Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sterling update

An update on the “elusive” Aragon Aroi Silver Lining aka Sterling. At 6 mths he has developed into a handsome and personable young man. He has visited and seen lots of new places and made new dog friends. He is an exceptionally social dog-every person and dog he meets is his friend. He handles new situations well, no nervousness or shyness. All the puppies in his litter seem to have great people and dog skills.

All the puppies seem to be very toy oriented and Sterling is no exception. Of all the puppies he is the best retriever-even to his willingness to carry metal(spoons) in his mouth. All the pups like tugging-great for encouraging handler/puppy bond and performance drive.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Whisper's weekend

While Tanner was off to his first dog show Whisper entered another agility trial. I think we are finally getting this agility thing down. It is a great feeling when you and the dog are in sync with each other. We did well competing in the Excellent class. We earned two more jumpers legs to finish our Excellent Jumpers title with one first and one third place. We earned another Excellent Standard leg for our second leg with a first place. We missed an entrance to the chute or she would have finished her Excellent Std title as well. I think now we only just have to tweak little things to make us a good reliable team.

Here the three videos of her qualifying runs from this weekend.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tanner's First Show

Tanner and I went to the Cascade Hound Club shows this weekend. Since it is a specialty show, we had sweepstakes as well as the regular classes to compete in. Tanner did wonderfully. My main goal was to make sure that he had fun. Boy did he ever! Several people told me that he looked like he was having the most fun out of all the greyhounds in the ring! That is the best compliment for my puppy! I was too busy chatting with friends and making sure Tanner was having a good time to take pictures. These pictures were taken by my friend and fellow greyhound lover Steve.

I didn't want to put any pressure on Tanner so I didn't ask for much. I played with him with his sheepskin before we went in just to make sure he was awake and alert. At home, we have been working on "wait". I lure him into stacking his front feet straight then ask him to wait while I pull the treat away from him about a foot and "bait" him. He looks at the treat with his ears alert and then I tell him he's a good boy and pop the treat in his mouth. He likes the "wait" game! He did this great at the show! I was able to bait him this way all the times we were in the ring and he did it perfectly! Well, a couple times he took a step or two but he did much better than I expected. I also asked for a couple nose touches and paw whacks while he was in there and he did those for me too. While waiting outside the ring he relaxed and literally took a nap even with all the other dogs milling about.

The first time we were in the ring on Saturday he jumped up at my hands and the lead and wanted to play while gaiting. I just stopped and then started again. I walked with him for several steps at the beginning of each time we gaited and then only trotted after he started to. By the end of the show today, we was gaiting almost perfectly! I say almost because we went slowly to keep him in a trot instead of bucking, galloping and playing!

We didn't win any points this weekend but we weren't really expecting to (although it would have been nice!).

I also handed his leash to a variety of different trustworthy friends when I need to run errands. My friends plied him with treats and affection while I was gone. He did great at staying calm and milking the strangers for treats and affections until I came back. He was, of course, happy to see me and I was pleased that we wasn't stressed out by my absence.

All in all, a great first show weekend for Tanner and I!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Whisper's agility weekend

This weekend Whisper and I went off to an agility trial. We just started competing at the Excellent level and it is often a humbling experience. The courses are quite complex with many side changes and it is difficult memorize. Looking at the runs for the Novice and Open courses-they seem so easy. However, they didn't seem that way when we were running them!

This weekend in Excellent, Whisper hit all of her contacts!!!!!!!! Hitting the contacts, especially the down dogwalk, has been a bit of a challenge. Although we didn’t qualify Saturday I was still pleased with touching all the contacts. I recently started retraining Whisper to a two-on two-off position instead of a running contact (ha, Whisper calls it a leaping contact). I am slowing her down on all her contacts in the standard run. It slows her time down but it is making her pay attention to foot placement when she is amped and excited.

One of the challenges of agility (at least for me) is changing strategy in midrun. You can plan a course but while running I often end up being in the wrong place or have wrong timing for a cross. In the opening standard sequence in the video below, Whisper decides to break the sit stay (she has never done that) and I can’t get into the planned start position. Off I have to run and figure out how I should handle the next obstacle. You can see in the standard run I have a hard time getting Whisper to sit on the table too (another thing to work on) and got frustrated. I am so excited when she finally holds the 5 second sit that I am out of place for the next obstacle. Ah, well at least we get that handled successfully. Towards the end of the standard run I send her into the tunnel and then we just have the jump sequence left to leave the ring. I am so excited by qualifying up to this point that I forget which side I need to have her on. Luckily for me, Whisper knew what needed to be done with little direction from me and qualified. Several times she has held up her end of the partnership better than I. That day she double Q'ed (earned a standard and jumpers leg)-our first. She also earned a first place in each class! There ere upwards of 10 dogs in each class!!

All in all a motivating weekend!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Water Puppies

Now that summer has began, another trait of Lyric's puppies is surfacing.
They all love water! It is not unusual for greys to like to dip their feet in wading pools or walk in water up to their wrists. However Lyric's puppies seem fascinated with water-the wetter the better. After Echo got done playing with the rainbird sprinkler head she had enough water on her to qualify for a bath.

I wonder if water tolerance is heritable? All of my greys have hated to perform outdoors(except running) in the rain. Merlin actually ran out of the open obedience ring once when it rained. My biggest dread in tracking is pull a track in the pouring rain. Well I have been lucky for years but my luck ran out last year. Lyric's tracking trial day arrived with a HUGE downpour. Several people didn't show up due to the rain knowing either their dogs wouldn't work in that much rain or thought the trial would probably be cancelled. I went and kept my fingers crossed for a cloud break. By the time Lyric's track had aged enough we drove out and when I got out of the car was
almost blown over in the rain now with a fierce wind. I was sure she wouldn't work but opened the back door anyway. Both Whisper and Lyric stuck their heads out and Whisper quickly withdrew to the back of the car. Lyric hopped out and although obviously not pleased walked up to the track and quickly got down to business. She ran the first several legs and turns. Finally the track turned back into the stinging rain, I literally had to squint my eyes to see ahead. She had had enough and stopped tracking and started pulling to go back to the car. Although we didn't pass that day I was surprised at how well she was willing to work in such bad conditions. She then easily passed a few weeks later at the next test we drew into.

Here are two videos of Lyric's puppies playing in the water.
This is pearl:

This is Becca:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tanner's take on toys

Tanner has some interesting tastes when it comes to toys. The truth is, he is not very picky. If he can pick it up, he will play with it.

Here are two pictures of Tanner playing with his baby doll. I really don't know how it came to be but he unearthed this from the garden. He loved to carry his baby doll around, it was a favorite but it didn't last long.

He does have other favorites. In the house, he likes shoes and paper. Here is a picture of what happened when I took my eye off him for less than 5 minutes. There was no damage since it really was less than 5 minutes!

Outside he prefers light weight things. I did not take pictures of the plastic pots, the discarded beer can (I have no idea where it came from) or the many pieces of sod I discovered him playing with. I guess it isn't a surprise since his mom's favorite toy is a plastic water bottle with some rocks inside. She will even jump into a pond to retrieve it!

He loves to chew on wood and also loves to pull trophies out of the pile of small branches in the corner of the yard. Weeds that I have pulled also make great trophies.

Generally, the lighter the toy the better. He loves to find something lightweight, pick it up and then run circuits around the yard with it. Old 4 inch plastic pots often make it in through the dog door too. Not what I want him playing with but he does have a mind of his own! As you can see, I have purchased plenty of appropriate, safe and costly toys for him to play with.

He still prefers the plastic pots and last year's corn stalks!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy half-year birthday!

The litter is now six months old and can legally enter dog shows. Many of the pups have a ring debut scheduled between now and the Western Combined Sighthound Specialties in Lompoc this summer. It's going to be a fun reunion when we get the pups together again in July!

Special thanks to the many, many people that helped make this litter possible!

Here's a picture of their big life debut 6 months ago!