Monday, December 31, 2012

MACH2 Whisper

This past weekend Whisper earned her MACH2 under judges Mark Upshaw and Paula Ratoza. I owe a big thanks to Lorie Abbott for getting Whisper and I started on our way, and Jim Basic and Nancy Gyes for teaching us how to handle a course and trying to polishing our handling(no easy task)
Our first run is Jumpers, always our favorite.

Standard is always more challenging. The contacts are a killer!

More videos of the weekend to follow.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a happy and successful year.

And no my hounds aren't dressed up often-they don't approve!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Laparoscopic spay and gastropexy

Recently I made a decision to have Lyric spayed with a prophylactic gastropexy. Because bloat/torsion is such a big problem in our breed, it seemed a wise move to do both procedures under one anesthesia.

Veterinary medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. Minimally invasive surgery is becoming more common. Instead of a dog being opened from the upper part of the abdomen to the pelvis for the above procedures, two small holes are placed in the side, instruments inserted and procedure is performed. Although it still requires general anesthesia the recovery time is much faster. Lyric's procedure was performed early afternoon, by the next day she was looking for breakfast and wanting to go out for a walk.

One week later she acts as if nothing had happened.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Then and Now - Part 2 Whisper's Litter

The last post featured Lyric's litter as 6 week old puppies and 4 year old adults. Now for Whisper's litter as 6 week olds and 1 1/2 year old youngsters. Although they still will mature more, the basics are there. Over the next two year, they will fill out and develop more muscling and strength. The girls generally reach physical maturity around 2 years and the boys around 3 years.

Bruce at 6 weeks

Bruce at 1 1/2 years

Breeze at 6 weeks

Breeze at 1 1/2 years

Goose at 6 weeks

Goose as a 1 1/2 years

Kahlua at 6 weeks

Kahlua at 1 1/2 years

Willa/Freyja at 6 weeks

Willa/Freyja at 1 1/2 years

Riser at 6 weeks

Riser at 1 1/2 years

Thor at 6 weeks

Thor at 1 1/2 years

Willow at 6 weeks

Willow at 1 1/2 years

Emma at 6 weeks

Emma at 1 1/2 years

It surprises me how they change. The puppies seem to have no necks and roached backs.  Yet, within a year they develop lovely swan necks and flatter toplines.
I am also surprised at how much ticking/freckling the parti colors have developed.
All in all it is hard to see what the finished adult will look like as a puppy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Then and Now - Part 1 Lyric's Litter

Recently a friend asked me to evaluate her new greyhound puppy. It may seem like a simple request but each line develops so differently, what may be normal in one line maybe a problem in another.

There is an art to evaluating a litter, a skill that I am still perfecting. My mentor in the breed is a long time greyhound breeder Georgiana Mueller. I send photos of each litter to her for evaluating and try to learn from her comments.

Generally, greyhound puppies are best evaluated at 6 weeks before they go through growth spurts that cause them to look funny.

I am posting 6 week old puppy pictures and then grown up pictures of Whisper as a puppy as well as 5 puppies from Lyric's litter (Darby, Echo, Tanner, Bryn and Becca). Try to gauge for yourself what they will look like when they grow up. I will show pictures from Whisper's litter in the next post.

 Whisper at 8 wks

Whisper as an adult

Darby at 6 wks

Darby as an adult

Echo at 6 wks

Echo as an adult

Tanner at 6 wks

 Tanner as an adult

Bryn at 6 wks

Bryn as an adult

Becca at 6 wks

Becca as an adult

After looking at these pictures do you any similarities between the puppies and the adults?  What changed?  What stayed the same?

Monday, December 3, 2012

November Agility Videos

Whisper and I are starting to get back in sync. At the last trial we QQed 3 out of 3 days. She is running faster than she looks in the videos. Our jumpers runs were always well over 5 yards per second(normally fast for us). Her standard runs I am trying to make her hold her contact position and table position so that is slowing  us down a bit. I thought I would post her first days runs-her 17th QQ.

As I mentioned in the last post, a friend Sylvina Bruera let me run both her Border collies in the trial on the standard course. Maja I have run once before three years ago. TCam I have never run. Why did Sylvina let me try running them at the trial? Who cares- I was game to try. I have never run so fast. Both of Sylvina's dogs are good in the weave poles so I can leave and head to the next obstacle. Whisper and I could use some of those skills. Her dogs are also good about leaving them at the table and getting them into position for the next obstacle. Again Whisper and I need to learn from them. Because of those skills I was able to serp out the weaves-definitely had my running shoes on for that run!! Sylvina's dogs have such good 2 on 2 off contacts that I couldn't get TCam off the AFrame. Both were fun to run even if TCam and I didn't qualify.

By the next day my legs were sore!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

November Agility

After Echo injured her toe I was bummed about the Thanksgiving agility trial. She and Whisper were entered and I was looking forward to taking just the two of them to the trial. Some competition, some down time and some play time with just the two dogs. Since this is my favorite agility site I decided to go but take Lyric instead. The show site is Murietta Equine Center and has lots of walking trails for the dogs.

Between the runs I walked both dogs around the area and discovered flocks of redwinged blackbirds, killdeer, geese, meadowlarks and a host of other birds.

Along the way we stopped and visited curious friends

There were ponds dotting the property

All in all a relaxing way to spend the time between the runs.

Because Lyric is working on her TDX it was a perfect location to lay track and run at the end of the day. I laid short training tracks two days in a row. The first day she learned that track can cross roads and they need to be searched for along side and across the road. The second day she learned that tracks can be 3+hours old. She did super and encouraged me to try for her TDX this year.

In addition to the hiking and tracking we met a professional photographer who takes and sells pictures to Brown Trout calendars. If you see a black and white parti and a red dog in next years calendars-that is probably Lyric and Whisper taken this weekend.

During the down time between Whisper's runs a friend let me run her two Border Collies Maja and TCam. I should say these are World Competition caliber dogs. One dog TCam was on the world team which was held in the Czech Republic this year. What a blast!!! I had so much fun handling a different breed and yes Border collies are fast and agile. It is like trying to control a launched missile. My legs hurt the next day from trying to handle/run them. Videos will be in the next post.

After the day it was back to the hotel to relax. I often have a hard time relaxing at home. Too many chores to do. In a hotel there is nothing to do but relax, read a good book, watch TV and cuddle with the dogs. Too fun!!! A great weekend.
Videos on Whisper's, Maja's and TCam's run on the next post.

And yes Whisper did great also. She earned 3 more QQs this weekend giving her 19 QQs towards her MACH2!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Injured Toe

Well it had to happen. Just as Echo and I were getting ready for Open obedience competition and to jump back into agility she injured a toe. The freaky thing was she wasn't lame at a walk or trot. It was only when she was running in the yard with Breeze and would turn that she would briefly hold up her right paw. When I looked sure enough her right outside toe was swollen.

Her other leg

So she went to work with me for xrays and an orthopedic exam.

It turns out she has a small chip fracture off  of her P2 bone and a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament. The bone chip should heal with no problems-a month of splint rest. The ligament tear may or may not heal. My past experience with ligament tears is they need surgery and months of rest. Since this is only a partial tear, I am hoping a month or so will cause substantial  healing. We injected(her) platelet rich plasma around the joint/ligament tear/chip fracture. Platelet rich plasma has at least 4 different growth factors. This enhances increased fibroblastic activity that turns to collagen. It is also anti-inflammatory. It causes more normal collagen to be laid down than scar tissue. At least this is the theoretical benefit.
So for now it is a month of splint rest than reasses the toe. If the ligament is still partially torn then she has surgery and is out for several more months.

With greyhounds you have to expect injuries but it doesn't make it any easier to live with.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Greyhound Obedience

I post so much on agility but I also do obedience. For years I have struggled with a happy working hound in obedience. Although most greyhounds can get through a CD it is hard to get a dog who wants to work. Many years ago I changed obedience trainers and what a difference in my dogs attitudes. They seem eager to work and will at times bark for their turn for training. Echo is getting ready to compete in Open obedience so I met my trainer Terry in the park for a run through.

What a happy working dog- I love it. Stupidly I didn't have Terry pick up the drop bar on Echo's drop on recall. The bar is suppose to be a reminder to the dog to drop. I stopped using it a few months ago because it was distracting. Her drop on recall is usually very fast although not reliable yet.

For people who are wondering what Breeze is doing I included a short training video of her learning to heel. Breeze generally doesn't work for anyone else but Terry took her to demonstrate  how to get  better heel position/front foot placement. Rather than have the dog bump into the handler and lag on turns she also  wanted to demonstrate how Breeze was to pivot her rear end on corners to turn with the handler.

We ended the session teaching Breeze to have a happy fast recall. She is coming in for a toy and loves to tug.

For people who are interested in obedience with greyhounds I can't stress enough, find a trainer who is open to new suggestions and new ways of teaching. Watch how they interact with their dogs when they do well and when they do poorly. Watch how the dogs work them-happy?nervous?fearful?
A greyhound is not a Golden retriever or Border collie they learn differently. A greyhound gets bored quickly. Repetition is not their friend and they need a lot of lureing for the correct behavior. Lastly I would suggest taking private lesson for one on one attention.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Goose's 1st JC leg

Since the last post kept deleting Goose's JC leg I thought I would do a separate post to feature his run.
This is only his second time running a lure and is certainly enjoying it.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lure Coursing

Since I do a fair amount of performance sports I am hesitant to lure course and risk the injuries to the dogs. It can take time off training to rehab injuries but the dogs do love to run. I had a free weekend and thought I would take both Echo and Breeze down to a 2 day lure course and let them run. Both ran for a JC leg. The first day we were there we met another greyhound Hattie Peach owned by Audrey Hsia who was present to certify for ASFA.

 Breeze ran her first JC leg-her first time chasing the lure around the entire course, Echo ran for her 2nd JC leg and Hattie certified for ASFA.
Echo's run:

Hattie's run:

The next day Goose and Emma-Breeze's littermates came out to run for their JC as well. At 15 months they also had only run the lure once before. All dogs had a grand time running, no injuries and lots of tired dogs!

Breeze's run

Goose's run

Emma's run

None of the puppies will be coursed until they have grown up quite a bit and take things more seriously. All fell asleep as soon as the car started home, proving the old saying "a good dog is a tired dog".