Obedience/Rally

Classically dominated by herding breeds, traditional obedience has grown in popularity with Whippet owners in recent years. This is likely due to the many methods of motivational training that have become prevalent with obedience instructors over the past 15 years. Obedience is one sport that is open to all Whippets, including those with disqualifying faults, so any dog can compete. It is a sport that requires a good relationship between the handler and dog and a dog with a strong work ethic. Good obedience Whippets can be obtained from any type of breeding program, and also from rescue. The most important requirement for an obedience Whippet is temperament and the desire to work -- try to find one with an outgoing temperament that has confidence and enjoys praise and food rewards. It is also important when looking for a trainer to find one familiar with some of the more uncommon obedience breeds that excel when trained through positive reinforcement.

Rally is a relatively new but fast-growing sport that differs from traditional obedience in a number of ways, most markedly in that it is a timed event where the dog and handler must go through a course of numbered exercises in order, and verbal encouragement and praise, along with multiple commands, are allowed. This fun and less formal sport has been attracting growing numbers of Whippet owners, and is particularly novice trainer-friendly. 

There are several organizations that hold obedience trials; the two main ones are the American Kennel Club (AKC), and the United Kennel Club (UKC). There are also some fringe organizations that offer different types of obedience as well as utilizing food rewards and praise in the ring. Titles in each of these are usually earned by “legs” which are qualifying scores. The number of legs varies between organizations. Obedience trials are usually held in conjunction with conformation dog shows, although there are stand-alone trials. The American Whippet Club National Specialty offers both Obedience and Rally competitions.

 

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