Thursday, March 26, 2009

Big Brags for a Big Cousin

Whisper is a third generation Aragon greyhound living with me-the breeder. She is a first cousin once removed from the puppies in Lyric's litter. See if anyone can figure that one out! Her grandmother and the puppies’ father were littermates. Her pedigree and those of Merlin and Lyric are posted on Greyhound and if you want to see exactly how they are related. Whisper comes from three generations of performance and show dogs.

She is probably the most performance oriented greyhound I have ever owned. She has a superb work ethic and thoroughly enjoys training and competing. This is evident in these videos from previous agility and obedience trials. I have high expectations for her! In a future blog I will post the story of how Whisper came into being and how lucky I am to own her.

Training lapsed for quite some time after Lyric's puppies. Once they left for their new homes it was time to get back into dog training/competing again. I decided to jump in with both feet and start entering trials with Whisper in agility. We had done a little training during the puppies but less than once a week. Whisper was up to Excellent Jumpers and had two Open Standard legs when the puppies were conceived and later born. As I had never earned a leg in Open Standard with my other dogs I considered it my "weak" area. Spirit my first agility dog started very late in her life competing in agility. She did it to please me but obviously it was not her first love or even her second or third. She easily earned her Novice Jumpers and Open Jumpers but Standard was difficult. Her rear end was starting to go so the dog walk and A frame got to be too much for her. She was an easy dog to handle as she was quite methodical,we often didn't make time.

Whisper is just the opposite-her enthusiasm for agility almost knows no bounds. So back to our agility weekend and Open Standard. She had a good run on Saturday but popped off the down contact of the dog walk. She never does that in training but oh well. Then to Excellent Jumpers. Again no qualifing score-she couldn't make the weavepole entrance but was able to handle the course otherwise. The next day Sunday we started with Open Standard and she had an excellent time and qualified-15 seconds under course time. She is so fast she is like trying to handle a bullet when she gets going. She checks in and pays attention but you have to think so fast about what to do next. She earned her Open Standard title!!!

Then onto Excellent Standard. In Excellent Jumpers she was SO enthusiastic she shocked everyone by jumping over the tunnel-oh well she had fun and when called back and told to do the tunnel-you could see the wheels spinning-"oh yeah so that's what you want me to do" and quickly ran in. Again weavepole entrances were a killer but my instructor has given us some handling advice and exercises to practice so we will see how that works. We are in an agility trial in two weeks and now in Excellent Jumpers AND Standard. We have to get our weave pole entrances. All in all a fun and instructive weekend. I will see if I can figure out how to post some videos of her current runs. Meanwhile, you can follow this link to a video of one of her first agility runs.

Last weekend was dog shows. Whisper needed 5 points and one more major to finish her breed championship-and we earned another major and 3 more points on Saturday. Now only 2 single points and she is done!!! Lyric also showed this weekend-her first time out since her toe ligament surgery and puppies. She showed quite well and won Best of Breed over the Number one greyhound in the country. It was a great weekend. Non show people don't realize how much work goes into training a dog to show. Not only do they have to look great but they need attitude to do well. To cultivate attitude and good showmanship takes alot of work-especially in greyhounds who are not normally a showy breed.

Over the next several weeks we have more agility trials,breed shows-our specialty the Greyhound Club of Northern California, Rally and obedience to work on with both dogs. All in all a very busy next few months.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Becca Aerobics

Sometimes the "on" button gets pushed and Becca goes a little crazy on top of my bed. She looks like she is doing aerobics in bed--only a Greyhound could figure out a way to be in bed AND exercise as well. Just glad I wasn't trying to sleep during all the commotion! :) She really seems to be entertaining herself as well as me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Great Outdoors!!

When Becca first came home, Shawn looked longingly at her like she was his own personal live "squeak toy" and due to his size compared to Becca, I was hesitant to have them in the yard together at the same time until she was a little bigger. So the time finally arrived when I felt they should venture out in the yard together with my supervision of course! They are still learning about each other in the backyard, even though they are fine in the house next to each other. It gets better day by day--she definitely knows she's still "the puppy", but as fast as she's growing, it won't be long before they are more equal in each other eyes. Here are a couple of photos taken. What good kids they were to pose sitting long enough for me to take a photo.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tanner videos from March 19 2009

Tanner and Ember are still working out their relationship. In this short video, Tanner has become a victim of a common kitty game. I make Shine stay out of it so that Tanner can work it out for himself.

In this second video, Tanner and Shine play in the back yard. This is towards the end of their play session so is a bit mellow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Becca and Sterling at Play

This is a short clip of Becca and Sterling during one of their first play dates. They are 12 weeks old here.

Friday, March 13, 2009


After trying several times to breed Spirit and her sister Winnie with no success I learned Georgiana and Lila were breeding a litter out of "Blueberry" Ch Aroi Aryal Rainy Day Blues. They were breeding her to the same male that I had tried to breed the girls to, "Uro" Ch Graal Quest Urostar. I was interested in the litter since Blueberry is a lovely feminine female and Uro is a very handsome masculine male. I wanted a girl out of the litter and anxiously waited them being born. The day finally arrived with 6 red boys and 2 red girls. Not much color to choose from!! The weeks went by as I awaited the moment when I could pick up my puppy when tragedy struck. The litter came down with a serious gastroenteritis that required hospitalization and intensive care of all the pups. As I am a vet, I decided to pick up my puppy-Lyric- and take her back to my hospital and care for her. When I picked her up from the first hospital I was shocked. She was sitting in a cage by herself with only newspaper to lay on while hooked up to an IV. Being away from its littermates for the first time is frightening enough for a 7-8 wk old puppy. When you couple it with nothing soft to lay on, it seems almost cruel. Although it is much easier to keep a dog clean when housed by itself on newspaper, this is very hard and frightening to a puppy. My bonding with Lyric occurred in the intensive care of our hospital-she was there with catheters and blood draws for about two weeks. I had to teach her that humans didn't always hurt her. She taught me alot about caring for sick baby puppies-their emotional needs are as important as their physical needs.

She was always such a serious puppy but the easiest puppy I have ever raised. Somehow things like being left alone in a crate/xpen didn't phase her. She has never suffered from the severe separation anxiety that plagues many of the greyhounds. Maybe her early illness had some unexpected benefits. I teach house breaking to puppies by putting a dog bed beside my bed and attaching a leash to the puppy. If they start getting restless I wake up and take them out. One night, when Lyric had only been home a few weeks and was 12 wks old, I woke up to the sound of the leash (metal ring) clinking out the bedroom down the hall through the living room and kitchen out the back door to the yard. She had already learned what housebreaking was all about.

Although we did basic puppy training I waited until she was about a year old to start showing and working her. After what she had been though I didn't want to put any pressure on her, rather I wanted to let her enjoy her puppyhood playing. Her showing career was a breeze from multiple Best of Breeds from the classes to Group 1 from the classes. Lyric took me placing showing that I have never been before. From multiple Group placements(with me handling!) to winning the Best of Breed at the Lompoc specialty and later that year to winning the Greyhound Club of Northern California specialty. It has always been a dream of mine to win Best of Breed at a specialty-particulary Lompoc and go High In Trial with the same dog the same day. Well we almost did it at the last years Lompoc. She went High In Trial her first time in the obedience ring with a 192.5-after earning her third Rally Excellant leg minutes earlier. We then went over to the conformation ring and ended up with First Award of Merit(dang so close!). But she did everything I asked of her-and in style and I couldn't be prouder of her.

She is such a serious dog with a prey drive that never quits-much to the dismay of my cats. At least this instinct comes in handy training. Her biggest reward after training is to have the lunge whip with a piece of fur to chase. Food is fine but give her the something to chase if you want real motivation.

One of the nicest about Lyric is how positive the greyhound community has been about her. Generally when a dog is a big winner they get their share of negative criticism from people. It seems from all avenues of the breed-the open field world,the performance world and the show world people are complimentary. Her looks,movement,personality and trainabilty are all commented on and appreciated.

After recovering from surgery for a torn ligament and raising puppies Lyric is resuming her show and performance career this spring.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Tanner Time Lapse

This is Tanner at 9 weeks and again at almost 14 weeks. He has doubled in weight in that time and gained a tremendous amount of coordination. He still has a long way to go! Shine has not changed in size :)

Tanner's Play Group

Last weekend, Tanner and I went to Pup-A-Razzi again to participate in the puppy play group. He did wonderfully with the other pups. He had the most fun with Molly, an Irish Terrier. I also popped him in the tub at the self-service dog wash and fed him treats. I turned the water on and got his feet wet since and gave him more treats he was not bothered by the tub at all. He wanted to drink the water!

I also stopped by his vet's office to see how much he weighs (34lbs). Another reason to stop by the vet's office for this is to continue to build a positive association with the office.

On Sunday we went to a social event put on by my dog training club. He got to met a bunch of English Springer Spaniel puppies that were born the same day he was. He also played with a McNab collie. I was able to let him off leash for that and we practiced some recalls. He did great! It probably helped that I brought really great treats (cooked chicken breast) with me! He also socialized with all the different people. All in all, a great weekend for socialization and a very tired pup!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Who was Merlin?

I thought everyone might like to know a little bit more about Merlin and who he was. Here is the story from Helen who was his breeder and his owner. He had a very special place in her heart.

This is Merlin AKA Ch Aragon Silver Cloud CDX TDX

When I decided to bred Merlin's mother Ch Ekohils Cinnamon Life CD CC TDX I knew I liked the Aroi line. Luckily, Georgiana had a blue brindle male, Aroi Moody Blues aka Martin, a blue brindle boy she was willing to breed. Interestingly I only ended up with two puppies-a black brindle female (like her mother), Jesse, and a blue brindle boy (like his father), Merlin. Merlin earned his name from being the first to escape from the whelping box.

From the start he was full of life and good humor. Although growing up, he was often in the shadow of his sister, I didn't realize the gift of fun I had in him until later. Even though he wasn't the obedience star and would often try my patience; he finished his CD first with multiple HITs (196.5). He finshed his CDX with back to back first places in an all breed trial.

Along with great highs in the obedience ring also came great lows. I remember the time in Open he went out to retrieve the dumbbell (one of his least favorite exercises) and decided it was too heavy to carry so he pushed it with his nose across the ring. About 10 ft of pushing and he decided that it was no fun and he quickly snatched the dumbell up and brought it to me with a proud expression on his face for what he had done. We did pass that day!!! Another time in Open it started raining while doing the retrieve over the high jump. He hated rain and in fact he hated to get wet if it wasn't his idea. He flew over the high jump and skidded into a perfect sit. I thought to myself great one more exercise and....he took off running out of the ring back to the set up. He ran through the Novice obedience ring with both the Open judge and myself yelling at him to come back. He looked over his should at us but Nope he wasn't going to. The last time he showed in Open at our specialty he failed every exercise until we got to the sits and downs-normally our safe exercises. We were coming back to the ring on the long down and facing our dogs. Before the judge could say back to your dogs-he flopped out of line like a fish out of water across the ring to me. Everybody forgot what they were doing watching him. He got halfway across the ring and jumped up with fire in his eyes "WHO WANTS TO PLAY WITH ME". The judge yelled at me to get my dog before he could fail everyone. Oh well.

In tracking training he followed behind his sister for a year while I trained her for TDX. When she passed and it was his turn he had learned everything there was to know for TDX by watching his sister. I entered him in a test with 3 weeks of actual TDX training tracks for him. It was his first test and off we started. We got to the second leg and he decide we were done for the day and stopped tracking-which is why had I started with his sister first. I convinced him that "No we weren't done there was more-and alot more". He agreed and finished the track and earned his TDX on his first attempt. Actually he got both his TD and his TDX on his first attempt.

He also was an awesome runner. He had no use for plastic-I wish I could have shown off his speed and agility to lure coursing people but when he saw the lure he yawned turned his back and never looked at it again. In the open field he was a different dog. I guess I didn't appreciate what he could do, the older we get the more we have seen and the more we have to compare to. In the open field he outsprinted the racing whippets off the line. Greyhounds don't do that-I remember the two Whippets were out of Don Papin WindyGlen line. He just ploughed over top of them and left them behind. That day in the field he didn't draw Athena who had been the Grand Course winner the year before to run against but he was so impressive he beat her in scoring and won the hunt. He then tore a toe ligament and it took quite a while to heal,
it brought back memories of what I had to go through with his mother so I retired him from open field competition.

He was a thief at heart and would steal food in a heartbeat. I can't count how many loaves of bread I left cooling on the counter that disappeared. Yes I should have learned better but....
One time a client gave me a pound of fudge for Christmas. I had to run into a deli for about 2 minutes, I slid it deep under the drivers seat. When I came back out Jesse his sister was in the front seat with an empty container. I yelled at her and put her in the back seat with Merlin. I muttered all the way home both for my stupidity and her thievery. When I got home only Jesse wanted her dinner-Merlin didn't and started vomiting up fudge later. I can just see what happened. Merlin watched where I put the fudge and quick as a bunny he pulled it out and ate it all the while telling his sister how good it was. When he was done he jumped in the back and she went up front to see what was left-and I caught and yelled at her!!

What I remember most about Merlin is his sense of humor and fun in life. In the years I have had greyhounds Merlin is only the second dog I can say truly had a sense of humor. No matter how mad I got at him for something he would look up at me with those laughing eyes saying...but you don't really mean it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Tanner Videos v2

This is our whole unedited training session. You can see him get distracted by the cat and then turn his attention back to me. We did a couple of downs but they were not as snazzy as I like so we moved back to things he was doing well. He is only 13 weeks old and I think he is doing really well!

Tanner hangin' out at Pup-A-Razzi

We love Pup-A-Razzi in Beaverton, Oregon! Tanner hung out there last Tuesday and waited for me to get off work. He and I are taking a puppy preschool class Tuesday evenings from Jen at Pup-A-Razzi (she is fantastic!). Tanner hung out with the Day-Training dogs part of the day and behind the counter for during his frequent nap times. I was a little nervous leaving him where I couldn't micromanage his minute to minute activity. Fortunately, the folks at Pup-A-Razzi understand the value of a well behaved dog. They made sure he didn't raise a ruckus! I think he had a good time. He also made friends with another sighthound. This is Petra, she is 13 weeks old and is also in our puppy class.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Reunited and It Feels So Good!!

Georgiana and I thought it would be nice yesterday if Sterling and Becca got together to get some exercise and burn off that neverending puppy energy. This was the first time they had seen each other since they left Helen's and it was their first "play date". Georgiana dropped Sterling off at my house in the morning, went off to work and came back in the late afternoon to take him home. Did they make up for lost time!!!! The two of them wrestled and ran around until their cute little butts were dragging. :) Here are some photos taken. Then after crashing in the house, did it again several times throughout the day. It was heaven for all concerned--Sterling and Becca with all the playing; Georgiana because she got a break from taking Sterling to work with her, and also me because I got to watch them play all day AND I could spend a little separate time with Shawn who is feeling a little neglected right now with Becca here. We ALL got a wonderful night of sleep since the pups were worn out. In fact, Becca was still tired this morning. We plan to make a weekly event of this.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Videos of Echo

Echo is learning to track. Here is a video of her second time out.

Echo is also working on some basic obedience work using a clicker. You can see her in action in this video clip.

Finally, here is a video of Echo playing with Whisper.

Echo Checks In Again

Yesterday we went tracking for the second time. Just little baby tracks but I think she is getting the idea. The orange flags mark the beginning and end of the track. At the end is glove stuffed with treats. You start by teaching the dog to put their nose on the ground and follow the food scent. Food is every few steps at this point. Pretty soon the dogs are moving out and starting to miss the food drops. At that point you increase the distance between drops and the dog is learning to track rather than just look for food. Somehow the dogs teach themselves that the funny smell(people scent) on the ground leads to a big jackpot at the end and hurry to get to it. I am going to try to post a video of her baby track-and then a video of Whisper tracking on a 3 hour old track with only a food cache on each leg to every other leg. I learned the hard way to never take all the food off the track-the only time my dogs track without food is on a certifying or an actual AKC test track. There has to be something in it for the dogs to continue with enthusasium-be it a toy or food. Hopefully Echo will be my 8th TD greyhound.