Training

Whippet pups are started on the lure as young as 6 weeks of age. We first tie a plastic baggie to a pole and drag it about for the pups to chase. By time they reach 10 weeks, they are chasing the plastic baggie on a buggy whip at amazing speed for such little guys.

At 4 months we introduce them to the mechanical lure. We only have them chase after it for about 20 yrds and then stop the lure and praise them. The distance is increased gradually and by the time they are 7 months of age they are chasing the plastic lure about 100 yrds. At about 9 mths they are slipped through an open box in quick succession before then being put through a closed set of boxes and run about 150 yrds. If they have no problem with the boxes and are running out of them quickly and without reserve, they are then ready for the next step.

At around 10 months of age, assuming they are both mentally and physically mature, they will be introduced to a muzzle while racing. They will have already been introduced to it in the house for short periods of time but will now race with it on.

The big test will come soon after the muzzle training when they will run with an older but slower whippet for the first time. The choice of an older slower whippet is to ensure that the new pup is not enticed to play or in any way interfere. If he is faster than the older dog, it will give him the confidence he needs to easily pass up the slower dog and win the race with ease. At his next race practice outing he will be put again with a slower whippet but one who is just a bit faster than the last one so that he will need to push harder to win and not want to slow down to interfere.

His next outing is with a dog of about the same speed. He will need to run side by side or pass ahead or be passed from behind by a dog but in no way interfere with the other dog. Should he pass this test with ease, his next outing at about 11 months will be with two whippets; one slightly faster and one fairly even to the youngsters speed. He will be placed in the closed boxes between the two dogs and he must come out of the boxes cleanly and ignore the other two dogs the entire way down the track. He will become qualified to race if he is able to be passed or pass a dog without impeding their progress in any way.

See our current trainees!

Feeding

Feeding is done twice daily although I do try to vary the time a little so they don't get too frantic if dinner is not served right on time. Feeding consists of all RAW meat, raw meaty bones, offal, yogurt, eggs, green tripe, crushed veggies and fruit. I don't cook or heat anything for them and I don't feed grains of any kind although I imagine there might be some grains in the green tripe.

The menu changes daily with a meat or green tripe meal usually fed in the evening. Yogurt, eggs, liver, veggies and kelp etc are usually fed every other morning after they come back from their run/walk.

Puppies are started on their raw diet at about 5 weeks when they start to investigate their dams food. Earlier if they appear hungry. The only difference I make between adult food and the puppies food is that I grind up the chicken backs, necks and wings and any other meat that contains bones until they are able to chew the meat and bones up themselves. I also give the pups raw scraped beef straight off the bone in little pieces that are easy for them to chew up. I have not yet had any pups or adults refuse their food and am more fearful of my fingers at feeding time than I am of a dog refusing to eat.

All of my dogs are frightfully healthy and never need the services of my vet unless one of them sustains a track/race related injury. They have no itchy skin, ear infections or allergic problems, no hip, elbow or heart problems and clean white teeth at all times. They all maintain good rock hard muscles, a shiny coat and clear eyes. They never suffer from diarrhea or vomiting or catch "bugs" going around. (OK... one time at a show nat'l they did get a bit sick and not eat for a day). In all my years with this breed, they have remained incredibly healthy, hearty and disease free.

Conditioning

The Kentfield whippets are race dogs and athletes. They are exercised daily on a fairly strict regime of free running in large hay fields over about 4 miles every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and a brisk 4 mile walk on Tuesday and Thursday. Of course, the day before or the day after a race meet or field event, they are rested and only get exercise of their choosing in the back and front yards. During their daily walks, very strict attention is made to their weight and muscle condition. Whippets carrying excess flesh are noted and portions are adjusted at feeding time to correct the ones who need less food. The same goes for muscle condition. Those who are coming back from injury or bitches just out of season will require a different training schedule than those who are racing on a regular basis.

Proper muscle condition is vital to good racing and makes them less prone to injury so before they can compete in race meets, they must be as fit as possible and at a correct weight.


A walk on the wild side

Daily free-running is an essential part of Kentfield's conditioning regimen.