Advice Needed From Those of You with a 'Wild Child'

Advice Needed From Those of You with a 'Wild Child'

Postby chelynnah » Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:32 pm

From: Houstondog (Original Message) Sent: 27/12/2006 00:21
Well, Houston will be 8 months next week and is still as "busy" as he was at 8 weeks...he can be quite a challenge at times...

My question is to any that may have had a pup with a similar personality - did neutering calm them down? We really want to wait until the one year birthday to neuter but if it helps....


From: LindaZaworski Sent: 27/12/2006 01:24
Nope -- neutering doesn't help (in my experience).

I'll tell you what I tell people who have gotten a dog from me:

"If you can last them out until they are 2 years old, it is as if someone waved a magic wand over them and you finally have a dog that is wonderful to live with!"

Linda Z

From: llpoolej Sent: 27/12/2006 01:25
I don't think it will calm him down at all. It will help him not start marking, but, doubt it will change his wildness

From: dixiearrow33 Sent: 27/12/2006 01:49
I agree with Linda. The puppy stage doesn't end until about 2 years, and it's just put up with it. One thing I did find that helped was to make sure mine got walked and run a lot. That seemed to tire them out enough that the destructiveness was kept to a minimum. At two, they seem to change personalities.


From: Clonfaeyl Sent: 27/12/2006 02:00
I have a "wild child"......not very whippety in personality, and at age 3 years, I'm still waiting and waiting for the calm, and quiet, and less busy personality. Yikes!

Neutering changed NOTHING.

Running in the back 40 helps somewhat......tired is good.

I'm hoping mother time helps out, because the first year was HELL on fire. I think I've never used a dog's name so many times in vain. Hang in there, we are!!

From: Chinabound98 Sent: 27/12/2006 02:06
Neutering isn't like flipping a switch to make them calm, BUT, I do strongly believe that it can be easier to live with a dog that doens't have the effects of hormones coursing through his system -- which start to take effect at around eight months old.

Why are you waiting until a year old to neuter? If you're keeping him as a pet and aren't worried about his wicketing out if you want to course him, then why wait? I know many breeders say to neuter later so they can "fill out" in general, but I really believe that the differences are subtle and most "pet owners" (read: not Whippet breeders!) don't notice the difference.

High-drive dogs are a wild ride for the first three-years. Testosterone can super-charge that behavior. Nerutering won't fix it alone, but it can help prevent some of the super-charged stuff.

Do a lot of training now and then at three, you can relax and enjoy a really cool, well-trained dog!

And in the meantime.... hang in there!


From: Windsheen1 Sent: 27/12/2006 02:23
As a breeder, I do NOT recommend neutering a dog until he is at least one year of age.

For more info, go to and read Early Spay Neuter considerations for the Canine Athlete.

There are other health issues to consider besides getting too tall or not muscular enough. All sighthounds are athletes and regardless if you are competing with them or not, they need to develop correctly.

If you want to see wild, I have a 16 month old whippet bitch who is the epitomy of wild, very little testosterone involved!
But it does not last forever and I love it.

Jodi J. Ellison

From: PurpleWhippet5PlusOne Sent: 27/12/2006 02:29
I have to jump in on the neutering or not neutering. As the sorta Co-Breeder of the wild child, we do ask that our puppies not be neutered / spayed before they are a year old at minimum, the reasons are actually in our contract.

It does change their appearance a great deal and there are more and more studies proving that Testosterone is needed in a developing dog, there are studies that show testosterone might help prevent some cancers, there can be other side effects to early neutering as well.

Since I know for a fact that Houston is not running the streets siring litters (which is the main reason to neuter) I would think that the tincture of time, discipline and exercise will do the trick...

Just my opinion...
HJ & The Whippet Gang +1

From: WhippetSpa Sent: 27/12/2006 02:40
Houston sounds just like how Mason marie was. The key word here is "was." She was like that right up until that famous "2 year" mark last month. For especially the first year, she would go nonstop and that isn't even slightly exaggerating. She would go and go and go and go and go and go. Mason was a little energizer bunny. I can remember at times laughing and counting down the months until she would be 2! Hang in there. Getting a lot of exercise is a big help and a lot of patience.

From: Houstondog Sent: 27/12/2006 03:15
Houston has been getting lots of exercise...he lives to go to the dog park and he lives to have a tennis ball in his mouth. The problem is .... he isn't allowed in the dog park after six months unless he's neutered. I keep telling people he is still in his sixth we have to go when the park isn't too busy. Too bad our weather has been so great here in Southern Ontario.

Daycare has really helped ...he's with dogs all day that tire him out and he comes home exhausted.

Well, I guess we will hang in there. Now that the holidays are here and daycare is closed until January, it's been challenging. LOL...thanks for letting me vent...

Maybe he needs a sibling? Any thoughts?

He is one happy boy!

From: Patience Sent: 27/12/2006 04:18
That was going to be my suggestion, Joyce. I was going to ask his daily routine, and if he had any other canine companionship.
If Swede William didn't have Lindy Loo to play with, I'd have found him a way back to Sweden!!! (NOT REALLY, there's not a bit of truth in that, well maybe a little, not a single iota of truth, yes there is, I'm just kidding!) And if Luciano hadn't have had Delia, and if Fat Charlie and Mama Pajama hadn't had each other...
Instead of having to find something to occupy their minds, they play dinosaur mouths for hours, among other things (see "bad, bad puppies" thread).
But, I'm just a believer that whippets, especially young whippets, are meant to be with other dogs.
good luck-

From: Chelynnah1 Sent: 27/12/2006 13:57
Chelsea (our whippet/terrier who got us into whippets) was our original Wild Child. I honestly held out no hope for her to ever learn to behave... Then she turned 2. It was like a switch flicked in her brain. She still kept her sense of humour and some of her wildness, but she also became the 'perfect' dog as well.

Savannah was always pretty good - she had her own mind, but she was always biddable. Then arrived Teya - nicknamed The Teyarist. She was SO like her Auntie Chelsea - and what helped was that even though Chelsea was 6.5 when we got Teya, Chelsea still had a wild enough streak in her to keep Teya entertained. Teya has turned 2.5 and again, just before she hit 2 she started to calm down. And this past few months each week has seen a slight maturing in her. She still has her wild personality, but again, is a good citizen now . But I hate to think what she'd have been like if she hadn't had Chelsea to let off steam with.

If you think you're ready for No. 2, then I'd say it can only help. It will give him a playmate to burn off some of that energy with and give you a bit of a break.


From: bluedog37 Sent: 27/12/2006 15:23
I too had a wild child and he was neutered at 6 months. I don't believe it changed anything personality wise - he was still a bundle of crazy energy bouncing off the walls. Trusting my vet as the final say on that decision is something I still regret. If I had to do it again I think I would wait until he was 2 yrs old (unless he started marking in the house).

And HJ, is that a new addition to the contract because I don't think it was there almost 3 yrs ago? (too bad it wasn't......)

From: PurpleWhippet5PlusOne Sent: 27/12/2006 15:30
It's fairly new because someone complained about how lanky and scrawny their "Ellery" puppy was. They had him neutered at 6 months and he doesn't look anything like his dad - The only one of Ellery's babies not to look like him (body style).

So after that and the research being done, we added that we recommend not neutering before 1 year for males and females.

We like to think our whippet homes are responsible enough not to let their males loose in the neighbourhood and our females usually don't come in season until after a year so they will be full grown and spayed before they do come in.

Happy New Year Everyone...

HJ & The Whippet Gang+1

From: GreyFind Sent: 27/12/2006 17:43
Koda is another "hell on wheels" boy. Only we've got peeing everywhere on top of the destructiveness and bouncing off the walls. Last night we came home and fed them dinner. Before I could put the gate back up to block the upstairs Koda had finished his dinner, snuck upstairs and wormed into the cats room (which is double gated mind you). He peed in the hallway before he commando crawled under the lowest gate (the cleaning lady had been here and set it just an inch too high, if its 3 inches he can't get under, if its 4 inches he can - I hadn't been around to check it after she left). He proceeded to eat cat turds, cat food, and cat litter and then stand back at the gate waiting to be let out. Of course I kneeled in the warm urine stain while unhooking the gate to let him out.

One thing I will say, neutering him has taken the edge off a tiny bit as far as his craziness goes. We do have a fraction of quiet time now that we didn't have before. But it's not something that most people would notice. As far as getting another crazy dog - I have to say - ARE YOU NUTS? One urinating destruction machine that reduces me to tears at least once a week is PLENTY. I think adding another would definitely drive me to drink. ;-) I hope what everyone says about the 2 year mark is true, if so we only have 5 months left.

-Wendy, still wearing the urine snorkel

From: ZoeyWhippet Sent: 27/12/2006 17:49
Well, the wildness in my child was discovered at 2 weeks of age, as soon as her eyes opened, she was out of that whelping box and never looked back.

She is not spayed, but at the age of 5 years is STILL the craziest thing in the world. But I love MY wild child.


From: llpoolej Sent: 27/12/2006 17:53
Wendy, a experience like yours is why I find it better to neuter early, vs late. Yeah, you may not have as beefy or short of a whippet, but, I doubt that would reduce you to tears daily.

Cinnamon marks and is not spayed. I am hoping when she is spayed, it will curb those annoying hormones. I would say it is behavioral now and just worsened by the hormones. I do think hormones are the catalyst.

If you are showing or racing, I can see not neutering them. IF they are pets, who cares if they are thinner and taller? If you can live with them better, I would take less attractive and more pleasant any day.

Still don't think it will calm him down much. I do think it will stop the marking behavior from starting. Which, once it starts I don't know if it ever really can be stopped

From: Chelynnah1 Sent: 27/12/2006 18:03
Wendy was showing Koda - which was why he wasn't neutered earlier and I believe she's also going to race or lure course him.

I also do think there are always going to be some dogs who are the exception to the rule. My family raised miniature dachshunds for years. A very good family friend got one, and I helped her and her family raise it, and that dog could and would NOT be housetrained. She did everything right. Followed all the rules, but it didn't matter. Dusty would NOT pee outside and would pee inside. At some point between 18 months and 2 years she became reliable, and was one of the BEST dogs for reliability we had had between us to that point. But we honestly had given up and figured she was going to be that 'one' dog that was impossible to housetrain - and for 2 years she was.

So yes, there are the exceptions for housetraining and marking and excessive wild childness. But as a rule, by 2 you should be seeing a difference. And if Houston's wildness is mostly displayed by activity rather than by marking and stuff, and you're ready for a 2nd whippet, that definitely could help with the problem.

(the other) Wendy

From: wildharewhippets Sent: 27/12/2006 18:13
Best advice - get one two year old whippet - old enough to have some manners
but young enough to keep up with and teach manners to a "early teen" puppy -
they will both run each other ragged and wear out the pup - the best pup is
a very tired one -

From: PoleStarPB Sent: 27/12/2006 19:14
The best thing for a "wild child" Whippet no matter the gender is obedience. You are training the brain and giving you both a foundation for communication. All the other things work to varying degrees but I have found that all Whippets benefit a great deal from obedience. You may have to go to more than one class and/or work them at home. Whippets need something to engage their developing young minds.

They are too smart a breed not to have something to do with their minds. When I bred my two litters they all starting learning basic obedience right along with other socialization and training.

I don't like to train all the "wild" out of a Whippet puppy. If a puppy isn't active almost to the point of wild I have found that they grow up to be too sedate as adults.

W. Jo and the former wild child Saarra

From: sowaglawhippetsnart Sent: 27/12/2006 20:10
Right now, I have the "wildest" puppy I have had in a long time. He is 6 1/2 week old Tito, a singleton male. He is so different from my litter of 10 week old good doo-bees. Tito is so active and not afraid of anything. He is a trip to keep up with and it will keep me on my toes as he grows up I'm sure. Here I will attempt to post a photo.

Yvonne and the Sowagla Whippets

From: PoleStarPB Sent: 27/12/2006 20:18
Diane I bet your "wild child" Zoey loves to show. I have found that the puppies and adolescents who are wild make the best show dogs because they are go getters who love to be in the center of the action no matter where it is.

Saarra loved it a bit too much at times and just couldn't help kissing the judge. Her sire Polar Bear was very much a wild child who grew up to be a very showy dog. Whenever he heard applause he "always" knew it was for him no matter where it came from.

W. Jo and my heart of hearts Saarra

From: GreyFind Sent: 27/12/2006 20:40
Well, "wild" doesn't necessarily translate to a good show dog. Koda is a total nut in the house and completely full of himself, but walk out the door and he leaves all that confidence, piss (LITERALLY) and vinegar behind. One of the many reasons we decided to neuter him and not keep showing him was that he acted like a stunned turtle in the show ring. He wasn't terrified, just showed NO expression, NO liveliness, NO ears - it was like pulling a stuffed toy around the ring.

It's the same thing when we try and take classes for obedience or agility, we spend the entire 60 minutes every week trying to get him to make eye contact or remember his name. "Hello? Koda? Are ya in there?" After the fourth class of the same thing we were holding up everyone so we stood outside where he has less visual distractions and tried just to get a single eye contact. I'd usually get one, by accident, after an hour and praise, praise, praise, but of course he could care less - he won't take food in public and pretends like I don't exist. Now I do any training at home and he learns fairly well, he can sit, down and speak and I make sure he does them several times a day.

I wish I would have neutered him when he first started marking back in September but as they say, hindsight is 20/20. I would say if he shows any signs of starting to pee in the house get it done ASAP. Koda started marking at 15 months old and before that he never had a single accident in the house. Now I'm looking at replacing all the carpet on the main floor of the house.


From: llpoolej Sent: 27/12/2006 20:49
I bet Koda would love lure coursing or racing. Let the wild child tire himself out!

Cinnamon HATES the show ring, but LOVES the lure course. I mean LOVES it. Flip on the end of the lead wants to get going loves it!

From: AtlantisWhippets007 Sent: 27/12/2006 23:41
Love it and with time it will settle some or alot. Mine has left this world and I would give my little finger to have my wild child Phoebe back.. She was 2 1/2 and she was the most fun dog, my soul mate, I like the wild ones, but then that is me. Good luck

From: Spelldog1 Sent: 28/12/2006 00:08
A good whippet , is a tired whippet ;-)
excercise the naughty out of them .

From: GreyFind Sent: 28/12/2006 02:09
I wish Koda liked coursing or racing. So far he's show mild interest. He'll follow the lure until the first turn and that's it. Then he turns around and runs back to me. He hasn't gotten the "crazy for the bunny" thing yet, he'll stand up at the start and just calmly watch all the other dogs going bonkers as the bag whips by. I'm hoping this spring that it'll click in his head that he's supposed to want to chase it.

As far as "a tired dog is a good dog" I wish like heck I could make him tired. It just isn't possible. He can run laps in the back yard with my greyhound until he can barely stand, tongue lolling and sides heaving. It takes him literally 45-60 seconds of down time before he's up chasing the cat again. Right now he's in his crate with a Kong filled with peanut butter because he just smashed the cat so badly I could hear all the air escaping from him in a single "OOF" as Koda pounced on his rib cage. When he got his breath back he yowled so loud, poor guy, the cat takes most of the abuse Koda deals out.

I'm going to start crating him more when he gets really wound up because the cat is really getting beat to heck. Last week Koda chased him downstairs and climbed to the top of a 6 ft cat tree to grab him by the back leg and pull him to the floor. 22 weeks and counting til he hits 2 yrs old...


From: TruGirllDiane Sent: 28/12/2006 02:39
Bonnie is my wild child. Keeping her still can be a challenge. Unlike some of the other pups discussed in this thread, Now 2, Bonnie is a joy in the house behavior wise, she is just active and busy, not destructive. She is jogged daily and I find agility to be just up her alley. She has TONS of drive, and agility keeps her mentally challenged. She has GREAT attitude in the show ring, but it has been a challenge to keep her still long enough to stack, as she gets bored with the entire stand around and wait aspect of showing. But get her moving and the attitude pops out.....

Diane and Bonnie

From: ZoeyWhippet Sent: 28/12/2006 03:47
You're right, not all wild child dogs are good show dogs. They have to be wild everywhere, just not at home, and Zoey was that kind of girl. She never met a stranger, and dared the judges to look at anyone but her. She gave her all, all the time in the ring, but you need to know how to channel that wild brattiness into a dog that wants to do what and when you want them to do it.

At just a mere 8 months old, he is just a gangly teenage pup, and has those boy hormones, but lure coursing or racing or agility would work wonders.

Good luck,

From: 7777LisaJ Sent: 28/12/2006 14:22
Those wild ones make the BEST dogs as grown ups!!!
You just have to hang in there and close your eyes of all the damage they do/make.....
Keep that dog busy, and bring him with you to do and SEE as much as you possibly can, they do get tired of all new experiances.
But I have bitches and they don't mark around the house after they have been puppy housebroken, that must be a real test of nerves!!

(And don't believe Patience, I can't imagine that Sweet William does anything but sleep all day, Quincy on the other hand, Yikes!!!!!)))))

Good luck!
Lisa J.

From: AerynnScarlett Sent: 28/12/2006 16:54
Scarlett is our wild child and although she is not destructive, she is very very busy and tough to wear out. She is also frighteningly smart and therefore easily bored and creative about finding stuff to get into. We found our lives got much easier when we adopted Rose, who became her 2 year old "big sister." Getting a young, but older than 2, to act as playmate and babysitter helped us a lot. Because both of ours are girls, there was no "neuter or not" option. Spaying Scarlett didn't make a bit of difference (although she wasn't herself when she was in heat and I am glad we won't have to go through another one).


From: Greypaws1 Sent: 31/12/2006 01:35
I've been reading all your wild child postings & have to chuckle, sorry Mama's of said children. We've had adult retired racing Greyhounds since '97, the last of our seniors passed this spring. We added a senior Whippet almost 2 yrs ago, she basically has the temperment of senior Greyhound, the fit into our home & hearts was perfect. Along comes sweet Ella a few months ago, she turned 2 in Oct. A few times DH & I have looked at each other & said 'what were we thinking, bring such a young pup into our house?' She is a ball of energy with an adorable happy go lucky personality. We do our best to keep her busy & tired out but some days, the humans just don't quite get the job done. After reading all your stories, Miss Ella is perfect, wild child doesn't fit her at all, as I thought it did. Never once has she destroyed anything, only 1 accident in the 4 mos. we've had her. She is first in line for attention & her nose get's around the corner if you are paying attention to anyone but her. We've worked with her & she now knows that she has to wait her turn. My only real complain is that she insists on jumping on the humans, still working on correcting that. She's good most of the time but forgets when she is wound up. We had her spayed in Sept, I won't have an intact animal, our dogs & cats are all pets.

All in all, I think we are so blessed with our sweetie. I credit her good behavior to her awesome breeder, whom obviously spent countless of hours with her not only giving her love but teaching her manners too.

Helicopter tails
Christel, Cleo & Ella

From: WildAbout_Whippets1 Sent: 31/12/2006 02:15
Everyone has given you great advice, but I would like to add that I have my first "wild child"....

My other whippets have been pretty decent pups. Zeppelin was (and sometimes still is) the Master of Destruction, but I can't call him "wild". Being destructive certainly does not indicate overall activity level... Zin has everyone beat!!!

I take Zinfy to work with me almost every day. She isn't active all day but at least she's awake. If I don't take her to work with me, she's almost nutty! I can hardly catch her when she's zooming around the house. I do walk my dogs 2-4 miles almost daily but sometimes walks aren't enough. All the daycare and dog parks in my area also require all dogs to be altered.... so, we're out of luck there too.

Annie & the "wild child"

From: Houstondog Sent: 31/12/2006 02:47
You have hit the nail on the head, Christel. I think part of our problem was we were used to retired racing greyhounds too. Our two girls were so laid back and so easy. When both girls passed last year we decided to go with a whippet pup...what a shock!

We just love this little guy...he is just so different from the greys. He is so smart and never stops thinking and analyzing...and he is so easily bored. It is just so hard to keep him busy and amused. He doesn't miss a trick and he is so alert.

Daycare has really helped. A couple at work has a littermate and they are leaving for Thailand to be married the end of January. They are boarding him at the daycare and I'm going to take him (Ozzy) on weekends. We are really looking forward to it and if it helps, we are seriously going to consider looking for a second dog - be it an older whippet or another retired greyhound. He definitely needs the stimulation. Who knew that I would pick a gifted whippet!

Thank you to everyone for their posting!! You have all really helped...

Joyce and my wee man Houston!

From: thielwhippets911 Sent: 31/12/2006 04:24
Romeo is my wild child. he just turned 16mos old
and he is still "busy" always looking for something to do. night before last i came home to piles of fluff all over the living room! so while they were all cavorting with glee over my arrival i am looking for the source of the fluff and found a hole romeo had made in the arm of my recliner chair!!! BAAAD boy!! looks like he tried the corner of the love seat first as there were some new chew marks there as well. he even removed a strip of wood from the arm of the chair too.
this too shall pass i always say.
i can't be mad at my boy, soon he will be all grown up and i will miss finding his handiwork and peace will reign once again.
i had just gotten ripley through this, he was at the magical 2yr mark and was all grown up .
so what did i do? got another puppy and to start all over again. i must be crazy
but there are no words to describe how much i love him,
he is my heartdog.
its all just "stuff" anyways and you can always get more "stuff"

but there will be NO MORE PUPPIES for me


From: Spelldog1 Sent: 31/12/2006 13:47
Here is my wild child , 7 month old Whistle . I am blessed with 4 fenced in acres on a big hill . Wendy

From: Chelynnah1 Sent: 31/12/2006 18:28
This is such a GREAT thread with some really good advice and info, so I've archived it under Behaviour


From: PAWhippets Sent: 01/01/2007 04:03
Hey, Joan, no more puppies?...sounds like famous last words

One good thing about our "wild child" is that he made us realize how lucky we had been with the previous two But as Joan said, it's just "stuff" anyway.


From: Kirislin1 Sent: 01/01/2007 20:55
I have 2 wild children, the boys, Tag & Puck, although they look tame compared to their sister Lily. I am lucky to have a reasonable size yard for them to wrestle & run in but I still get a fair few casualties. Toilet paper has been mercilessly shredded a number of times & the yard is always strewn with the guts of stuffy toys. I have bags of it & the squeakers put aside so one day I can either repair them or go into production making more.
I find once they're tired they're wonderful.


From: thalion707 Sent: 09/01/2007 18:51
Thanks for all the suggestions, stories and advice on raising a "wild child!" Best of all this has shown me that it is not MY FAULT that my Sam is a bit "challenging." I am not an ineffective trainer or an overly permissive owner (well, he owns me if truth be told). Sam's personality does shine through and he is a bit like his first mom's Zoey--he has truly never met a stranger and wants to get to know everyone. Plus, he has a loud mouth and barks far more than I ever imagined a whippet could (or would) bark. All this being said--I wouldn't trade him for the world!


From: zeldamaewhip Sent: 09/01/2007 19:22
NO! Neutering did not calm my James down! Mental and physical exercise is a tremendous help though! Bike riding is a fun way to get a good long run in. Houston sounds a lot like James, he'll be 2yrs next month and he is almost as mischeivious as when he was a pup!
Jill~ James and Zelda
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