Racing events are a very exciting event and a lot of fun for both Whippets and their owners to get involved in. Thanks to their history as hunters of small, furry animals, Whippets will take a lot of pleasure from chasing a lure over a field or a race track. That being said, they will still need proper training in order to learn to chase the lure and not play with other dogs on the track. In this article, we'll take a look at some tips for training a racing Whippet.
Preparing a Whippet for a life of chasing lures can begin when the dog is just a puppy. Using a cloth or furry toy attached to a string, pull the object in front of the dog and encourage it to chase it. In the beginning, never let the lures get very far away from the dog and allow it to catch it and play with it often, always praising the dog. At this stage, the important concepts are always praise the dog when it does well and never play so long that the dog becomes tired or bored. The idea is to make sure the dog always wants more.
The next step is to drag an object around you in a circle and allow the dog to chase the lure and catch it. Some objects recommend a sock with a knot in it (dogs can easily learn that socks with a knot are for playing and those without a knot should be left alone) or the same cloth or furry toy. Again, always praise and leave the dog wanting more, as it won't wish to play next time if he becomes bored or overtired. At this stage you can start training the dog to give up the lure with a command such as "give" or "leave it," so the game can continue.
Once the puppy is a few months old and ready for play sessions outside, the next step is to make the field a little longer by attaching the lure to the end of a fishing line or a long cord or string. You can let the dog chase the lure in a wider circle around you, always letting the dog catch the lure and play with it from time to time. As always, don't play so much that the dog becomes overtired and be sure to always praise the dog.
Once you feel comfortable that the dog is enjoying his new game and you wish to continue training on a track or field with a lure machine, this is the time to contact a local racing club to get involved with training with other dogs and on a regular track. Experts and other handlers can give tips on helping dogs get adjusted to the starting boxes and muzzles that are required in straight racing, as well as helping dogs get used to the turns the lure can take in field training.