Monday, August 27, 2012

Tanner's Kitten

Tanner is a big, affable, gentle hound; most of the time. What you may not know is that he inherited a very strong prey drive.  Our back yard is varmint free thanks in large part to Tanner (he has Shine to help find and flush).  

Fortunately, he grew up with a cat.  He has learned to play gently with Ember and to respect her teeth and claws.  I like to think that he has learned to appreciate the warmth she provides when she snuggles with him.

However, not all cats are treated with the same regard.  Our neighborhood is home to several feral or "free range" cats. For the most part, they have learned to stay out of the yard or the pay the price.  It's not something I like, but it is something that I have had to accept about living with and loving greyhounds.
It is under these dire conditions the dogs discovered Newt who was abandoned, wet, and scared.  She was bawling and spitting and pinned down by Shine and Tanner between a gate and part of the retaining wall on the side of the house. This pathetic cub was little more then prey to these two fearless hunters and they were eager to dispatch the intruder.  Fortunately for her, a wisp of chain-link was between her and Tanner's teeth. 

I heard the commotion from this assault and had to act quickly. The dogs were put back in the house under protest.  I grabbed the empty carrier I keep on hand for just such emergencies and guided the terrified kitten into it.  Once rescued, this little sweetie spit hate, contempt and suspicion at me for at least 24 hours.  It was a Friday night and we were going to be gone for the most of the next day.  I wouldn't be able to take her to the pound for a prolonged period of time so I fixed her up in a wire dog crate surrounded by an x-pen in the laundry room.  

However, once she got over her initial fright and warmed up to me, we discovered that she has a terrific little temperament. The trip to the pound was postponed.

We wondered, could Tanner learn to accept her without trying to eat her?  

Newt spent a lot of time behind her buffer.  Tanner was rewarded for acting calmly in her vicinity.  Anytime he started to get spooled up or his eyes started to dilate, he was removed (but nicely).  Eventually, he started ignoring her and fixated on why I wasn't spending time with him.

Once cleared of disease and illness by our vet, Newt moved into the house.  Her interactions with Tanner were hyper-controlled.  She is fearless.  She does not act like prey.  Once Tanner learned to be gentle with her, he became one of her favorite playmates.

We have rules. They are never left out together. Tanner cannot stand up and play with Newt.  If he does, they get separated.    If she is running rampant around the floor, kicking up his prey drive, they get separated.  She has learned to keep her claws in check (for the most part). If he gets overwhelmed or is tired of getting picked on, he stands up and walks away.  I keep her from going after him (she loves his tail). 

If he is laying on the couch, she will run over and cuddle up with him. When he lays on the floor, she likes to lay between his front legs.  They have figured out a way to play together.  It's pretty cute. This video is a little dark but you can see how they play.

I am very happy that they can coexist in the house.  However, I will not let my guard down.  I will not leave them unchaperoned.  I micromanage them constantly.  Fortunately, Tanner's temperament is easygoing enough that it works as long as his prey drive is not turned on. 

Newt's trip to the pound is officially canceled !

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Agility Training With Breeze

Most of the agility posts show the dog trained and competing. But years of work go into the performance. Breeze has been doing little baby lessons in agility. I have a hard time training on my own and she isn't advanced enough to officially enter a class. When I have the time I can take a private lesson with my trainer.

I think Breeze has a lot of potential-she enjoys the training and never wants to stop. She is fast and agile. She reminds me alot of Whisper when she was a youngster. One of the biggest problems I have is trying to get to work a distance from me, she always wants to come into me.

Below is one of our private lesson which we worked on getting her to work away and ahead of me. What isn't visible on the video is the toy throw at the end of the jump so she continues forward rather than come into me.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lompoc Part 3 2012

After the shows the fun began. Several of Whisper's puppies were at  the show  and got together for a photo shoot Whisper(Ch MACH Aragon Lunar Eclipse VCD2 TDX RE OF JC) and Brego(GCH Aroi Aryal Remarkable). In the back row is Breeze(Aragon Northern Lights), Emma(Aragon Emerald Hills),Goose(Aragon Golden Canyon),Riser(Aragon Full Moon Rising) and Willa(Aragon Desert Willow). Unfortunately Bruce(Aragon Helios Blue Spruce) had to leave with his owner to go over and help set up the lure trial.They have just turned a year old.

Then it was Lyric's puppies turn. Laying down in the front row is Tanner(Ch Aragon Silver Oak RN) and Darby(BISS GCH Aragon Aroi Silver Lining RE CD). Back row is Becca(Ch Aragon Morning Mist BN CD RA) Echo(GCH Aragon Black Ice VCD1 RE AX OAJ) Lyric(BISS GCH Aryal Aroi Stoney Ridge VCD2 RE AX AXJ SC) and Bryn(GCH Aragon Mystic Pearl) with their respective owners. Nice to have the whole litter back together . They are now 3 1/2 yrs old.

Then it was over to the lure course to let the dogs have some fun.  Unfortunately lure course pictures are still pending. But all the dogs got to run and the puppies got a short fun run practice.

Then it was over to Lisa's RV in the evening for BBQ, drinks, socializing and well earned rest. Puppies seem to have endless energy and Breeze was no exception. Despite sleeping in a new hotel, showing all day in sweeps and the classes, photo shoot, and lure coursing she kept on going. Below is her playing with Darby, Dede, Andretti and Q(the token greyhound or a real Italian greyhound) in Lisa's RV.

Then back to show to start all over again the next day!

Exhausting but definitely fun. Hope to see more friends in 2013 at Lompoc.