Sunday, May 27, 2012

Greyhound Sits

One of the greatest myths I hear with greyhounds is they can't sit. If I had a dime for everytime I heard that I would be rich. In fact greyhounds can and do sit of their own chosing. I do think it is more uncomfortable for them to sit on hard surfaces than other breeds but they can even learn to do that.

I start my puppies young and encourage sitting from the time they are 6 weeks old. They get treats when they sit. The above picture is Lyric's litter around 6-7 weeks old(Echo, Darby,Tanner, Becca and Bryn). They all learned to sit quite willingly and readily.

In the video below Echo is about 9.5 weeks. She has learned to sit but is being reinforced for this behavior with a clicker. The video shows sitting, downing, touch and leave it.

One thing I never ask my puppies to do is to sit on hard surfaces until they are rock solid with their sits. I think it must hurt their hocks and rears and  have found they will often avoid sitting on concrete or asphalt if possible.

Occationally in the show ring the puppy gets confused and will sit instead of stand for the judge. So what! I tell the judge the puppy must be confused about which ring it's in and the judges are quite impressed. They even tell me "but a greyhound can't sit".

A good solid sit is important for obedience as well as for photo taking.

Echo has the most rock solid steady sit of any dog. In fact I followed her thoughout the day and caught her sitting several times just  because.

A good sit is useful for so many things so get out and train your hounds!!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Greyhound Carpal Joints

Over the years I have been amazed at the variation I have seen of the carpal (wrist) joint in greyhounds. Since the carpal joint acts as a shock absorber for the foot, it is very important that it is built correctly. 

The correct leg (below) has a slight bend at the carpus.

An overextended carpal joint (below) is very weak and leads to breakdown of the joint.

An upright carpal joint (one with no bend) can lead to a lot of toe injuries since there is no give to the
joint. I have had one dog that had carpal joints like this and he lived in splints and casts through much of his life due to toe injuries. Both of the pictures below depict upright carpal joints.

Probably the worst carpal joint position is one that is overflexed. It is extremely rare and extremely unsound and incorrect. A dog with a wrist like this (below) can never be functional.


In addition to carpal joint angulation, foot position is also important. Most people believe that the correct foot position is straight forward as in the picture below.

Open field coursing folk would rather have a slight toe-out position (below) as they feel the dog can turn faster and easier thus staying with the hare.

Certainly a "pigeon toed" or "toed-in" front is not functional.  A dog with this foot position, such as the one below, could not handle the stress of running.

In summary, a greyhound is a powerful breed that puts incredible strain on its legs and feet.  A correct carpal joint and foot position is important to keeping the dog sound through the years.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Introducing Tanner RN!

This past weekend, Tanner finished his RN title in fine style.  The trial was held in a horse riding arena at a local fairground.  This was a new environment for Tanner and he handled it well.  Fortunately, we showed late in the day.  That gave him lots of time to acclimate to the new surroundings.

My main goal was to make his first several ring performances fun and low key.  I wanted him to have good experiences to build off of.  

He had a bit of a brain fart on the first sign so we had to repeat that station.  Otherwise, I was pretty pleased with how well he did. I love his nice focused heeling!  Towards the end, he started to get tired of having to stop and do stuff. I think he would prefer the longer heeling patterns in traditional obedience.  We are going to tackle Beginner Novice next.

The best part is that even though we had to repeat a station (our final score was a 96), we earned 4th place!