It’s no secret that Whippets are extraordinary dogs. With their affectionate, gentle temperament; playful, intelligent nature; and quiet, calm demeanor when in the house, what’s not to love? Due to their wonderful personalities, Whippets are not only excellent family companions but also excel in a variety of sports and therapy jobs.
This graceful breed may appear as if they could run for hours without tiring, but you may be surprised to learn that this isn’t quite true. Whippets are sprinters, not marathon runners. In fact, they don’t need as much exercise as you might think.
How much exercise do Whippets need? For puppies, a basic rule to follow is 5 minutes of light exercise for each month of age up to twice daily. So, a 3-month-old needs 15 minutes of exercise twice per day. Adult Whippets need about 40 minutes per day and frequent opportunities to run.
Of course, you want to take the very best care of your Whippet as possible, and ensuring that he gets adequate daily exercise is definitely important. In the following, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of proper Whippet exercise for puppies and adults.
Make sure you stick around to the end to see what actual Whippet owners are doing to keep their dogs active and healthy!
How Often Should I Walk My Whippet Puppy?
Keep in mind that going for a walk should not be considered an activity that must take place in addition to exercise – it is exercise! Any walks that you and your little Whippet take count towards his daily exercise requirements. So, stick to the general rule. Five minutes of exercise for every month of age once or twice per day is plenty for a puppy.
Too much exercise or strenuous activity can potentially cause permanent damage to a young, growing Whippet. A puppy’s bones, growth plates, and joints are not fully developed yet and can be injured more easily than you might have realized. So, other than walking, how can you make sure your Whippet is receiving enough, but not too much, daily exercise?
Suitable Types of Exercise for Puppies
Whippet puppies are actually quite proficient at exercising themselves. Their bodies tell them when they need to expend some energy and when they need to rest. Unlike many humans, puppies tend to heed what their body is trying to tell them.
So, how do puppies naturally make use of stored energy and give their little bodies a workout? Through play, of course! Before your puppy comes to live with you, much of his waking hours are spent playing with his littermates and mother. Play is the natural way that a puppy learns how to be a dog, all about the world around him, and how to exhaust all that puppy energy.
One of the best ways to meet your puppy’s exercise needs is to, you guessed it, play with him. Remember, nothing too demanding, just simple, engaging activities that get him moving. It really is not too hard at all to encourage a puppy to play. As a matter of fact, more often than not, your puppy will be the one telling you when it is playtime.
3 Toys to get your pup active…
- Puppy Toy Pack — We highly recommend this puppy toy pack, filled with 12 different toys that are the perfect size for puppy mouths.
- Ball Launcher — Looking to tire your pup with a good game of fetch? Save your arm with this cool ball launcher.
- Tug-O-War Tug — This rubber tug is worth checking out. I love it because it doubles as a chew toy.
Try gently rolling a ball for your little Whippet to chase after. Start teaching him early to bring it back to you and he’ll soon become a master at fetch. Mock wrestling matches can be fun for your puppy too, and they mimic the natural play he engaged in with his siblings.
Tug-of-war is often a favorite game among puppies. Simply hold one end of the rope, let your mighty little pup do all of the pulling, and he’ll soon wear himself out. As long as your Whippet is properly vaccinated, a trip to your local dog park can provide plenty of exercise and is a great way to work on his socialization too.
Puppy exercise can even be as simple as allowing him to chase you around the yard while you wave a favorite toy behind you or letting him explore a seldom-used area of your fenced-in backyard.
This chart will give you a better idea of what’s good for a puppy and what might be a bit too much.
|Perfect for Puppies||A Bit Too Much|
Walks around the block on a leash,
keeping it casual and fun.
|Jogging or biking for any significant stretch might be too much for a smaller puppy. Don’t make them keep up with you, go at her pace.|
|Free play in the yard with some toys. Let them run and play and have fun with them! If things get too exciting, try and calm them a bit.||Long stretches of running and really vigorous play at the puppy stage might be too much|
|Walking around the house is always fine for a pup, you can guide him or her along with you to get some exercise.||Climbing stairs, hills, or really long stretches of strenuous activity, you need to watch for signs they are ok.|
|A fun game of fetch or tug of war is a popular way to get in some exercise with puppies around the world!||Again watch for signs of too much. Puppies are still growing and developing. Too much can put strain on their joints at this age.|
How Much Exercise Does an Adult Whippet Need Daily?
Although an adult Whippet can be a couch potato when indoors, he does still need daily exercise to remain physically and emotionally healthy. Forty minutes or so each day is typically sufficient though an especially active Whippet may need a little more.
Did you know that dogs release endorphins and serotonin when exercising? It’s true. Proper exercise is quite beneficial to a dog’s mental health, just as it is for people.
Are you concerned that your Whippet may not be getting enough of a workout every day? Do you know the signs that indicate some additional physical activity is needed? Here are some common ones that can easily be remedied with a little supplemental exercise:
- Weight gain
- Destructive or withdrawn behavior
- Excessive barking or whining
- Lack of endurance
Exercising your Whippet should be a fun, pleasant experience for both you and your dog. Unless you choose to take him for a walk, think of exercise time as playtime and have some fun!
Because of this breed’s love of running, it won’t take much effort on your part to meet your Whippet’s exercise needs. Most owners agree that the favorite game of Whippets is keep-away. The rules are simple. The dog grabs a toy and dashes wildly around at top speed daring you to try to catch him. This is also a popular game when he is playing with other dogs.
Similar to keep-away is tag. Again the goal involves you trying to catch your bullet, I mean dog, as he zooms around the yard, often nosing your leg as he zips by as if to say, “Ha! I got you again. You’re it!”
Tug-of-war is another easy game to play to give your Whippet a workout, and most Whippets love to participate. Just prepare yourself for defeat on occasion. Hide-and-seek in the house is a good option on rainy or cold days, as is using a flirt pole (Amazon), provided you have a large enough room. On more pleasant days, switch up your routine with a hike or a jog.
Many Whippets love playing fetch and can be trained to bring the ball back to you. The same goes for Frisbee. Other Whippets will indeed chase after the ball but then decide that a game of keep-away would be much better. Bye-bye ball. The solution? Have multiple balls on standby.
How Much Walking Does a Whippet Need?
A Whippet certainly enjoys going for walks with his owner. Sniffing all the delightfully different smells while experiencing a refreshing change of scenery not only provides healthy exercise for the body but is also mentally stimulating as his mind processes all the new information his senses are receiving.
Walking is a form of exercise, so 40 minutes of walking per day will meet an adult Whippet’s needs. The good news is that the 40 minutes does not have to take place all at once. If you would prefer to divide the time up between several shorter walks, that will be just fine too.
What Kind of Collar Should They Wear for Walks?
A determined Whippet can easily slip off an ordinary collar because of his narrow head. If a squirrel or rabbit happens to dart by while you’re out walking your dog, all your Whippet has to do is plant his feet, jerk his head back with a little wiggle, and he’s gone.
Instead of taking a chance on losing their precious Whippet, many owners use a Martingale collar for walks (here’s a popular one on Amazon). This collar is designed to tighten around the dog’s neck, exerting pressure equally all around. Unlike a choke collar, martingales won’t damage the Whippet’s delicate neck or cause choking. They simply prevent escape and gently remind the dog not to pull.
Other Whippet owners prefer to use traditional sighthound collars which are much wider than regular collars(here’s a padded one on Amazon). The extra width not only makes it difficult for a Whippet to free himself but also is comfortable for the dog and does not place too much pressure on any one spot like an ordinary collar would.
You can read more about the best collar for Whippets, in this article.