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Whippets off lead

(34 Posts)
Bigfoot1 Sat 13-Jan-18 20:37:55

So we get our Whippet puppy mid Feb. We’re beyond excited. We have a reasonable sized garden that we can secure, but my biggest worry is whether or not we’ll ever be able to let him off the lead when out walking (due to prey drive). I’ve had labs before who were not a problem. We have a big park near us and at the end there is a big field with two small exits which I think is about as secure as it will get round here.
We’re obviously going to work hard on recall in the early days.
Our friend lets her Whippet run between 2 people (one at each end of a field)
Any veteran Whippet owners able to advise?
Also has any one gone jogging with their adult Whippet on a lead? (just curious about this - Obv not as puppy)

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 13-Jan-18 20:46:43

We had a greyhound from 14weeks and lurcher from 6months (together).

Worked hard on recall and they were both very good when calm and not interested in anything else. Occasionally had to do some crazy things- like lie flat on my back in the middle of the path- to get them to come back to me.

However, I just don't think it's reasonable to expect a sighthound's recall to stick once the prey drive kicks in. We only ever let them off-lead at least a mile from any road and in places where we were as sure as we could be there was no barbed wire. They have really thin skin and I can't tell you how many times they came back shredded and had to be stitched up by the vet. They can't run and think so if barbed wire hoves into view, they don't stop they just plough over it.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sat 13-Jan-18 20:49:14

Beach is a good place BTW- sea on one side, cliffs on the other!

Floralnomad Sat 13-Jan-18 23:51:53

I have a patterdale x with an incredibly high prey drive and I just make sure I am very selective about where he goes off lead , not only to keep him safe but also to preserve the local wildlife . I also ensure that he’s never more that far away and always in my sight and I don’t mean in the distance . I found that the wait and down commands were the most important things to teach him . I never let him off near livestock , woods or ponds that contain wild fowl .

CMOTDibbler Sun 14-Jan-18 08:11:34

I have two lurchers, and mine go off lead with no problems (though obv, as with any dog they don't go off lead around sheep, cows, horses or deer). I've worked on recall from day1 with both of them and I think recall is something you never stop working on and reinforcing. Lots of people seem to think training is something you do once a week at class with your puppy, but its a whole of life thing
Its also the thing that deserves the highest value treats (with the possibility of really high value always there) - so don't think you can just treat with kibble for coming back (after all, if I wanted you to co, me away from something you were enjoying, would you be more likely to come for ryvita or chocolate truffles? And if you knew there was the possibility of something that you absolutely loved?)
With my big dogs, I use dried liver, dried sprats or some weird fake bacon smelling treats as everyday, with chorizo, cocktail sausages, hot dogs, or cooked chicken as extra high value. But thats what does it for my dogs. For my current, 7 week old, foster pups, they are mad about puppy food in jelly from a pouch, so they get a squeeze of that into their mouth when they come in from the garden when whistled.

I'd really recommend the Total Recall book by Pippa Mattinson.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sun 14-Jan-18 08:41:45

I used to cook all sorts of vile delights for my grey Dibbler. She still wouldn't stop for it once she was running. It's like all their other senses shut down so she basically became deaf. I'm pleased to say, due to careful planning, in all her life, she only managed 2 kills (squirrels). However, she once tried to strangle a swan that wouldn't leave it's nest and shook a new to the neighbourhood cat that came into our garden.

In the height of their prime when they were really strong and fit and VERY interested in wildlife, including deer, mine were only let off the lead in racing muzzles just in case. I've heard people say that greyhounds don't actually have higher prey drives than other dogs, it's just that they are fast enough to follow it through.

You just have to be hyper-vigilant and think 3 steps ahead of a sight hound.

Bigfoot1 Sun 14-Jan-18 09:21:48

So since posting, I have found two secure field locally to rent by the half hour which may be useful. We have a big garden so hopefully that will be useful. We’ll have to play it by ear, and I agree some very top quality treats will be on offer....i’m hoping the field at the end of our park will turn out to be suitable and i’m hoping the dog will be quite ball orientated but I guess we’ll have to play it by ear....
do people just walk sight hound pups with a martingale collar and a non-extendable lead or would you use a harness... ? I’ve heard they can wriggle out of harnesses and that they can rub?

CMOTDibbler Sun 14-Jan-18 09:35:33

I prefer to just use martingale collars (never, ever an extendable lead whether on harness or collar for sighthounds) once my pups are past the tasmanian devil stage of walking on a lead (again, training from day 1, tiny walks in the garden with lots of encouragement and reward). I only use harnesses with my big dogs when I run with them. If you really want to use a harness, the perfect fit will let you actually get a good fit - a very nervous foster came to me with one (she needed double leads to collar and secure harness) and the front two sections were small, chest section large!
I do have the puppies in cheap vest harnesses just while we are learning as it reduces the getting ready time so makes a more positive experience, but wouldn't trust them on a proper walk

stayathomegardener Sun 14-Jan-18 10:19:34

Short answer no.

Darling Whippet does come back, answers particularly well to the name biscuits but if he goes into prey mode there is no hope.
He would go straight through barbed wire and has run full pelt into solid walls before.
Always on a lead in his Houdini whippet harness.
Luckily we are on a farm so have about 30 acres where he can run free but he is watched carefully and has jingly bells on his collar which help.

stayathomegardener Sun 14-Jan-18 10:23:09

I use an extendable wide tape lead attached to the harness at around the centre of his back @CMOTDibbler what am I missing there?
To be fair I'm super vigilant and lock it at the first sight of movement.

Lowdoorinthewal1 Sun 14-Jan-18 11:43:17

They can get whiplash on extendable leads if you hold on and they are running full speed by the time they get to full extension. More likely you will have it jerked out of your hand and then they will be running like a bolt out of hell with it flapping behind them. If it scares them they will be in the next county before they stop running. Dangerous on multiple levels.

Could have walked mine on a piece of cotton in a martingale once they were grown up and quite sensible. However, there was a stage during puppyhood, with the lurcher in particular, when I sometimes felt like I was walking a kite.

Bigfoot1 Sun 14-Jan-18 17:42:37

I already knew about the extendable lead being a complete no no, the sheer speed of acceleration is the problem...
I’ll stick with martingale collar and lead to start with. I can’t see the advantage of a harness for us at the moment. If in a couple of years I consider running with him i’ll revisit the harness.

monkeywithacowface Sun 14-Jan-18 17:58:07

I have a lurcher (7 months old) and he's been off lead since we could take him out (around 14 weeks). Recall has been a top training priority and like a previous poster said requires the highest value treats. Fortunately my lurcher is very food motivated so would come back for baked cat turd if it was on offer hmm.

I call him back periodically whether I need him to or not and give a treat. If he happens to come back of his own accord he gets a treat for checking in. He likes to run in a big circle at full pelt now and finishes at my feet then sits waiting to be rewarded for his fine display!

I regularly put him back on lead and give a treat then walk a few minutes and let him off again so he doesn't associate the lead with end of fun and going home.

Whenever I let him off lead the first thing I get him to do is sit and he gets a treat just so he knows whats on offer in mum's pockets (usually warm sausages which attracts a lot of attention from other dogs!).

The only time he is a bit of a tool is when he's engrossed in play with another dog he does get a bit giddy when being chased around.

monkeywithacowface Sun 14-Jan-18 18:00:47

He has a julius k9 harness which he has never managed (or tried) to wiggle out of.

10thingsIhateAboutTheDailyMail Sun 14-Jan-18 18:03:13

My whippet-cross lurcher hates running with humans

It is too slow for her to run, too fast to walk/trot

She can't get on with the slow plodding that humans call "running" grin

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 14-Jan-18 18:05:59

We have a whippety-lucher (average prey drive) and a whippet x saluki (huuuuuuuge prey drive). Both are rescues so came to us after the slightly more trainable puppy stage, and both have 'issues'.
With consistent training (and the lure of hot dog sausages) both now have a relatively good recall.
Although someone wise once said ' A saluki is very trainable - provided it wants what you want'. We are finding that out!!

A local acquaintance has 3 whippets (all from pups) whose recall is astonishing.
So it can be done!

BehindLockNumberNine Sun 14-Jan-18 18:06:38

Neither of my two would run with a human.
They have a need to do 35mph loops on a large field....

monkeywithacowface Sun 14-Jan-18 18:11:13

My lurcher has two speeds comatose and supersonic. Although I could possible jog with him off lead whilst I'm on the paved part of our local woodland area. He could wander and sniff and then zoom to catch up once I got too far ahead.

monkeywithacowface Sun 14-Jan-18 18:11:52

Why do they run in large circles? What's that about?

CMOTDibbler Sun 14-Jan-18 18:17:43

Oh, mine like to run in circles at supersonic speeds (and ddog2 likes to wind ddog1 by being able to turn a complete 180 at full speed), but enjoy going running with me as a more enjoyable speed of on lead walks. They love trail running in the woods as they just check in on me while running loops round me, or even better mountain biking which is a fun speed from the humans.

girlwhowearsglasses Sun 14-Jan-18 18:30:00

OP go on the Facebook group ‘Whippet Appreciation Society’ - there’s a thread on running with whippets (basically yes if you have a Halti shock-absorbent lead and harness)

Our whippet is one and we live inner city. I let him off lead as soon as the vaccinations allowed - so while quite young and still wanting you near. First time he only wanted to sniff things which was ideal - glad we let him off lead for that moment.

In practice now my general rules are that I wait until I’m in the middle of the park to let him off. If he plays with another dog that’s great - but if that dog leaves I put him on lead (so he doesn’t follow). If he fancies a female I put him on lead ASAP.

When we want to go I put him on lead in the middle of the park - the walk ‘back’ is always on lead. No expecting him to come back when I get to the gate.

He does come back once he’s had a run, and I’ve noticed when we’re in the woods he likes to keep in sight.

Never ever try to run after a whippet - you’ve no chance. Even if other dog owners expect you to. Unless you can run at 27 mph. (I googled it and Usain Bolt couldn’t outrun a whippet)

Also did you know they are THE fastest acellerators? (Accelerate quicker than greyhounds)

It will be fine

Here’s mine

girlwhowearsglasses Sun 14-Jan-18 18:41:17

Oh and I had a collar but he went bald under his neck. Google ‘Houdini harness’ - they make them to measure so you need to wait until around nine months old, but it has stopped him pulling and it makes it easier to catch him (it has a handle on the top - imagine a dog-shaped handbag!)

StandardPoodle Sun 14-Jan-18 18:43:04

Not a whippet owner but my young standard poodle was playing this afternoon with an 8-month old whippet - games alive!
Both off lead, it was fantastic to watch as they extended themselves in full gallop.
The whippet was leashed when we parted company (with the aid of treats).
My lad also plays with 2 other young (I think again 8/9 months) whippets, off lead. The field is well off the road though. So off lead can be done!

monkeywithacowface Sun 14-Jan-18 19:01:09

This had made me decide to start running again. Really need to get back in shape and stop kidding myself that standing in a field gassing to other owners whilst the dogs play counts as exercise!

10thingsIhateAboutTheDailyMail Sun 14-Jan-18 20:59:03

I love it when my hound does the mad loops, it's an expression of pure joy

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