Some ideas on training the whippet in obedience skills

Karen Down - Obedience Whippets

Dear fellow whippet lovers

I feel blessed that my first whippet, blue boy Sunny passed his Gold Good Citizen test 25.9.13 and my young fawn Tom passed his Gold 27.10,16.

For some owners, training whippets for obedience might seem an unusual occupation but this is my background in dogs having competed in the 1970,s and 80’s with my 2 collies and GSD and achieving ‘test C only’ with one and Novice and test A with the other two.

After my sons were born, I couldn’t make the training and showing commitment.

After a 10 year break form owning a dog I purchased Sunny (my first whippet) and tentatively started showing, buying him initially as a pet dog. He was a skinny little boy as a youngster and his front action isn’t the best but we were often placed. However, it was obvious that we were not going to go far. So, WHAT TO DO?

I started teaching him obedience which was SO different from my experience with my collies!!!! Everything took so long as I has to persuade him that it was fun to do these crazy things. Slowly we adjusted to each others needs and he finally passed his Gold.

Sunny is a special boy because emboldened with our recent success, we then moved on to agility training but he had to conquer his nervousness with the equipment; especially the see saw. He then began to love the work, feeling so proud going along the dog walk and A frame and dashing through the tunnels and then competed in his first show until disaster struck during the Summer of 2015 with a groin muscle injury so we had to retire after all our effort and so much fun.

I bought my fawn Palmik pup Tom in 2014 and started his obedience training and he too passed his Gold last month. He is more outgoing that Sunny and has a dream temperament but again needed a lot of time before he regarded his work as fun !

Both my boys were also selected to join the Whippet Obreedience team last Spring. I was very proud of them both but very sadly, I pulled out because of Sunny’s injury.

Whippet Obedience training

I would like to submit what I have learned from training my whippets. Some ‘tongue in cheek’ comments but also lashings of truth that some of you, I am sure, will recognise!!!!!

‘Some ideas on training the whippet in obedience skills’

This is what I have learned:

Trainer must remember that the window of opportunity is very small. Do not attempt training when the dog is relaxing. As I say….very small!!!!

Be prepared for that window. Have everything ready. Glass of wine….to steady the nerves. Treats and toys.

Be prepared to cease training if the eye and expression express boredom……..usually after 10 minutes!

Feel the pride and show the love when you have taught your whippet to sit. YOU ARE NOW WORKING AS A TEAM.

Make your whippet feel that he is the most wonderful canine ever to have been created.

NEVER compare your rate of progress with any other breed except another sight hound…..of which there are none in my experience !

Remain aloof when a fellow trainer with a collie or doodle type says that they have taught the send away in half an hour…..when you have already clocked up 20 hours. Think to yourself: TRY DOING IT WITH A WHIPPET and smile sweetly.

Remember that when the training and working partnership start to grow, you will feel the wonderful rosy, tingly glow of success and realise for this to happen your whippet is loving his work.

Best wishes

Karen Down

Karen Down - Obedience Whippet 2

1 thought on “Some ideas on training the whippet in obedience skills”

  1. Dear Mrs Down,
    Thanks for a very interesting article. We have 2 whippets, Stanley, who’s 5 and Jezabel who is just 6 months. Do I understand from your article that whippets are known to be slow to respond to training?
    I’ve had dogs all my life and although Stanley is now reliably obedient it took me nearly 3 years to be confident in him, especially near the road and deer – even now I put him on the lead. I was surprised at how long it took and how persistent I had to be.
    Jezabel is shaping up reasonably well (she sits, waits and recall is good though pulls on the lead and retrieving is hit and miss) but I don’t want to diminish her lovely wild enthusiasm so we’re taking it slowly. They seem to really enjoy the stimulation and are interested. I think they grow in confidence from the attention and praise.
    Any advice or suggestions you could pass on would be greatly appreciated.
    With best wishes,
    Emma Neate


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