How To Train A Whippet To Race

Whippets are famous for their unequalled speed in the dog’s world; they can run at speeds of up to 35mph which is simply breathtaking to witness.

Their determination, courage, agility, and speed make them just the right canines for the work they were initially bred for; coursing and racing.

Immediately when your whippet starts walking; he’ll be desperate to go outside, and if you don’t train him well, you won’t be able to catch him or get him back on the leash easily.

Whippets’ energy is always impressive and endless, and training them is the only way to ensure their physical and mental soundness.

If you have a whippet for a house pet, you might be wondering why you should train your whippet to race. Well, these dogs are known to be excellent racing dogs, and it’s great to watch and witness your whippet win dog races.

This article broadly explains how to train a whippet to race, merits, plus other essential information about whippet racing and coursing.

How To Identify A Good Racing Whippet

Naturally, whippets were created to race, but not all whippets are the best dogs for racing. Some can be slower and more reserved than others. Some whippets are bred for the show, while others are tamed to be the best working dogs.

Working whippets are an excellent choice for racing, gaming, hunting, and other outdoor activities. They are usually more composed and quieter during tasks and training.

Show whippets are the best apartment companions and tend to lose interest and whine a lot during practice.

However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t train your whippet to be a racing dog. If you start early, he’ll learn by the time he is fully grown. Getting a whippet from a breeder that has bred racing whippets is the best option, this way you can guarantee that your pet has racing in his DNA.

Most dog breeders produce both show and working whippets; you should be specific on exactly which one you want to avoid inconveniences.

If your whippet is from a line of racing heroes, he’s more likely to have the same trait too. Therefore, it’s best to ask for your whippet’s parents and bloodline details to see if they raced too.

Selecting a whippet from a top racing lineage doesn’t warrant that he’ll excel though, but this certainly increases his excelling chances.

The general factors to consider when finding a good racing whippet are; a considerate body distance with a flowing topline, sturdy actual front, overall balance and proportion, unrestricted movement, and upper and second thighs width.

Knowing what to expect with a racing whippet is essential before learning how to train a whippet to race. It’ll help you select the best racing canine without second-guessing or doubting yourself.

You’ll want to go for an animated, bright, highly agile, and respectful dog. Therefore, a good racing whippet should not only be fit but have a show whippet’s prospects too.

Selecting the best racing gender in whippets usually depends on the owners. Most whippet racers prefer male whippets because they can compete all year round.

Female whippets are usually disadvantaged when competing during their heat seasons, where their performance significantly reduces for about two months due to being in heat.

A female unspayed whippet can race well for about 6-9 months (1-2 seasons yearly), but her heat period can come during the active racing months and disadvantaging her competitive seasons.

How To Train A Whippet To Race

Knowing how to train a whippet to race is essential for those wanting to enter competitions and races. It requires proper tactics and considerations to train a whippet to race successfully.

Here is a step by step guide on how to train a whippet to race;

First, you’ll want to find a long pole and attach a bright shopping bag too it, preferably yellow or orange. You can also attach a furry piece to peak your whippet’s interest.

It’s best to have another person with you to help you restrain the dog as you drag the lure around the training ground in an irregular motion.

Immediately your whippet will frenzy, instruct the person helping you to release him to chase after the lure. It would be helpful if you made the exercise fun and interesting without making it too simple.

You can make your dog exercise more by jumping and other acrobatic skills by making the lure fly for him to catch it.

It’s crucial to ensure the training ground is free of sharp objects and other obstacles that can hurt your whippet while in pursuit.

Another training method uses the motivation approach, where you look for a motivator for your whippet, such as a toy or treat.

For the first several days, you’ll spend more time with him playing with the toy in the house before heading out. If he gets wholly attached to the toy, you can use it outside as a lure.

Most dogs are clingy to their belongings; using something he loves more makes it easier to lure him for a race. This method also requires a helper.

Next, hold your whippet by its collar to prevent him from running, then ask your helper to start running while holding and waving his best toy and shouting.

how to train a whippet to race
Image: John Goucher

After your friend runs for about 20 seconds, release your whippet to follow as you also encourage him to run after your helper.

Holding him for a while before releasing makes your whippet more eager and ready to run, hence sprinting at their best power and ability.

Your helper should stop running immediately your whippet gets to him/her and grabs the toy. Don’t forget to praise and offer him a treat to make him more eager for the next lesson.

Train him more regularly during the week as you gradually increase the running distance to increase his strength and stamina.

After he learns to race at home, you can start to take him to a track to run with other canines. During the training, stay nearby for him to relax and focus.

Events Whippets Can Participate In

Theirs is nothing more thrilling and breath-taking like the sight of your dog leading a race; it’ll make you want to love and train him more.

If you’re thinking of why and how to train your whippet to race, you should check such competitions; they’re motivating enough.

Today, there are various exciting events that sighthounds can participate in and win prizes and competitions. Statistically, about 150,000 greyhounds ageing 1-4 years old compete globally, America leading on the list. Some of these competitions include;

  1. Lure coursing
  2. Agility
  3. Barn hunt
  4. Dock diving

Importance Of Diet And Exercise For Racing Whippets

Knowing how to train a whippet to race isn’t the only important factor for a proper racing whippet. Proper exercise and diet are critical for a racing whippet.

They need training for an enduring and robust body, while a balanced diet is essential to build their highly energetic and athletic bodies. Dog foods can be commercial or home food.

Sometimes, regular walks, free plays, and further exercises are detrimental for a racing dog to develop his body muscles, coordination, and tone.

Commercial foods are mostly more suitable and come with an appropriate proportion on the quantity your whippet needs depending on age and activity. Raw food, commonly known as BARF, is also ideal for racing dogs but has some drawbacks.

Some of the benefits of raw foods include; makes the dog have shinier coats, healthier skin, more energy levels, smaller stools, and cleaner teeth.

Some of the drawbacks are; you risk putting your dog on an unbalanced diet, bacteria in raw meat can be a danger to you and your dog, and the bones can break your dog’s teeth or choke him.

Since the drawbacks can be avoided, including raw food in your whippet’s meal plan isn’t a bad idea, so long as you maintain higher hygiene.

Water is another crucial nutrient most dog owners forget to give their dogs frequently. Whippets need more water to cool their bodies during races and exercises.

Avoid giving your dog more water cause it may risk him bloating. It’s best if you provide him with water in small amounts more often.

Generally, the best diet for a racing dog should comprise more cards and low fat to allow food to convert into energy more efficiently.

If you intend your dog to run for longer hours, he might need foods with slightly higher fats. However, you’ll need to be keener with the portions you give your dog to avoid more weight gain.

Some Of The Do’s And Dont’s While Feeding A Racing Whippet

  1. Feed your dog at the same intervals daily to create a good eating habit
  2. Use clean bowels every time you feed him
  3. Don’t feed your dog cold meat that you’ve removed straight from a freezer; it might affect his teeth
  4. check your dog’s poo regularly; you can detect more health data from them
  5. Don’t leave uneaten food in the feeding bowls for your dog to chew later. He’ll develop a bad eating habit
  6. Don’t give your dog less or more of his propriety supplements such as electrolytes and minerals
  7. Avoid changing your dog’s diet if the current one is working well with him unless it’s necessary
  8. Don’t feed your dog for 8 hour leading up to a race or immediately after an activity

Final Thoughts

Understanding how to race a whippet to race, the most suitable food, and exercise for an excellent racing whippet can be daunting, especially for starters.

However, with a few essential tips and training techniques, training your whippet to race won’t be a hassle.

Just remember to feed your whippet right, ensure he’s in proper physical health, and select your whippet well from reputable breeders. Since dogs get bored quickly, make the training brief, engaging and fun.

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