Muzzle for Whippet

(25 Posts)
Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 08:19:26

My 11 month old Whippet is the loveliest dog. However, he is nippy with other dogs when off the lead. He is coursing them which is apparently what Whippets do - he nips them to make them run so he can chase them (all part of the game apparently).
He does not do it with all dogs just with dogs he thinks will run. Old dogs or very small dogs he doesn’t bother with.
He is not in any way agrressive and has never hurt a dog or human. It’s more that he won’t leave them alone.
The dog trainer has suggested a muzzle as a temporary measure to stop him nipping other dogs when off the lead. She thinks it will eventually break the association between nipping and chasing (the reward in this situation).
It makes sense to me so it’s an avenue I want to explore. He’s an amazing dog in all other respects. Recalls to a whistle pretty well for a sighthound unless majorly distracted trying to nip/chase other dogs and can be relied upon not to jump up at people etc.
He’s just been neutered. Any thoughts? Any other Whippet owners out there who have had similar? How long should we use it? We would prob only use it off lead when other dogs are about..

OP’s posts: |
Wellthatsit Sat 10-Nov-18 08:36:25

My first whippet used to do this. He got short shrift a couple of times from other dogs (both times they bit him causing injury) which meant he learned not to do it. It was quite sad as he was just being playful but he was a big strong, in your face whippet, and he had no social skills as he'd been in a breeders kennels til he was 1years old. I think he annoyed other dogs.
I am on my second whippet who is a different personality (is actually aggressive and fearful so nips as a warning to other dogs). He only occasionally tries to play 'whippet style' (too busy trying to be in charge) but when he does, he gets little response from other dogs. I have come to the conclusion that whippets are best off with other whippets. Other breeds just don't understand what they want.

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 08:42:55

I totally agree. We meet a few other Whippets and seeing them together is amazing. I might try the muzzle temporarily when he is playing with other non Whippet dogs though.

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Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 08:49:24

I would urge you to think about the effect this is having on other dogs and the knock on effect on their owners.

My formally tolerant friendly dog is now dog reactive and it was behaviour like this from a whippet that triggered it.

Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 08:51:24

Also, the muzzle will do fuck all.

A muzzle doesn’t stop the intense, focus chase which is a massive part of what terrifies other dogs.

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 08:59:43

I am thinking about other dogs which is exactly why as a responsible owner I have asked a dog trainers opinion. She feels that a muzzle will mean that he can only nudge other dogs who won’t then run thus rewarding the behaviour.
What was your point exactly? That I should keep him on a lead for ever? He is young and I am hoping that with careful management we will get past this...

OP’s posts: |
Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 09:06:36

My point is you should keep him on a lead around other dogs until he learns not to chase and nip them.
Such behaviour is massively intimidating and really scary for other dogs.

It is not good enough relying on a muzzle, he can still charge and chase and jump on other dogs and it is very possible for him to hurt other dogs wearing a muzzle if he punches them hard enough.

Also, from another perspective, sooner or later it is quite likely he will nip and/or chase the wrong dog and he may be severely injured as a result.


Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 09:08:08

But he’s not going to learn not to nip and chase them on a lead is he... i’m a bit confused

OP’s posts: |
AvocadosBeforeMortgages Sat 10-Nov-18 09:12:12

Do be aware that the muzzle touching a dog in chase can still be scary. I once had a muzzled greyhound chasing my little dog and every time the muzzle touched my dog's back he yelped. It can't have hurt him, so I can only assume he thought the hard muzzle was teeth and was yelping in fear.

Naturally the greyhound's owner was nowhere to be seen 🙄

Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 09:15:20

Equally, he isn’t going to learn not to chase and nip off lead is he?

If he is on a lead you will see and feel when he is about lunge forward, interrupt and move him away at this point?
So he learns chase and/or nip isn’t an option anymore?

How else are you going to stop it?

At the end of the day, his behaviour is obviously threatening to other dogs, if it wasn’t they wouldn’t be running when nipped.
Put a muzzle on and I suspect they will either continue to run (because he is still threatening them) or they will opt to disclipline him instead, which could result in a nasty injury.

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 09:22:19

The irony is that when I have recalled him from such situations and put him on a lead (and his recall is pretty good as I have mentioned..) it’s the other dogs who have not been put back on a lead who come back for “more” playing so it’s clearly not that threatening to them.

OP’s posts: |
Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 09:31:14

Okay, I am just going to tell you what you want to hear.
It is not true but it is clear to me that you are the sort of the owner who sees no real wrong and isn’t willing to listen to others.

Put the muzzle on so you can feel responsible.

It will make no difference to his behaviour and may result in him getting injured.
But it will make you feel responsible and like you are a good owner.

My dog nipped a dog once that approached her rear end, that dog still wanted to be friends and tried to approach her again.
She has snarled and air snapped at countless dogs, mostly youngsters offleads that don’t take no as an answer (rather like your dog!) and persist in trying to interact with her.
Shall I take this to mean that other dogs like to be growled and snapped at and nipped?
I mean, they came back for more right?!

Leaving the conversation now before I say something really naughty and banned, your refusal to see your dogs behaviour for what it is is just infuriating.

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 10:09:06

Oh dear...
“it is clear to me that you are the sort of the owner who sees no real wrong and isn’t willing to listen to others”
Okaaay. So paying for a behaviourist to come possibly suggests I think there is a problem, listening to the advice (to muzzle) and posting in a forum asking particularly for Whippet owners experiences suggests I am willing to listen to the advice.
Whippets are a pretty unique breed (as are all dog breed) and your posts suggest you have a particular problem with Whippets and no experience owning or breeding them. I’m very sorry your dog had a negative experience with one. They are all very different as are all dogs.
I have never had a another dog owner complain about his behaviour. However, I fully recognise the potential for him to overstep the mark and for him/other dog to be injured which is exactly why i’m here.
Please don’t direct your Whippet hating wrath at a stranger on the internet who is asking for advice. Direct it at those who don’t ask in the first place.
He is on a lead for a lot of his walks anyway and I am working on recall, and chase game playing using lure/ball on walks with high value treats that will satisfy his desire to play and keep him and other dogs safe.
There are fortunately many places here where I can walk and not meet another dog but that’s not the point. He’s 11 months old and it is my job as an owner to turn him into the best dog he can be.
Thank you for your compassion and understanding...confused
Isn’t mumsnet great grin

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 10-Nov-18 11:34:11

The responsible thing is to muzzle a dog in public if there is a chance that it will nip or bite another dog. That is why you often see owners with greyhounds muzzle theirs in case their dog sees smaller dogs as furry things to bite. As your dog is already known to nip then it should be muzzled at all times off lead.

Wellthatsit Sat 10-Nov-18 11:44:00

Snappy, your responses are aggressive and unhelpful. You have generalised about all whippets based on one experience with your dog (whonuou admit can exhibit aggressive behaviour when put under pressure herself).
There is a reason whippets dont have a reputation as dangerous - because they aren't dangerous. Even my reactive fear aggressive whippet has never once sunk his teeth I to another dogs despite numerous altercations (and before you judge me mcsnappy, these can happen even when I am being as responsible as it's possible to be but other owners have left their dogs to roam free).
Monstrous, the way I deal with my whippet is to keep him on the lead until I know there are no other dogs around. He loves to chase a ball so will get him running with that. If another dog appears and is off the lead, I will recall mine and put him on the lead. If I can get the attention of the owner I will shout over that my dog isn't friendly. Then it's up to them. They will either recall their dog, or say, 'no worries my dog can look after itself/needs to learn manners etc' and let it take it's chances. Some owners are fearful and pick their dog up (stupid reaction if you ask me, but that's their business). If they do nothing and their dog approaches, I don't feel bad when my dog growls or bares his teeth or nips. He is on a lead, I pull him away, what more can I do? It's not fun for my dog as he is scared but, that's life. Some owners will have a chat and I can explain my dog's behaviour and they will say it's fine to let the dogs off the lead and sort themselves out.
I feel that most dogs tend to establish the hierarchy pretty fast and figure it out between themselves without the owners, and it's only pressure from other owners that make us have to intervene and probably make things worse. Dogs can usually differentiate playful behaviour from aggressive behaviour, and I don't think they are as scared as some owners would like to believe, although some are just naturally very submissive or aggressive, in the same way people are, regardless of breed.
There are some overly precious owners around, not dissimilar to overly precious parents. There is no way a muzzle itself will cause another dog injury. They might not like the feeling of it touching them but that's probably just purely the touch and not the muzzle itself.
The greyhound is different as greyhounds are often highly trained to chase and then catch the prey, so I wouldn't let a greyhound off the lead near other dogs unless I was sure it wasn't a big chaser.
I hope you can continue to enjoy your whippet. They are such fun dogs, but can be anxious. I think a muzzle is unnecessary, as you are obviously thoughtful and responsible. Just don't expect all dog owners to be as reasonable as you (grow a thick skin).

Wellthatsit Sat 10-Nov-18 11:49:19

I also think it's important to differentiate between nipping and biting. If a dog is a biter, a muzzle is appropriate, but nipping is either a warning sign, or is playful. It's OTT to muzzle, unless maybe you know you will be in an enclosed space (say school playground or spectating an outdoor event) and you want to signal to other dog owners not to let their dog approaches.

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 12:05:39

Thanks for the much more helpful responses. I’m going to (as far as possible) keep him on lead around other dogs. If he is to be off lead round other dogs (on occasion he is with dog walker etc) use a muzzle.
It is def playful and not aggressive but obviously other dogs/owners won’t realise this.
He’s still only 11 months and part of the problem is that he’s a puppy playing in a fully grown adults body. I’m hoping it calms a bit with age.

OP’s posts: |
BiteyShark Sat 10-Nov-18 12:11:06

That sounds a sensible approach OP. The problem at 11 months is they tend to still be pushing boundaries as well.

bluetongue Sat 10-Nov-18 12:57:41

No suggestions apart from continuing to train good recall but just wanted to say my young whippet is very similar with his play style.

I did loads of research and thought a whippet would be a good choice for a first time owner like me but it turns out some of them, like ours, can be pretty high maintainence!

Monstrous Sat 10-Nov-18 13:28:00

They’re a lovely breed and he’s fabulous with children, never barks, very cuddly of an evening. No dog is perfect but I want a dog that will be the best possible version of themselves. I’m willing to put the time and effort it.
Bitey - you are spot on about the boundaries. He’s pushing continually and that was another reason getting the trainer back in was a good plan. We learnt a lot at puppy classes but they were quite a while ago and I think this is a good time to reinforce previous training.

OP’s posts: |
Snappymcsnappy Sat 10-Nov-18 13:53:45

Taken some time to calm down and will try to communicate my thoughts more peacefully..

First of all, I do not dislike any breed.
I don’t dislike whippets.
What I was trying to say is that the typical whippet play style is perceived as very threatening to most dogs, even if no threatening intent is there.
Whippet play typically involves a lot of high intensity chase, nipping, body slamming.
Most non sighthound dogs will not recognise that as play.

Because that behaviour is perceived as threatening I do not think owners should be allowing their dogs to exhibit it.
If that means not letting them interact with other dogs of different breeds then so be it.

I don’t think a muzzle is the answer because it doesn’t stop the other attributes that dogs find threatening and because a muzzle absolutely can hurt.
In fact, muzzled dogs can actually break other dogs ribcages by ‘muzzle punching’ them.

On the day of my dog’s incident it was abundantly clear the owner saw no issue because it was ‘play’ and the posts the OP has made have a very similar vibe to me, and that is both deeply upsetting and makes me really angry because my dog is now incredibly anxious and troubled.
The owner probably has no idea just how deeply her failure to call her dog back has traumatised my dog.

So I would urge you, please, to recognise that while your dog is friendly and has no malicious intent, it’s behaviour is unacceptable and it is really scary for other dogs and it could cause far more damage than you realise and just slapping a muzzle on doesn’t fix the problem.

Wellthatsit Sat 10-Nov-18 18:09:20

Snappy, it sounds as if your dog encountered a very boisterous whippet. Most whippets I know would only indulge in that level of high intensity chasing if the other dog actually responded in kind. When attempts to play aren't reciprocated, many whippets will give up pretty quickly, and I have never seen body slamming as you call it. I think you have been very unlucky, but you are also now assuming that this sort of incident is common. I know lots of whippets and can only think of one who has been a bit over the top, but only when another dog joined in. They are cheeky, yes, but in 12 years of whippet ownership I haven't had the impression that they are intimidating and fear inducing. Much more likely to see another dog bullying a whippet in my experience.
OP, I think your lad will do fine. I don't think you should feel overly worried if you have good recall and you scope out where you're going to let him off the lead, auzzle won't be necessary, and may just upset him. I wouldn't use one.

tabulahrasa Sat 10-Nov-18 19:19:55

The thing is, I can’t really see how a muzzle will do anything... he’ll still try to nip, getting whacked by a muzzle hurts, so he’ll get exactly the same reaction as he would if he’d used his teeth...

PippaRabbit Sat 10-Nov-18 22:01:01

Keep your dog on a lead. Even muzzled your dog may still attempt to initiate a chase which isn't fair on other dogs. A whippet ran on to my yard last year and nipped one of my labs, what it didn't bargain for was the other 2 labs piling in, the end result wasn't pretty due to the owner not having controlled her dog. I really don't like sighthounds nor owners who think a muzzle will solve all of their dogs issues. It's unfair to expect other trained dogs to put up with your dog "nudging" them with a muzzle on. I agree with snappy.

Floralnomad Sun 11-Nov-18 01:10:57

The point is OP that your dog needs to learn that he should not be touching other dogs at all to make them run , if he runs and another dog joins in then that’s great but it shouldn’t be initiated by him nudging , nipping or touching in any way and I say this out of concern for your dog because eventually he will pick the wrong dog and they will bite him ,

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