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.