I often wish there were more whippets playing agility. Why, you ask? It’s quite selfish, you see. 🙂 I like to watch them do a great job on equipment. The more whippets train in agility, the more great whippets we’ll see in competition and the more we will understand about the best way of training this wonderful breed.
Today’s post is a continuation of Training Your Whippet In Agility. Enjoy 🙂
Anna has two whippets that she plays agility with, Tea and Vita. Tea is competing in A2 and was Swedish agility whippet of 2012. She is one of the few whippets who have a real running dog walk performance, taught using Silvia Trkman’s method. Vita is still young and in training.
- Play: Build and control your tool box from day 1 e.g. good tugging, chasing ball to come back for tug, retrieve, continue to play with distractions around (including food), play with the toy I offer, etc.
- Short and fun sessions! Finish when you are having the most fun. My dogs lose interest if I do too many repetitions of one exercise, so often I mix a number of exercises in a session. Don’t repeat, and repeat, and repeat when the whippet is doing mistakes! That kills the enthusiasm in your whippet!
- Contact / recalls: The best time of the day should be when you call for attention. Control your whippet until you feel that you are of good value for your dog to avoid self rewarding with things away from you.
- cik/cap – start early!
- Puppy tricks and clicker training
- Jumping technique -start early with bumps to help your whippet find the way of good jumping. (Editor’s note: bumps are plastic pipes, halved and placed on the ground, so that they don’t roll under the feet if puppy steps on them. They are not jump bars.)
- Body strength / control training for safe, healthy and strong agility
- My most common reflection when I see whippets on the agility course is that I find them too slow. Most often I think that deficiencies in 1, 2 and 4 above are the reasons.
Tea in competition:
Ingrid & Anton Bissinger
have been doing agility since 1996, first with a very successful miniature pinscher Fido, then with a mixed breed Carlos with whom they had even more success. In 2003 Anton and Carlos won 3rd place in European Open Team competition. Their whippet journey started in 2006 when they got Insider (Java’s sire) who not only became a great racing dog, but also the first whippet in Germany to compete in A3 (masters class). Isi’s son and Java’s half-brother Indalo competes in A2 and only needs one more placing to get into A3.
They have a blog where you will find an interesting list of agility whippets in Europe.
We have three whippets, Isi (Insider), his son Indalo and Indalo’s son Yuma. Even though they are closely related they are nevertheless completely different in agility.
Isi is crazy about agility. He needs it, he likes to work and he can work for very long, but it was difficult to train him as a young dog. He was very impatient and bit Anton if he didn’t immediately understand what to do.
Indalo has a lot of fun doing agility, but he isn’t as crazy about it as Isi. He can’t work for as long and needs a lot of praise, but he works very well. If he thinks he did something wrong he will sometimes stop working.
Yuma is still young. I suppose he will be like Isi, but not so extremely crazy. With these experiences of our three whippets I must say it’s not possible to say something general about all whippets in agility because ours are soooo different from each other.
What is notable though, is that neither Isi nor Indalo knock bars. But they jump completely different: Isi jumps very long (even 6 or 7 m) and therefore it’s very difficult for him to make tight turns, while Indalo jumps shorter and higher, so it’s easy for him to make tight turns. Both Indalo and Isi found it very difficult to work forward by themselves, which is something that comes easily to most border collies.
We start the “training” at 4 or 5 months, only tunnels or obstacles without bars. Ideally every day for a few minutes. We train our whippets like any other breed. Whippets are as fast as border collies, but from our experience with Isi and Indalo we thought that whippets learn a bit slower. However, Yuma is different: he learns everything very fast. We are curious about his agility future.
Isi in competition: