Monday, February 27, 2012

Puppy Tracking

The other week three of the puppies Breeze, Goose and Emma and owners got together for tracking. Generally when I start puppies tracking it is very short and simple with lots of rewards. The puppies follow the food drops to find the glove. Very quickly the puppies learn the human scent leads to the glove and food drops become less important.

I will start with a hungry puppy on a collar and 6 foot leash. The puppy watches the person lay the track. Initially the track is double laid meaning the track layer walks out in the field about 40-50 feet dropping food every few steps along the way, places the glove with food in/on it and turns around and walks back on the track. As soon as he crosses the start line the puppy is started on the track. In the beginning I never let the puppy get more than a foot or two off the track. If and when they start to wander off the track the handler stops walking and redirects the puppy back on the track. At this point a handler should always know where the track is.
Goose demonstrates starting a dog on a beginner track.

Once the dog is excited and pulling forward on the track, it is single laid meaning only walked once. Again food drops are very frequent to keep the dog on course. The dog should be constantly pulling forward at the end of the leash and if it looses the scent, should cast around to find it again. When a dog starts showing this behavior it has started tracking. At this point I take them off leash and collar and put them in a tracking and line.

When the dog is pulling forward tracking I will gradually move back from the dog. In a tracking trial the handler has to be at least 20 feet back from the working dog. In the early stages I am up close to the dog never letting the dog get discouraged and will reshow them the track as many times as it takes for them to be successful. Although Breeze had run a similar track the day before beautifully the track on this day was too hard for her. She seemed confused about what to do on the track. When the jackrabbit popped up in front of her(2 minutes 7 seconds into the video) she had a hard time refocusing. I was constantly pointing out the track and telling her to find it. In training dogs have good days and bad days. They don't always progress the way we want them to progress. Breeze's track is one of those days. Wish I videoed her the day before!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Checking Our Progress

Last week during our obedience class, Tanner and I did a run through of a Beginner Novice routine.  The purpose was to see how well Tanner would work through an entire routine with no primary reinforcement.  We videoed the exercise for later analysis.

I can see that I need to remember to ease into the changes of pace (rather than taking off like a rocket).  I also need to plan my figure 8 better.  You can see that Tanner does not respond to my first recall cue.  Another place for more work.

All in all, I am quite proud of my boy.  I love his attitude and beautiful heeling. He doesn't fade during the routine and seems nonplussed by the lack of primary reinforcement.  Once we were done, we ran over to the side of the ring where I had hidden a jackpot of treats.


Isn't he awesome?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Greyhound Feet

It is said "No foot No greyhound" and there is truth in that statement. Certainly foot/toe injuries rank high in our breed. The function of the toes is to help grip the surface, turn and push off while moving. The toe needs to be strong and flexible.

Our standard calls for a foot more hare than cat like. Through the years of working with and having greyhounds I have seen many different foot types ranging from overarched to flat feet.

Flat foot prone to toe injuries

A hare foot is thought to be the strongest foot to hold up to running/turning. A hare foot has a slightly greater than 90 degree angle between P1 and P2.

Examples of a hare foot

A cat foot has a 90 degree angle between P1-P2. I personally have never had increased injuries from a foot like this but I prefer a hare foot.

Cat Foot

The last foot type to mention is the overarched foot. The P1-P2 has a less than 90 degree. It would seem to be very punishing on the toes and luckily is an uncommon foot to find.

Overarched toes. This foot is less flexible and more prone to injuries.

No matter what type of foot the hound has, long toenails can increase the injuries. Keep those toenails short and take care of those hound feet!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rest and Relaxation

Emma(Aragon Emerald Hills) and Goose(Aragon Golden Canyon) are both in handling classes, agility classes and soon to be obedience classes. Busy puppies but they take time for a little R&R!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Puppy Agility

Last weekend 5 of Whisper's puppies got together for an agility lesson Riser, Kahlua, Emma, Goose and Breeze. All the puppies got to learn the various agility equipment and beginning handling.

Goose loved the wobble board-the beginning equipment to teach the teeter. At ground level they learn equipment may be unstable under their feet but all is okay. Goose kept trying to jump on the wobble board and wanted to demonstrate his skill for all. Janet had a hard time keeping him off the board so other dogs could practice.

Next taught was the table. Lots of praise and treats for jumping and staying on the table. Kahlua with Shelby demonstrates how to earn treats and praise for something so easy.

The Aframe was lowered but even then some puppies were nervous. Riser was very unsure about this piece of equipment and thought it may be best to skip it. Marie persisted and after he went up and down a couple of times Marie couldn't keep him off of it. He kept dragging her over to climb it again and again and again.

Then came the tunnel, scary to some, fun for others. Breeze has a tunnel in the backyard so has been going through one since she could walk. All learned to go through but some had more enthusiasm than others.

Then came the jumping, single jumps only 12 inches high were practiced.

Finally the puppies graduated to a series of two, then three, then four jumps in a row. Emma demonstrates how it is done-and with style.

Finally the lesson was done-handlers tired but the puppies still wanted more.