Monday, April 27, 2009

A Week of Lessons

Donna uses a nylon collar on Becca when going for walks that does not unbuckle, i.e., it has to be slipped over her head--the collar prevents a dog from backing out as it tightens up if the dog tries to do so which makes it great for that purpose. However, it appeared for a while that Becca may have to wear the collar for the rest of her life!! She had a screaming, thrashing fit when the collar was trying to be removed after the walk. So she's now being trained with "collar on", given a treat; "collar off", given another treat. After doing this several times in a row, it's really helped
a lot and no more screaming!! :)

Additionally Donna and Becca encountered several horses next to the parkwhere they went walking. Becca became "Becca the Barker" at these strange, scary creatures. Again, "food power" (treats from Donna) came into play and that quieted her down and she was able to relax and forget about the horses.

Here's a video of Becca meeting her new Greyhound "friend"--he's the strong and silent type.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shout out to Lisa and Dretti

These pictures of Lisa and Dretti were taken last fall. They just earned their first leg in Novice A at the GCNC spring specialty last weekend. Everyone here at Aragon Greyhounds is just thrilled for Lisa and Dretti! Congrats!

What I really like about these pictures is that Lisa is smiling. She doesn't look nervous. She is looking down where she is going and where she can keep some eye contact with her dog. Dretti, is looking up at her face. He is in tune with the exercise they are doing.

This is the picture that we all hope we are giving off in the ring: a smiling, relaxed handler and an attentive happy dog.

Stepping into the obedience ring with any dog takes a fair bit of courage. Stepping into the Novice A ring, though, is a special thing. Everyone in Novice A is a true novice (except for the judge). The dogs have not been trained by someone who has earned an obedience title before nor has the handler earned an obedience title on any other dog. Walking into that ring is stepping into the unkown. It is relying upon the bond that you and your dog have forged through countless hours of training. The ringtime is the test of all you have worked on and all you have accomplished.

Every time we step into the ring, we are not going to que. However, every time we step in the ring, we are going to learn something. We are going to learn where the holes are in our trainig. We are going to learn to trust our partner (or not). We are going to learn that despite how nervous we might be, we can get through it. We can conquer the nerves. The time and the training pays off. The test can be passed.

Congrats again to our friends Lisa and Dretti. May your time in Novice A be short yet relaxed and happy!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GCNC Spring Specialty Weekend!

This past weekend was a realization of a long held goal of mine-to go Best of Breed and High In Trial at a specialty with the same dog. Lyric managed to accomplish this dream. The Greyhound Club of Northern California spring specialty is held in conjunction with the Chief Solano dog show. We had a suprisingly large entry of 28 greyhounds with three in obedience. Whisper went Reserve Winners Bitch (aagh she just needed two points to finish) and then Lyric and I went into the Best of Breed competition. It was getting very hot by this time in the afternoon but she held up and won Best of Breed!!!

Then it was a mad dash over to the obedience ring. By this time in the afternoon it was in the 90's and of course the Novice obedience ring was in the full sun. Lyric qualified for her second leg and won the Novice B class. I was so proud of her. Whisper also qualified for her second leg and earned second place in her class. I should mention although this our specialty the obedience is part of the all breed obedience. So in fact Lyric beat all the other breeds entered in Novice B that day. Windrock Sin City Playboy "Andretti" owned by a friend of mine was entered in Novice A and earned his first leg and second place in his class. All in all and excellent day for the greyhounds in obedience.

The next day was a supported entry and Lyric lost the breed to Sobers Galathea but Whisper went Winners Bitch for a major and finished her breed championship. Yeah we are done!!!! Alas greyhounds in obedience did not far well that day. Once again it was blazing hot and the dogs just didn't want to perform,Lyric went down on the sit,Whisper collapsed on the ground on the off lead heeling and Andretti went under the judges table for shade on the recall.

Echo had a grand time visiting all the people and dogs. By the second day however she was crashed fast asleep in the xpen most of the day.

It was a great weekend!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tanner at four months

Tanner is growing fast! He now weighs 53 pounds and has definitely outgrown Shine. His personality has really blossomed and he is a joy to have around. His favorite toys are the rope toy and the flying squirrel. He also loves to grab sticks and pieces of sod and take them on a victory lap around the yard.

His puppy preschool class is over and he is signed up for a puppy agility class starting in May. In the meantime, we continue to work on foundation behaviors and basic manners. He learns very quickly and loves to train.

After we are done training, he likes to curl up on the couch and take a nap. He particularly likes it when I am sitting on the couch too. He loves to snuggle in my lap and hang out. Of course, less and less of him fits on my lap as he grows but he is learning to lay with his head on my lap so I can scratch his favorite spots while he goes to sleep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Becca at 4 Months

Becca just completed her 6 weeks of puppy socialization/basic obedience class. She did well and enjoyed meeting any and everyone she could so they could pet and play with her. She also liked playing with any of the puppies that wanted to play. Quite the social butterfly! She was, however, very curious as to what the "hairy" monster was that approached her at the first class (an adult Sheltie) and did have a bit of a barking spell. After seeing the Sheltie the next week, there no problem with recognizing that it was just a dog.

Becca "wowed" them in the last class with her concertina down--very quick--she slaps right onto the ground--must run in the family as Lyric also slaps right down on the ground when she does a down. Becca knows this exercise as "crash" as Donna is also teaching her the regular down from a sit, using the "down" command instead. It will be useful to know the concertina down in the drop on recall exercise in Open obedience class. Becca is additionally learning to "take" her dumb bell. Next week Donna plans to start conformation handling class with her. Becca is quite fascinated with birds flying overhead, as well as airplanes and helicopters--she either stands or sits very still and stares at them for the longest time. Becca's favorite play time is when her brother, Sterling, visits her for the weekly play date. They love to wrestle in the yard ALL DAY LONG, unfortunately in the part of the Donna's yard that is mostly dirt.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sterling at four months

Sterling is now 4 mths old and what a four months. As soon as he came home he started grabbing dishtowels off the kitchen drawers. He thought they were great play toys. Since he is the only puppy that showed this behavior at Helen's house it is fitting that he continues to portray this behavior. He loves to carry things in his mouth, just like his mom. He accidentally got a hold of a spoon one day and ran around with it in his mouth, proud as can be. Gerogiana was surprised that he didn’t mind having something metal in his mouth. He willmnow take any metal object with the command "Take it". This will come in useful he begins training for his utility title.

Puppy classes are over and now it is onto conformation/handling classes. It is hard when all he wants to do is visit other dogs and people. He is quite outgoing and social and has a total puppy brain-nothing is to be taken seriously.

Of all the puppies he seems to have inherited the most of Merlin’s mischievous behavior. He is already counter surfing and almost pulled the pressure cooker over on himself. Yet when caught misbehaving, he is so suprised that what he is doing is wrong. He has a smile on his face, “Hi! Where did you come from? Look what I just found!”

He is a lucky puppy and goes to work with Georgiana. She packs his lunch bucket filled with yummy kibble, chicken and other assorted goodies to munch on throughout the day. He also loves to romp and wrestle with his sister Becca during their weekly play dates.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Echo at 4 Months

Echo finished her puppy class-boring! and is now in conformation handling class. This is much more of a challenge trying to get a 4 month old puppy to stack and hold still when a judge goes over her. Last night was particularly fun-she was behind a 10 mth old Flat coat Retriever named what else-Echo. Echo's grandmother was Whisper and her aunt was Spirit so I felt like it was all in the family. They tried to play with each other throughout the whole class. But it was fun. Echo hasn't met a dog or situation she hasn't liked. She is so outgoing and happy with everyone and everything.

We are working hard on name recognization and attention. I lucked out on this with Whisper-she seemed to be born knowing her name and an ability to spin on a dime and come back if her name was called and always checking in with me. Echo has the potential but is not quite the natural that Whisper is. So we are working in any and all situations where she hears her name and comes back to me. Lots of clicker training and treats. However I now can usually call her back out of a stimulating situation and playing with other dogs. This weekend we went to an agility match. Echo was fascinated with all the dogs,noise and activity. Only a greyhound person can appreciate the neck stretch they do to watch something that catches their attention. It was her first time in an xpen in a strange situation and later by herself when Whisper and Lyric were occupied. She was great by herself.

I have noticed an interesting phenomen the last month or so between Lyric and Echo. When the littermates left it always used to be Whisper and Echo playing. Recently Lyric has taken over Echo's attention and I often find them playing together and Whisper is now odd man out.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pearl at four months

Pearl is 16 weeks old and oh how she had changed. In the past three weeks she has increased her weight by 33 1/3 percent - just imagine. She now weighs 40.3 pounds. Her favorites toys are a ball tied to a rope that she swings around and chews and her squeeky rubber elephant. She has finally started sleeping on her own bed and leaves JD to his bed most of the time. He is very relieved to be able to stretch out and not have her climb all over him all the time.

Pearl was always the one that liked sitting in Helen's lap and she still tries to climb into mine but it is a struggle. We can make it for about a minute before she gets uncomfortable and starts struggling to get down. She is just getting too big for the lap.

She has the gentlest mouth - even the vet commented on it this week. She is sweet about taking food off of a fork and takes her turn with the other dogs. She likes tomatoes, green beans, mac and cheese, and loves flax seed crackers.

Four Months and Growing!

The puppies are 4 months old this week. This is a very precious time for greyhound puppies. They are so cute when they are little and they grow rapidly. We cherish the time we have with them as little dogs when their fur and skin is oh so soft. We try to capture with our cameras, our minds and hearts the looks on their faces when they try new things and the relish they take in discovery and play.

Over the next few days, we will be updating the blog with new pictures and blurbs about each puppy. Enjoy!