Whippet Recall Training: Full Guide

This whippet recall training guide will teach you how to train your whippet to come back every time he’s called, even if off-leash.

Whippets are a great breed to have as a pet because they’re smart, affectionate, and healthy. However, many whippets walk out the front door when it’s opened without being on a leash.

That can be dangerous for them and other people. This whippet recall training guide will help you train your whippet so that he comes back every time you call him, whether or not he is on a leash.

Why Recall Training Is Crucial For Whippets

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll be well aware that whippets have been used as racing and working dogs for centuries.

This is because they have a strong prey drive which means they’ll chase animals that run away from them such as rabbits, rats, and other small critters.

If you’re walking your whippet out in the fields and it spots a rabbit, the chances of it bolting after the rabbit and ignoring your every command is very high, which can be incredibly dangerous for your pet.

They could run straight into a road, another dog, or a person. This is why it’s crucial to ensure you have full control of your whippet whilst out on a walk, more so than other breeds.

Recall training is vital for whippets for this very reason.

Whippets are a sighthound dog breed and recall training will be used as a means to teach them to come when called, especially if there’s something they really want off in the distance such as another dog or a cat!

Recall training whippets is more difficult than some other breeds because of their prey drive, but don’t let that put you off!

Recall training is an ongoing process throughout their life, and it usually gets better over time.

Recall Training Your Whippet

This whippet recall training guide assumes your whippet is already leash trained and will come when called off-leash with the usual methods.

Distance is always a factor in recall training, so work in open spaces to begin with.

You can gradually build up to other types of terrain and further distances as your whippet grows more confident.

Whippet recall training involves lots of quick ‘n’ exciting games to really motivate them to come back to you.

There are two types of whippet recall training games. One is a ‘call & treat’ type game where you whippet comes back and gets a food reward, then they go out again.

The other whippet recall training game is the whippet ‘fetch’ type of whippet recall training; your whippet runs to you for a toy reward instead rather than a treat.

The game you choose will depend on your whippet’s interests – do they love food more or playing?

Both whippet recall training games are very effective when done properly.

You must ensure that recall training is always associated with an exciting game, never punishment, yelling, or force.

When To Start Recall Training

Recall training your whippet should be done after they’ve completed basic training. This is typically at the age of around 6 – 12 months.

Regular recall training should be done all through your whippet’s life, but only if they are still interested in playing the game with you!

Your whippet may stop wanting to run back to you after age 1 or 2. As whippets age, their interest decreases – it’s natural.

Don’t start the recall training process any earlier than the above age as you don’t want to discourage them before they are ready.

How To Recall Train Your Whippet

Game 1: Call & Treat

As part of basic training, your pet should now be confident with commands such as “sit” and “stay”.

To start off recall training your whippet, give them the command to sit and stay and move around 10 meters away from them.

Give a command such as “heel” and point towards your feet. When your whippet arrives at your feet give them a treat and lots of praise.

Repeating this process is how to effectively recall train your whippet, and over time simply increase the distance.

After some practice, your command will start to stick with your whippet and they’ll know that when you say “heel”, you are expecting them to run to your feet, and if they are lucky they may even receive a treat.

Game 2: Fetch

The fetch recall training game is very similar to the previous game we played called.

To begin, recall training requires an item such as a tennis ball and having your whippet in a stay position.

Throw the ball 10 feet away from your whippet and say “fetch”, then point towards the ball. When your whippet gets the ball, call them back to your feet.

This can be repeated until they become much better at recall.

Game 3: Name Recognition

Recall training will become much easier if your whippet knows his/her name.

If whippets are not familiar with their names, they cannot associate your recall command with themselves.

In the beginning, whippet recall training will be best if whippets are in a sit position. Say your whippet’s name once and then follow with “come” in an excited tone of voice.

Call your whippet back to your feet after each time they come. This game can be repeated until whippets know their name confidently and will follow you on command.

These three games should help you cement the command into your whippet that when you call them, you are ready for activity.

The whippet recall training games mentioned above should be practiced in an enclosed area at first until they understand that returning to your feet is associated with praise and a reward.

Once your whippet has grasped the concept that returning to your feet means they get to stay active with you, then you can move to practicing recall training in an open area.

As a whole, these games are all you need to start recall training your whippet. They are simple, effective, and capable of training your whippet to come on your command.

Overcomplicating training only confuses your dog and makes the process harder for you both, keep training simple and concise.

Keep In Mind

Timing is everything when recall training your whippet as these dogs have a very short attention span.

Often whippets will not sit for more than three seconds once you have called them to come back, so it is important that whippet recall training is done in small sessions of time and with a lot of enthusiasm.

Recall training your whippet to a high level will take time, patience, and dedication from both you and your dog. But most whippets are very intelligent and whippet recall training is absolutely achievable in most cases with the right technique.

Recall training is just like when you first started to train your whippet, only this time without a lead.

When practicing recall training in an open area ensure that there are no distractions for your dog so that they can concentrate and stay focused.

Remember, your whippet will learn much faster if you are not harsh or overbearing in your whippet recall training methods.

Your whippet must understand that you are its best friend and it wants to please you.

Building A Bond Is Important

When you’re training your whippet for recall, remember that you’re also building and strengthening the bond between you and your pet.

Every second you’re spending with your whippet you’re helping build that bond, but remember, it’s a team-building exercise and not something you want them to dislike.

If they start to resent the training process then you’ll have a much tougher time getting them to listen to your commands.

Training has to be fun, engaging, and done in short bursts to keep their attention.

How Long Does Recall Training Take?

As mentioned above, the recall training process should be continuous and improved upon over the course of your whippet’s life. It’s not a process you want to rush.

However, whippets are the type of breed that learns new things very quickly and will pick up on recall training much faster than other breeds.

You can expect them to start picking up recall training after around 6 – 12 weeks of training, but they will by no means be listening to your every command and the perfectly trained dog at this stage.

You’ll need to keep working on their recall to keep the commands sharp and effective over time.

How Long Should Training Sessions Be?

Whippets are very sensitive to training sessions that involve punishment, so this must be avoided at all costs.

This means you will not want longer than 30 minutes training sessions.

Start out by coming up with a trigger word for whippet recall training, such as “come” or “here.” Whatever you choose, it should be something that is not already used every day in passing.

Final Thoughts

A whippet is like any other dog. Training whippets requires lots of patience and consistency, whippet recall training does not happen overnight.

The best way to teach whippets new tricks or commands is by having fun with them, that of course means more treats for whippets!

Hopefully, this post has helped you understand how to recall train your whippet and you now have some clear actions to take to do so.

Consistency and patience is the key to successfully recall training your whippet, so stick with it and your pooch will be listening to your every word in no time.

Other Considerations