Celebrate the Whippet Breed

Preparation for Running Events

Starting a Young Pup

Kim Otero, Wheatland Whippets

Things you can do at home: Tie a sock or stuffed toy and crinkly white plastic bag to a sturdy string on a broomstick, or the end of a buggy whip. Tease your pup by dragging this erratically along the ground. Encourage him to chase it excitedly, and let him "win" and catch it, and win the tug-of-war if he is so inclined. Keep these sessions very brief, just 2 or 3 minutes per session, no more than 2 or 3 times a week.

Always quit while he is at the peak of excitement to chase. Never run the pup until he is tired or quits. Taunt and tease him as you put the lure away. Never command your pup to "drop it" or sit, stay, etc., during these lure sessions. His only interest should be the lure and your commands will distract him (I know, kind of like the opposite of obedience!). Also, do this exercise one dog at a time. Keep your other dog(s) crated or otherwise safely away so as not to distract. Do not praise him loudly as to make him look away from the lure at you. Let the lure be the reward. Smile, gently praise or caress him if that will make him wag his tail but not look away from the lure. If they latch on to the lure and won't let go when the session is ended (or you want to spin the lure around again) after having a little tug-of-war, casually pick up the pup and gently pull the lure from his mouth.

When the pup latches on and will NOT let go (this is good!) your pup is sufficiently keen enough to graduate to adult running, perhaps with a muzzle.

Our club here in Orange County (Southern California Whippet Assn, SCWA) holds practice races and official races about once a month at Irvine park in Orange, CA. Similar clubs exist in many parts of the country. This is how your whippet gets prepared to enter NAWRA, NOTRA, or WRA meets.

Any age whippet is welcome to come to practice and we encourage owners who are interested in racing or coursing to get their pup out to socialize and introduced to the lure as young as 3 mos. It's great fun and socialization for whippets young and old, even good exercise for the humans! Young dogs are carefully and slowly introduced to racing, as they get older and more experienced they are allowed to run longer and harder.

These practices are 200 yard straight sprints, as in NAWRA, WRA or LGRA racing (of course puppies or new dogs don't run this far) and may practice up to three runs; in official meets whippets run 4 times. It takes several days of race practice as an adult to be qualified to enter an official meet. Start box and muzzle training, then running with other whippets, would be the final steps. Your whippet must be officially qualified by a NAWRA, NOTRA, or WRA Race secretary before entering an official meet.

Coursing: SCWA holds one ASFA lure trial per year, at Thanksgiving time. There are a few other clubs that run all breed AKC or ASFA trials in the area. The coursing season runs from about the end of October to April. Race practice would be the way to prepare your hound for coursing.

Kim Otero

Wheatland Whippets