Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Greyhound Specialty and Rally

This past weekend was the Greyhound Club of Northern California specialty. It is in conjunction with an all breed show so all performance venues(obedience and rally) are with all the other breeds. Bryn went Winners Bitch for her second major and 3 more points. She was the only Aragon dog to win anything in conformation that day. Lyric and Echo went unplaced but had a good time. The next day however Lyric won the breed.

The highlight of the show was Echo's performance in Rally Advance. This was her first time in the class and the first time off leash in competition. She not only worked with me the whole time but held her attention as well. She won the class over Border collies, goldens and other "typical" obedience breeds. It certainly was unexpected.

The next day she was in again but it was tight squeeze to run from the conformation ring to the Rally ring. As I ran up to the Rally ring they were calling for us and consequently we had no time to warm up. Once again she performed beyond what I could have hoped for. Half way through the video notice the rain. She stayed with me and worked the entire time. Once again she won the class with a perfect score of 100. Way to go Echo-I think the distractable puppy is finally growing up!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TDX Part 2

A tracking test takes alot of people and time to put on the event. The San Joaquin Dog Training Club Tracking Trial offered 5 TDX tracks plus 1 alternate track and 7 TD tracks. All in all it took about 25 club members, judges and two days of work to host the event. A big Thank You to the club!

Whisper drew 4th track of the day, the wait seemed for hours and the day started warming up. Warm weather ages the track faster amd makes for harder tracking conditions. All the dogs before her had failed their tracks for one reason or another.

Hers was the only track that we had to drive forever to the start. The drive out seemed like miles of dirt roads and rolling hills. At one point a stream/small river crossed the road and the bottom of the road wasn't visable. Not having 4 wheel drive in my van I held my breathe and crossed the steam imagining what would happen if my van got stuck in water in the middle of no where. We made it and continued driving and driving to the start. We were so far away from base camp only the judges and tracklayer were at the start flag waiting for us to arrive.

At a TDX start the track direction is unknown, the dog has to figure out which way to start. Whisper started off with confidence she knew the direction. Allowing the line to go out 20 feet I followed her. She easily found and made the first turn. On her second leg she stopped and as I sent her on to continue tracking she picked up her first intermediate artcle. Luckily she did as articles are not always visable. If the dog/handler team pass any article without the handler picking it up the team fails. So far so good. The third leg went up a steep steep hill, panting after her I realized I wasn't in as good a shape as I had been in years past. Up the hill then down the hill, turn into a forest and major milk thistle weeds. She didn't want to go through the thistle and came back to ask if I really wanted her to. Yes she needed to go and off she went.

Intense concentration is needed by both the dog and owner during the track. Watching the dogs tracking behavior is important to stay on track. Is the dog crittering(no), going off on cross tracks(no), past a corner and indicating loss of track(no), what is the wind doing to the track scent(?), roads may not be crossed directly but at an angle or paralleled-if the dog can't find the track did she/he search 360 degrees around the handler to figure out what happened to the track? That and a myriad of other concerns are always in the handlers mind tracking.

Whisper made it easy, she did the entire track with no help. Turns were spot on, articles indicated and picked up, roads crossed and track picked up on the opposite side with no help. Except for following along behind her I did very little and was suprised when the track ended, it seemed too short and easy. In fact when she stopped tracking on the 7th leg I didn't think we were done and tried to send her on tracking. She picked up the glove looked at me and tried to toss it at me.
We were done and the first team to pass that day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The journey to Whisper's TDX is finally over-she earned it at the San Joaquin Dog Training Club trial April 10. The grounds were beautiful-the Comanche Hills Hunting Preserve in Ione Ca.

To earn a TDX title a dog has to follow a 3-5 hour old track for 800-1000 yards. Along the way they have to identify all the articles dropped by the track layer(3 plus the start article), ignore cross tracks which are fresher easier scent to follow and overcome significant obstacles(road crossings, steep hills, downed trees, water crossings etc). Trouble in any one of these areas will cause the dog to fail. Although I have earned several TDXs on my greyhounds it is never an easy title and typically takes my greyhounds about 30 minutes of intense concentration to complete the track.

This was our third attempt at a TDX trial. The previous two trials we made it to the second to the last leg before failing. The tracking pictures were from a previous trial as I had no one to take pictures at this trial.

The day was beautiful although we drew fourth track and by the time it had aged sufficently it was starting to warm up. She started strongly and never looked back, 13 minutes and 858 yards later we found the glove and she earned her TDX.

After all the dogs had run their tracks a pot luck was held the club and awards given out to the dogs that successfully completed their track. TDX trials typically have a pass rate of around 15% athough the trial that day 3/6 dogs earned their TDX.

Ch Aragon Lunar Eclipse VCD2 RE MX MXJ TDX NF JC (and Echo)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Shout out to Jen and Riley

Recently, our friend Jen from Never Say Never Greyhounds and her greyhound Riley were invited to compete in agility at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge.

They did a great job and Riley really showed everyone how competitive a greyhound can be. Jen is a great trainer in both agility and obedience and has been very successful with her greyhounds. You can read all about her experience at the challenge on her blog.