have to take the time to UNDO the bad feelings he already has about the crate. - Have a pet sitter or reliable neighbor walk the dog at lunch or play with it in your yard if possible. - Come home for lunch if you can. If possible, ask the boss for a few weeks of going home for lunch to help train your dog until it is not so upset, or you can get a dog walker. - Set up an area in your residence that he can be loose during the day, but safe. If you can have the crate in this separate area with the door open, a few toys, and water that would be ideal. - Consider paper training if you have a place to do this. It can work this in with the situation above; have the crate and toys on one side, and a small linolium area to the other side with papers on for elimination. You can get lino by the sheet from places like Lowes and Home Depot for about $15 (for 8'x10') and then cut it to fit where you need. Good luck, and I hope you get many more ideas to try. Don't give up too soon! Katherine Shearer

Fairwind Whippets


Suggestions by Shirley Davis


Rio in his crate in the living room, which illustrates my comments

I know we have many readers still learning about crating, and this might assist with my experiences with my personal whippet.

Rio was a rescue at age 4 (I'm going to post his story on his birthday 12/19, when he turns 13!) and he went totally berserk in crates, damaging himself and the crate nonstop. What I learned was that he needed a larger, uncovered wire crate he could see out of (another dog may need solid sides to feel secure?) and it had to be located in the center of activity (so, I have a crate in my livingroom and all of my friends think we are weird.) Once that was established, we did the regular crate training activities: leaving the door open, tossing the cookie in, putting in the best dog blankets, gradually increasing time spent inside....... He is crated overnight -- after "last time potty," he runs to his crate, waits for me to put on his woolly pj's, and then settles in for his cookie. During the day the crate door is open. Sometimes he is in it sleeping, other times not. Sometimes he fills it up with toys. If he gets into trash, all the trash gets carried to his crate. I think we both think of it as his private bedroom. One of the very rare times I have had to board him, I also requested bathing before I picked him up. I forgot to tell the groomer NOT to put him in a crate. She bathed him and put him in a small Vari-Kennel. When I came to pick him up, his face was lacerated from escape attempts. I still feel bad. My point is that you have to creatively work with the individual dog and sometimes compromise is necessary. I know Rio was confined in a small Vari-Kennel before I got him and that is where he draws the line. Somebody might ask why crate him at all ..... He did not know good house behavior when we got him and we are not home 100% of the time. I did try the baby gate across the kitchen door. I tried barricades across the kitchen door ...... his name in foster care was "Houdini." We were glad when we were able to find a crate solution. Hope this helps someone. And PS: all of my dogs are crate trained, which is a great convenience (for sickness, visiting wild children, etc.), but they are *rarely* crated except at night when all the lights are out. Shirley Davis


Suggestions by Donna Matheson

While neither of the dogs I own now are from rescue, I have had dogs that were. I too have found that a larger wire crate is best used when I have to go out and it assures me that the dog is in a safe place and not getting into anything, or possibly destroying stuff, esp. when they are younger.

Like Shirley, some of my friends think I am a little wierd, but I keep the dogs crates in an area where they can use them at any time of the day, and I also feed them in it. One is in my dining room and the other in the middle of my kitchen. Sometimes a pain, but helped when training my whippet.

While I try not to leave the dogs alone for long periods, if I have to go out for a day I find someone to come and let them out and give them play time if at all possible. I find family and friends, and some teens don't seem to mind doing this as a favor and don't expect any payment for it. The only time I crated the dogs at night was when they were younger and I even cleared a space and moved the crate into the bedroom so they wouldn't feel alone. Now that both of my dogs are older, they are loose at night and sleep in the bedroom. Our whippet loves the warmth of the bed, and has learned to quietly sneak under the covers at night and snuggle up at my side or the bottom of the bed. I tried to stop that for awhile, but she would just wait until we were sleeping and sneak in, so it is taken for granted that is where she will be. If she gets too hot, she moves to the top of the covers or somehow manages to get under the top blanket. Thankfully our Sheltie only wants to be close and although he starts on the top of the bed close to us, he usually ends up on the rug on the floor beside the bed. I think as long as the dogs know they are loved and have some exercise time and freedom to be with us, crating them for periods of time should not be a problem.

The big thing is training them to go in the crate, putting in a warm clean blanket, some safe play toys, and perhaps a treat. Spending time with them when you first get them and giving them as much time as possible is also needed. I have always tried to make sure I have some time off, or time home to spend with the dog when I first get them, and do the crate training a little at a time. Try to spend time with your dog and get it more used to the crate, and its new home.

Donna M.



Suggestions by Jaime Austen

A little comparison to putting children in a playpen and crating whippets. Well, now we are into my area! I never put my daughter in a playpen or any other type of confinement. In fact, after she was 8 1/2 months, she began screaming every time I put her in her crib, so I slept with her on the floor on a futon mattress. I watched her every minute that she was up and about. My husband as a child drank kerosene twice, and I made sure that never happened in my house. As far as I am concerned, his parents were neglectful to have allowed that to happen to a three year old!

I feel the same about puppies. When my whippies were puppies, I would crate them when I left, which was usually not over a couple of hours at a time. As they have gotten older, now both around 2 years old, they have the run of the house when I am gone. There is the occasional mishap, but they are usually very good. Neither one likes to be crated, but will deal with it when in the car, because they have no choice. I used to leave then free in the car, but when I got my second one, she was all over the car, and I couldn't drive. My first one was very good and slept in his bed everywhere I went. But now, they both ride in their crates, and do pretty well. My girl whines a lot at times, but after a good run, she is pretty quiet. Just as an aside, when I got my girl Gypsy, my boy Macnamara was 7 months old. He slept with me in bed. The first night Gypsy was home, I crated her, and there were no problems. The second night, Macnamara got up out of bed, and stood in front of Gypsy's crate and started whinning! He wanted Gypsy to sleep in bed with us, and so it was! I guess I am a bad Whippie mom, because now Gypsy get's hysterical when put into a crate, except when in the car. Of course, when we travel and I need to crate them in a hotel room, they seem to do fine as well. The tough part comes, when I am by myself with them, and I take the crates to the car first before I bring them out.....oh boy!!! the whole town knows that Gypsy is left alone, and probably forever according to her. She whines at full volume.....even the walls shake! She is just fine as soon as I show up again, but I do have to hurry getting the crates into the car! LOL In both cases, kids or puppies, I have dealt with, I would rather watch them than crate them. But in certain circumstances, I will crate, and they deal with it! Of course, I have never crated my daughter!! LOL For me, I do what is necessary and seems reasonable to me, now what one should do or what others do. I think what is sometimes missing from this discussion list, is that people do things differently, and that doesn't make them right or another wrong. We are all different, look at the world differently, and choose to live differently and the same, in some respects. And respect is what we should have for anothers' choices, not ridicule! What works for me might not work for another person, or their dogs. Each dog is different, and needs to be dealt with according to their personality and needs. Thats how I look at it! Jaime Austen


Suggestions by Jeanette Socaciu

As I work many hours per day, here's what I did with my dog until recently (he's finally getting out of the chew everything stage!!!):

I bought an x-pen for inside the house, and put his crate in there. There is then a doggy door that goes outside (which the x-pen surrounds). In our old house, he ate the plants in the yard...so our new house has a long dog run for him to get some exercise, lay in the sun, and do his business.

He has toys that he takes outside, too, and he likes to toss them around. Being in Arizona, I don't like the idea of having my dog outside all day in the run. This way, he has access to the house (with heating and cooling) and his crate, a water dispenser is inside, and he doesn't get all worked up.

I started this when he was a pup - so I don't know if this would work for you (or if you are in a house where you can do something like this), but I thought I'd add my two cents. If you do this without a separate run, and your dog likes to chew, be sure there isn't anything toxic (or valuable!) in your yard.

If there is, FENCE IT OFF!!! I used 4' welded wire with those green metal posts (luckily, my dog hasn't figured out he can jump that high... yet!).

Jeanette Socaciu


Suggestions by Kyle Sibinovic

I have to add my thoughts on this subject and will try to be brief. Many years ago when my boys were small, they had to go to the shows with me. My very large male doberman traveled in a rather large crate. At the show - obedience trial, the dog came out of the crate, a large sheet covered the crate and the boys went into the crate with their match box cars, etc, etc, and there they stayed while I was in the obedience ring. They were happy in "their cave" and I was happy that they could not wander. Today, some one would decide it was cruel to the boys. Oh well!!

Seriously though we crate every dog here when we are gone except for Missy Whippet and she is confined to the kitchen. When her sister is here, they share the kitchen. Puppies sleep in pairs by 4 or 5 weeks of age and alone at about 7 weeks, crates are fun, have food, toys, favorite large stuffed animal for sleep time and the kitchen has an automatic night lite that really seems to help. They get lots of community time and sleep together for naps during the day and when they leave here at 8 to 10 weeks, they sleep from midnight to 7 or 8 am and if I am prompt, they do not have accidents. Of course that is predicated on their having the usual playtime in the evening and their evening feed and being very sleepy. I have had one puppy that was ok when she left here and her owners could not do the crate thing as it was "cruel". When she came back she was awful in a crate and we spend the first two or three days she is here readjusting her thinking on the subject of crates. Then there is one male whose owner also thought that he did not need to be crated and who in wire in the car, at a show etc is fine, but can not tolerate the varikennel type of crate. The person who now owns him has worked hard and long getting him to accept a wire crate. With all of us here for the holiday, and both the conformation and performance dogs home as well the count was nearly 50. Where would we be without crates and dogs that like their crates??




My youngest, Starchaser, did not particularly like being crated, until I started taking her to lure trials! I used to have to pick her up and *put* her in the crate, but after learning that going in a crate meant she was usually going to get to go chase a lure, or go to a dog show and get treats and meet some new friends, Starchaser will now sleep in her crate with the door open, and only has to be told "in" to be crated.

My conclusion and advice - whenever possible, when you crate your dog, take it places it will have lots of fun! I also like to crate young pups with a calm older dog sometimes - since whippets like to be close to other whippets.....

Jill Baum
Jilzan Whippets & Greyhounds, Tempe, AZ, USA