Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Gift

People sometimes wonder why we show dogs. It is not about winning or losing but rather the time spent together with friends and dogs. One day I was talking to Marie about this and she told me a  touching story that happened to her at a show. I asked her to write it as I wanted to publish it. This is what dog showing is all about.
In the story below "Gator" is Ch Windrock Blue Bayou                                                 

Showing a dog is more than just the work involved in the actual judging ring.  There is often a myriad of surprises.  Some are good and some are not so good. But the fun is always there in some form or another.
A few years ago,  Gator was invited to the Eukanuba National in Long Beach, Ca. He did not place, but I experienced a once in a lifetime event. 
Fortunately, my daughter and I stayed to watch Greg Louganis and his #1 ranked Jack Russell Terrier in Agility.  As we waited (and waited), a little girl ( about 6-8) approached me and asked to pet Gator. I told her “sure, he would love it.”  She and her family had been looking for him since the judging was over.
She handed me a plastic bag. She said, “ we think you were robbed during the show and we want you to have this.”  I looked at her Mom and older sister and they were smiling and nodding their heads in agreement.
Rather reluctantly, I replied “Thank you” and looked in the bag.
 It was a Bronze sculpture of a Greyhound lying down. I nearly cried when I saw it. I had looked at it at the vendor and almost bought it, but it was  nearly $60.00. I decided I didn’t need it that much.
But, after giving her a big hug, I tried to not accept such a gift. But she and her family were adamant regarding his deserving something and would not relent. She actually started to weep at the idea that I wouldn’t take it.  I couldn’t stand both of us crying so I accepted.
I don’t even remember how Louganis did in Agility that day, but I will always remember the experience of the GIFT from someone so appreciative and the relationship that Gator had with the dog lovers present. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tracking Season

 Tracking with Greyhounds is easy and fun!

Come November tracking season starts in Northern California. Unfortunately this year has been dry and warm. Not ideal for tracking or for anything. By January the hills should be covered in low green grass. So far we have only had two rains this season and are heading into an extreme drought.

This makes tracking difficult for the dogs. This year I am working on Echo's TDX. She has to work up to a 3-5 hr old track between 800-1000 yds long. The track will cross roads and various obstacles such as down trees, change of cover, through fences or water. She has to find 4 dropped objects along the way to complete the track. In addition the track she has to stay on is crossed by a stranger in two separate points. The "cross track" is a newer scent designed to pull the dog onto the easier scent. The dog must stay on the original scent/track it started on. It is okay to check out the easier scent/track but the dog must come back and continue on the original scent. It can and generally does take a couple of years to teach the dogs these skills.

Increasingly it is getting difficult to find large tracts of open land to train the dogs. I am excited though because this year I was given access to a 5000 acre ranch to practice.

Along the way we encountered curious onlookers

A happy dog is a tired dog, back to the car after training! We have months more practice before she is ready to try for her TDX

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Sometimes you make a bad decision or mistake for your dogs. In December several friends went down to an obedience trial in LA. What are the chances of it raining? We are in a drought and have had only one rain this season. Well greyhounds don't especially like rain-at least mine don't.

After taking the day off work to drive down I was sure the predicted rain the next day wouldn't happen. Wrong! The next morning dawned grey and cold-37 degrees and rainy wet. I went over to the show with my friends committed to pulling Echo and Whisper from their runs. Stupidly I decided to try-everyone else was showing. Bad decision. Echo's class started at 8 AM and it was cold.
She tried but the drop on recall was too much to ask-and I shouldn't have made her uncomfortable or unhappy. She didn't drop so we didn't qualify.

By the next day the sun was out but it was cold and I had an unhappy dog to ask to work. Her enthusiasm  was nil although she did what I asked. The ring that day was full of sawdust covering the mud. Of course my dumbbell throw couldn't have been worse-right into a sawdust pile. I am surprised she actually picked it up. Although she qualified for her second CDX leg she didn't want to be there because of yesterday.

Sometimes you just have to stick to your original decision, I am mad at myself. We not only didn't qualify which I knew we wouldn't, I  have an unhappy dog.  Now I have to work on convincing her obedience isn't as bad as she thinks.