Saturday, December 26, 2009


I live in an excellent dog friendly town-Livermore. Within minutes are parks to teach tracking or other parks to practice obedience.

After Christmas my tracking buddy and good friend Sherry and I met at a local park to lay track. Whisper is training for her TDX this year with Lyric waiting in the wings and Echo is just starting. Since TDX is so time consuming to teach generally I focus on one dog only at this level. Whisper's track was TDX length 800+ yds with plenty of obstacles and road/path crossing although was only 1 1/2-2 hrs old. Normally when training, we only practice either age or length but rarely both at the same time.

While waiting for Whisper's track to age we worked on Echo. She did super and is now doing short 15 minute old tracks with turns.

After Whisper's track aged we ran her and she did awesome. No mistakes and tremendous enthusiam. I feel she is ready to enter a TDX trial. The video below is of a TDX type track but warning it is a long video. Most if not all my dogs complete their TDX in about 30 minutes. This is an 8 minute video but shows tracking at its best. My brother is videoing and didn't realize his comments were being recorded. He is a good sport but not a dog person.


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Becca's Obedience Career

Becca just completed her 10-week advanced obedience class with a pretty decent performance at graduation, especially with her doing a double suspension gallop toward Donna on the recall. However, her "brakes" were not working too well and she didn't sit in front of Donna after she ran in toward her. But Becca did exhibit that much sought after enthusiasm when called so the rest will fall into place in time and with training. Donna plans to continue with Becca on a drop-in basis when the next advanced obedience class starts in January; she'll additionally try some rally classes and continue her conformation showing.

Here's a brief video of Becca doing her "victory" dance after graduating.


Saturday, December 19, 2009

How They Grow

This was almost a year ago.

This was yesterday. Poor Shine.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pearl and Poppy

All of Lyric's puppies are natural retrievers. Sometimes it comes in very handy. It must have come from Lyric's side of the family since Merlin hated retrieving. Teaching him to retrieve the dumbbell in Open was an ordeal. His motto was "You threw it You retrieve it"

Below is Poppy and Pearl's story

It is a bit of a challenge to keep Pearl exercised. You see, I am disabled. One day I picked up Pearl's cousin Angel's ( she died three years ago at age 10) frisbee and threw it off of the deck. Pearl went flying off the deck after it. The game has begun. Pearl chewed a hole in one side of the middle so that she could flip up the frisbee over her snout and eyes and wear it like a kind of hat as she runs. I get the biggest kick out of her when she does this.

Since stairs are a challenge for me. I wait until Pearl is at the bottom of the stairs to throw the frisbee and then off she goes. She catches it about 70% of the time now. She is so good about bringing it back and letting me have it without a fuss so that I can throw it again. I know when she has had enough when she comes back and instead of coming to me she goes up to the upper deck and looks at me to go into the house for breakfast.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Agility Again

We went off to our last agility trial of the year. It was memorable and not just in a good way. The first day was excellent for another QQ and 39 more MACH points. The weather was cold which made the dogs run fast.


The next day however I made a really dumb error-I locked the dogs in the car and had no spare key. I found out the car was locked as I went to get Whisper out of the car for her jumpers run. No one at the agility trial could jimmy the door open so I had to call AAA. Everyone from exhibitors to show superintendent were wonderful about helping deal with my nerves and getting the car open. Even though it was about 34 degrees outside and the dogs were in no danger of overheating I was panicked with worry. Getting my run was the least of my worries but I so wanted to try to do the course. AAA(who I highly recommend) arrived with seconds to spare of the club rebuilding the course for the open dogs. I got Whisper out of the car and ran to the start line. My hands were shaking at the start and I barely recall running the course. Many of the exhibitors knew what had happened and crowded ringside to watch the Wisp run. As we completed the course I collapsed and hugged her for being such a wonderful dog. You can hear the clapping from the observers in the background. We ran our fasted time ever in a trial


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snow Days

But it got here about midnight last night.....snow, and lots of it!!!! It took all night to deliver, but we woke up this morning at 7am to a Winter White Wonderland. Happy Birthday Stripey Boy, if a little belated!!!! I'm not a morning person, but this was too much to resist.

I quietly snuck out of the bedroom and made coffee, grabbed the camera and got Pre Greyhound Plowing photos. Then, almost on cue, the Birthday Boy was at the back door wondering where the MomLady is, and what the heck is all this white stuff?????!

One hour, 2 flash cards and 4 exhausted dogs later a fire was built in the fireplace and everyone curled up to dry out and take a morning nap. Darby will retrieve ANYTHING, snowballs included. Throw it out, chase it down, bring it back, please throw it again! He's just very delicate with the snowballs, they break easy you know!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Title

Most of Lyric's puppies went into show/performance homes. Becca owned by Donna passed her CGC(Canine Good Citizen)test at just under one year old.
Below is Donna's write up.

Four days short of being 1 year old, Becca passed her CGC (Canine Good
Citizen) Test!!! She and Donna had been preparing for this with their Advanced Novice classes. For those of you unfamiliar with this test, it involves 10 exercises for the dog, involving some basic obedience and

1. Accepting a friendly stranger--Evaluator approaches and shakes hands with handler who has dog on a leash; dog is not touched.
2. Dog is asked to sit politely for petting by evaluator. Dog must show no shyness or resentment.
3. While still sitting, evaluator brushes dog, exams dog's ears and front foot 4. Dog is walked on a leash by handler while being directed by evaluator to do right and left turns, an about turn and halt 5. While dog is on its leash, the dog and its handler walk through a crowd of people. Dog may show casual interest, but not jump up.
6. Handler has dog do a sit and a down; then handler leaves the dog in either position, walks away 20 ft and then returns immediately to the dog.
7. Dog is attached on a long line and told to sit and stay; handler walks out 10 ft in front of dog, turns to face the dog and then calls the dog to come to the handler.
8. Handler and dog walk toward another handler and dog; dogs are asked to sit; handlers then shake hands. Each dog and handler continues on their walk in opposite directions. Dogs can show casual interest.
9. The dog is presented with 2 distractions and is not to panic or show aggression. In Becca's case, it was a chair being dropped nearby and then someone using a walker in front of her.
10. Dog is on a 6-ft leash and given to an evaluator; dog is asked to sit or down by handler, but dog does not have to stay in that position. Handler goes out of sight of the dog for 3 minutes. Dog is to remain quiet and calm during this time period.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whisper's Weekend

After the conformation shows the previous weekend, an agility weekend was next. Whisper is trying for her MACH(Master agility champion). The courses can be challenging but fun. Whisper is such a fantastic dog to run-she is so responsive. Running her is like handling a Ferrari car, a slight shoulder rotation can turn her in an instant. A call of her name can immediately turn her off an incorrect obstacle. We have been training weekly in agility for about 2 1/2 years along with conformation,tracking and obedience. I never dreamed we would be competing at this level already.

She earned another QQ and 25 points that weekend.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday!

The puppies are one year old today! It's quite a milestone! Here is a picture of each of the puppies celebrating their birthday.

Echo played with all of her toys.

Pearl ate special birthday cookies with a fancy birthday hat.

Becca was showered with gifts and treats.

Tanner had a party with his parti friends.

Darby ate frozen yogurt with cool birthday sprinkles.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Cat

After the hike at Ft Ord the dogs and I went to a local rescue group Town Cats . It was overwhelming. Cats were everywhere. There must have been at least 100 to chose from. It is a no kill shelter that pulls cats from local kill shelters as well as taking turn ins from owners.

I was looking for a middle age male to go along with my female cat Miss Cleo. After spending an hour looking at the cats-and getting confused by so many I had my choice narrowed down to three cats. We brought all three cats into the office and one by one I introduced each dog. The cat that was bothered the least- the lucky one- was a handsome grey boy Genki. He had been at the shelter/rescue group for 1 1/2 yrs. So home he went with a new name Genghis as in Genghis Khan.

After living with about 100 cats, a few dogs were nothing. Very little seems to faze him.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


My favorite place to hike with the dogs is the old army base in Monterey-Ft Ord. It is thousands of acres of basically nobody and nothing but wilderness. Old trails go through valleys and fields. The coast oak trees are covered with spanish moss. Lupine and grass fields are home to meadowlarks as well as a multitude of birds. I have seen deer, coyote, badger, cottontails and jackrabbits in the area. The dogs can run until their hearts content. As long as they come back off leash it is a very safe area to run. Over the years I have used it as a place of mental healing for me. The quiet, the beauty and the solitude help clear the mind and make tough decisions easier.

When the dogs do something special for me(like obedience titles or championship titles) I try to give back to them. What they love most in life is running free. Moving has made the trip to Ft Ord longer but not impossible.

What the dogs didn't know that day was a new cat was being added to the household. So off we went to let them run themselves into exhaustion before we went to the rescue group to pick out a cat.

They had fun with hours of free running and alittle water play. By the time we got back to the car they had run for miles and were tired. In the right frame of mind to meet and adopt a new cat. More later on the rescue group.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heeling with Greyhounds

I have done obedience with greyhounds for 25+years and have always accepted they heel without face watching. One time I tried to train the "watch" command when heeling for one year before giving up. Then along came Whisper who heeled this way naturally. It is impressive, it was fun, it was sensational. I decided my next greyhound-Echo would learn to heel this way as well. The following videos were taken last week at the conformation shows we attended. Realize they were working with the show going on in the background.

For show people Lyric went Best of Breed 2 out of 3 days. Echo went Winners Bitch 2 out of three days for 3 more points. Darby went Winners dog and Best of Winners for 2 more points. Lyric's kids are fast approaching their championship!

But back to heeling. Although she is on leash Whisper is training for open. Notice her tail, it seems to have a mind of its own or maybe it has a lot to say.
I am especially proud of Echo she is trying so hard to give attention and do what I want. Her tail seems to talk too!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving From Darby

To Lyric, thank you for the pretty! To Merlin, thank you for the funny! To Helen and Georgiana, thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing Darby Crash to become my heart.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Greyhound obedience starring Becca

Becca continues to work on her obedience training and is into week 6 of her advanced class. She's doing 3-minute sits and 5-minute downs on a long line with distractions--lots of squeaky toys and balls rolling in front and behind her. She's also learning to take and hold a dumb bell. She eagerly anticipates the dumb bell, knowing that a yummy treat will follow!! This class includes a Canine Good Citizen test (CGC) next week so keep your fingers crossed for Donna and Becca!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Greyhounds and Cats

Tanner and Ember

One thing I have always taken pride in is my dogs ability to get along with small dogs and cats. Greyhounds are a prey driven breed and either intentionally or accidently my dogs have run live game. This increases their desire to chase running creatures. Yet they can easily live with my cats. They can walk around the neighborhood, walk in crowded areas with small dogs, compete in obedience next to small dogs without worry.

Pearl and Jazz

Learning to easily co-exist with cats starts early in life. I have always raised my puppies with cats. When they transition to their new homes, cats are common place in their world.

Echo and Homer

Interesting the dogs seem to know their own cats both indoors and outdoors from neighborhood cats. Lyric has by far been the most difficult dog to train to leave cats alone, to accept that they are part of the family. Maybe because I got her as a puppy that had not been around cats. At 4 1/2 yrs she finally is becoming more accepting of her cats.

Whisper and Lacey

All of Lyrics puppies except Becca now live in a cat household.

Darby and Marvin

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tanner Learns Tracking

Tanner and his mom had the opportunity to help teach a beginning tracking class for the Luckiamute Dog Training Club
At the end of the class, everyone got to try baby tracks with their dogs. Tanner also got a turn. He very aptly demonstrated that although he is a categorized as a sighthound, he has a darn good nose too! These pictures taken by Peggy Miller show how Tanner is keeping his nose to the ground to follow the scent trail and find the treats.

He is currently running straight tracks that are aged 30 minutes.
Since he is young, he is very easily distracted. Using some really good food drops every couple of steps keeps him coming back to the track and rewards him for following it. As he improves his ability to
concentrate, the food drops will be spaced farther and farther apart.
He will also learn to find and indicate corners. To earn a TD test, he will need to do be able to follow a 440-500 yd track that incorporates 3-5 turns. The track will be aged 30 minutes to 2 hours. He will also need to learn to indicate articles in such a way that Tamara will know he found an article and can pick it up to show the judges.

Both Tanner's mom, Tamara, and breeder, Helen, are avid trackers and have each earned multiple titles on different dogs. It makes sense that Tanner would enjoy and excel at tracking since both of his parents as well as his granddam have tracking titles too! Most importantly, tracking is a fun sport that requires the dog to take the lead and solve problems with very little help. It is a great way to keep the brain busy and utilize the glorious noses that all dogs are born with.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ranch Dog 101: Part One

How to be a ranch/farm dog as told by Darby Crash and Lisa:

1. Take every opportunity to get dirty, really really dirty. Anytime you seed dirt dig it, eat it, fling it, lay in it. If it's wet dirt (otherwise known as mud), that's oh so much better.

2. If there isn't any dirt readily available, make some.

3. Other substrates are just as fun, if not more, than dirt or mud. Run through them at top speed. Bonus points if the ranch cats have 'utilized' the substrate.

4. Run fast, run hard. Find every piece of farm equipment, every fence post, every stray bit of rock or fencing material to run over or into. Bonus points for breaking something on yourself or the item you ran into/over. Double bonus points for breaking both.

5. Help with the farm chores like cleaning stalls, sweeping hay and monitoring the activities of the barn cats.

6. Help with the planting. When the mom-lady digs holes and puts plants in them, help by walking behind her and stomping them into the dirt real hard. It helps the roots. When you get specific instructions shouted at you, help more by sitting down on them, and then roll over on top of them, squirm around and show the mom-lady your dirty feet so she can see how hard you've been working.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Great Pumpkins

Fall has arrived as well as a tide of pumpkins. The puppies growing obedience skills make picture taking easy. Darby and Echo polished their socialization skills at Alden Lane nursery this past weekend. Both were well behaved and practiced their sit and down stay for a photo op.
No plants were harmed either in the taking of the photo or during the nursery tour.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Name Change

Notice is hereby given that an application will be made to the Department of Aragon Puppy Owners for a change of name pursuant to the provisions of the "Name Act" by me: Aragon Aroi Silver Lining of Sunol, Ca as follows: To change my name from "Sterling" to "Darby Crash" dated this 10th day of November, 2009.

Well, actually, I (Lisa) will be applying for him.

I would like to blame my husband, and say that he renamed him and that I really had no choice in the matter, but that would not be the truth.

I have a long history of renaming. When I was 11 I had a little boyfriend who lived down the street. His name was Ralph. As cute as he was, however, I just couldn't have a boyfriend with a name like Ralph. (no offense to anyone who's husband or significant other's name is Ralph, of course) In my prepubescent mind Ralph was another word for puke, up-chuck, hurl, vomit. And as an 11 year old girl, that was simply not going to work. So I called him Rusty. He objected repeatedly that his name was not Rusty. I told him if he wanted to be MY boyfriend that it was. Since it was a few days until my birthday and I was having a party at the local roller skating rink, Rusty-Ralph conceded to the temporary name change in lieu of a promised afternoon of rollerskating and unlimited video game playing. And then he 'broke up' with me in the van on the way home.

When I was in high school I decided that Lisa wasn't a creative enough name for myself, so I added an extra 's' to it (Lissa) much to my mother's chagrin and spent the next several years smugly correcting people when they spelled it the original, boring way. I spent significantly longer trying to get it back to the boring, legal, single 's' version once I grew up and got tired of being 'creative'. It wasn't easy, I had even convinced the DMV and they were not keen on changing it back to the original version.

When I started working with Sterling in earnest, I found that his name was difficult for me to call and make it sound 'happy happy happy'. Sterling was a very elegant and serious name. I needed something I could 'sing-song' to pump him up while working with him as well as abbreviate on a daily basis (there isn't a 'short name' for Sterling) My husband had called him Crash a couple of times because of his careless running habits and it hit me; Darby Crash, the infamous lead singer of one of the greatest punk bands (and my all-time favorite punk band) in the history of music, The Germs. Their biggest album was called "Nothing We Do is Secret". I smiled because nothing Darby and I do will be secret. If I have any say in the matter, this dog and I are going to make a lot of noise on the greyhound scene. So that was it; I called him Darby and he responded to it immediately and enthusiastically and has continued to do so ever since.

I know for a lot of people, he will always be Sterling, and that's okay. Some folks don't like it. Helen winced visibly when she first heard me call him Darby, and our friend Kathy frowned and chided me "Lisa, that's a Golden Retriever name!". And that's okay too, because he retrieves stunningly! ;) To me he is a little (okay, a very big) part of my heart....and his name is Darby Crash. Nothing we do is secret.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

New GCNC Specialty Photos

More photos from the fall GCNC specialty courtesy of Sheryl Bartel and Chris Mott of Helios Greyhounds. You can see pictures of all the dogs at the specialty here.

Aragon Aroi Silver Lining (Darby)

Darby's stacked photo was taken by our friend Jennifer Bachelor (NeverSayNever Greyhounds)

Aragon Black Ice (Echo)

Aragon Silver Oak (Tanner)

Aragon Morning Mist (Becca)

Aryal Aroi Stoney Ridge (Lyric)

Karen Dayberry and her girl Tobi (Chaparrel Toberlone RN) also made it out to the specialty. They came all the way from Colorado! After two days in the car this high energy girl needed to run. And boy did she, she took turns running and exhausting each of the puppies. Here is a picture of her at the show.