Celebrate the Whippet Breed

Puppies and Children


Kim Otero, Wheatland Whippets

A writer asked:

Thanks for the response. I answered the questions below. I also have a couple of questions for you.

1. In your experience are my children too young for a dog even with supervision. My children are 1.5 and 5 years old.

2. What can I expect to pay for a pet quality whippet?

Thank you for your time in advance. I look forward to hearing from you and will let you know when we get a puppy.

A pet puppy runs about $800-$1500. Whippets typically are wonderful with children if properly raised. Be sure not to pick one that is too shy or insecure.

Your children are quite young and still demanding of your attention. Your 5 year old is at a very good age to learn (by example) the nurturing, respect, and love for animals that dog ownership will bring. But he is much too young to take on any real responsibility. My experience is that the parents, or actually the main caregiver must be deeply bonded with the dog.

If you are very diligent - "control freaks" if you will - AND your pup has a normal confident temperament, a family such as yours can have a positive dog ownership experience. Since mom is the adult at home in your case, her desire and love and caring for the dog is what this success will hinge upon. It doesn't matter how much of a dog lover the full-time working dad is, or how delighted the kids are by "doggy!"; if the training, exercise, attention, care and cleaning of doggy are simply an added burden to an already VERY busy (perhaps harried) mom, there will be disappointments.

Whippets are probably more civilized, clean, and adaptable to the home environment than most breeds. I can show you many examples of the happy family with whippet and child snuggling in bed and playing fun games together, such as "dress up" or "fetch", etc. But this scenario doesn't happen by accident - lots of work goes into the end result.

Puppies thru about 2 years old are very much like toddlers, the worst time being between the age of 5 mos - 1 year or so. They are especially challenging if they have had the opportunity to learn some bad habits - stealing food, for instance, or "the joy of stuffing" (that comes out of furniture or down quilts as opposed to their own toys). Constant supervision and exposure to correct outlets for playful energy, as well as effective correction and the judicious use of the crate, are essential to a good outcome. You cannot read enough books on puppy rearing and dog behavior if you ask me. A commitment to lots of exercise and socialization for your pup outside the home is also of utmost importance.

It is my belief that the energy and discipline to carry this out will only come from that connection of true love that is the most important component successful dog ownership. It takes a lot of dedication, but that's easier to muster when one has that connection. In this case there are as many, if not more rewards for the owner as for the dog.

Kim Otero
Wheatland Whippets