Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Becca On Squirrel Patrol

Becca seems to have inherited her mother's trait of being on constant "squirrel patrol". She's sure there is a squirrel in the yard somewhere by me just mentioning the "S" word as shown in this video (there really was no squirrel in the yard at the time of filming). In fact, after I downloaded the video to my computer and was playing it back, she heard "squirrel" from my computer; she then stood up in the bedroom and ran to the door and was starting whining as if to say "Let me at that dratted squirrel!!" She often bounds around the entire yard like a deer running through the forest and loves to stand on her hind legs, trying to climb up the tree to get that evil squirrel. When a squirrel is running along the top of my fence, she jumps along all the boards in the fence while racing at a rapid speed, trying to catch it. Heaven help us the day that she actually gets within striking distance of a squirrel!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bryn Becomes A Show Dog

I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to let everyone how and what I am doing.
Since my first show in Vallejo (where I rec’d 3rd place both days), I took my first long and overnite RV ride to Oregon. The first day, we just played with the lunge line and walked around the show site. It was inside an arena for horses. Not as noisy as the show in Sacramento.
The next day, I was the only greyhound, so I rec’d a Best of Breed ribbon. Marie was more excited about me than I was. On Saturday, there were other greyhounds and I had to go around the ring a few times. I must have settled down a bit because I took the Breed again and got a 3 pt major. I haven’t the slightest idea of what that is, but it sure made many people happy. It seems to be a good thing. I sure did get a lot of attention and treats. A girl could learn to like that!!.
I had no more shows that weekend. Gator (my friend) had to work (show) on Thurs and Sun. He took the Breed on those days. He’s so nonchalant about his wins. He doesn’t even get excited like I do.
Today, a Boxer named Badger came to the house to play. I think the 4 of us rather worked over Tom’s garden. He said it had to be replanted anyway. I think he was just being kind.
Then Marie and I went to Dixon to meet my Mom (Helen) and Echo (my sister). Helen thought a little interaction and playtime at a non show (for me) would be fun.
I watched Helen’s dog, Whisper, in an event called agility. It really looked like a fun
thing to do. Those dogs really had to be on target. We are going back tomorrow for some more meet and greet and playtime.
With everyone working with me, I am getting more comfortable with the “hands on” part of showing. I really like the going around the ring.
On Sunday 06/06, we went to Livermore to a lure coursing practice. But, as it turned out, it became a Qualified Courser test. I, of course, have no idea what that means, but, another dog and I chased 3 plastic bags around a long series of turns as fast as we could. I(Byn) am blue blanketed in the run. I passed the test for a QC title behind my name. I must admit, things are looking a lot more like FUN!!.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oregon Hound Classic (by Lisa Stine)


It was a long drive to the show site (Hillsboro Oregon, 10 hours) and we got in really late on Friday night. Which would have been fine because we weren't scheduled to show until 12:15, but there was a lure coursing education seminar at 9:30 the next morning (on breeds, the basics of coursing and then a second half on how to judge a trial and some basic judge and lure operator rules) and when Tam told me about it I had to go. It was worth it, although it was pretty basic I did get a few questions I've been wondering about answered and they had a drag lure practice afterward. Tanner and Darby both got to run a straight of about 100 yards. Tanner did really well, liked the lure a lot and followed it keenly. Darby, who qualified on the 6th, was a fiend for the lure and ran like a dog possessed (in addition to getting over excited and whacking me in the mouth with his head, got a fat lip over that one and Marie was impressed with Darby's 'enthusiasm'. Bryn stayed behind in the RV, she qualified on the 6th as well and we know she can run like NASCAR. Even Dretti got to run, though not planned: he slipped his collar and tore off after the lure while some poor basenji was trying to run it. Funny, he seemed to know he was a bad boy and came right back on recall (after the poor basenji about had a heart attack and they stopped the lure) and lay down in front of me staring at my feet while I put a no-slip collar on him.


In the breed ring later that day it was just Tanner and Darby; Marie's boy special had some toenail problems so she wisely pulled him and Bryn was not entered. Darby won BOB so we got the joy of waiting around for Groups which didn't start until 5pm. Sheesh, I'm not sure who thought that was a great time to start groups. Meanwhile, Marie took Bryn into the all breed B Match being held on the other side of the show grounds . Bryn is a little diva, as Marie will attest, and I suppose she decided she was going to give this showing nonsense a good effort. It had to be Bryn's idea though (Bryn doesn't do anything unless she thinks it's her own idea). Obviously, she thought it was a pretty good one because she ended up with Best in Match; she beat every other dog competing!!!! After all of that Tam and Marie trekked back over to the Hound show to watch Darby and I in Group competition. Although he looked good and did a decent job stacking and gaiting (if you ignore the little fun-bounce-eat-my-armband trick he pulled on the individual go around), he didn't get pulled for a group placement. And that's fine by me, I was completely exhausted by the end of it all and just wanted to find a comfy bed and sleep. It was all I could do to stay awake long enough to get stuff in the room and get the dogs settled when I got to my
hotel room.


Sunday it was Bryn, Tanner and Darby. Everybody showed really well. The breed judge took a lot of time with Bryn and went over her very gently but thoroughly, taking extra time and care to stroke her head and scritch at her neck and ears for a little bit talking to her and showing her that strange people who want to feel her up while she's expected to stand still are not really bad people. It seemed to work because Bryn stood for it and gaited beautifully for Marie. Tanner literally floated around the ring and stacked perfectly. I heard people on the sidelines comment on how striking he was and 'what a nice head that parti dog has'. It reminded me of something Helen used to tell me that I never really paid much heed to until I started showing Darby and spending more time in the ring. She said "Remember, whatever you say ringside is not between just you and whoever you're talking with, people are listening" She is spot on with that advice. Other people, especially the people in the ring and owners with handlers on their dogs standing ringside, can and do hear you. If you have something nice to say, please go ahead and comment, personally it makes me smile and get a little swelled up with pride. If you don't have something nice to say, please shut up or choose a seat out of earshot from the ring. Because it really isn't very heartening to hear someone blathering to their buddy about how '______ that greyhound is' or 'that's the _______-est greyhound I've ever seen' (insert whatever insult you like). But I do digress. Darby won Best of Breed and went on to do nothing but show very well for me in Group competition. No bounce and jump today, strictly business. Several people (in addition to Tam and her buddy) took photos of Darby for me. One photographer handed me a print of him from yesterday. I was shocked to look at it and see Lyric, with brindling, staring back at me from the glossy photo paper. It brought tears to my eyes that Darb is growing up to look so much like his beautiful mother.


All in all, a really good weekend. I got to visit with Tam a lot (even though I never made it to her house). It was relaxed and easy fun showing with Tam and Marie. The perfect ending? I pulled the van up to where Tam had set up her shade tent so I could load my dogs and help Tam dismantle stuff. I had put Darby in the van, told him to stay and was going back to get Dretti, unwittingly leaving the sliding side door open. Tam's friend was at the setup and mentioned to me "Um, you have an escapee". I turned and saw that Darby had decided to walk out of the van after me, but stopped when he saw me make eye contact with him. It took half a second to decide what to do. I turned to face him and stood with my hands at my sides (obedience style) and called "Darby, here!". Darby immediately broke into a full run, came skidding to a halt and sat square in front of me making and holding eye contact. It was the longest and most perfect recall he's ever done. I almost cried for the second time this weekend. I gave him the "okay" release command and we had a 'happy dance party' because I didn't have any food rewards on me. Out of everything he did for me this weekend, that recall was the thing I'm most proud of. There were many distractions, human and canine, and lots of fun things he could have run off to explore. But instead he focused on me and did exactly what I asked him to do of his own free will. PERFECT. I love you, Darby. And Tam? I wore my seatbelt all the way home.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Becca and Rally

2nd Rally Obedience Novice Leg for Becca(by Donna Arcaro)

Becca and I entered our second Rally trial over the weekend and got a qualifying score of 96 points out of 100!! Last time we showed in a rally trial, her nose was on the ground a lot, sniffing away at all the "good" smells, but this time, she didn't have this problem. We were both all smiles taking home that green qualifying ribbon. :)

The day before we attended an ex-racing greyhound fundraiser picnic. Becca's slogan was "bigger is not always better" as she tried to engage an Italian Greyhound in play. As much as she tried her best, the Iggy decided "hmmmm, maybe not".

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Zoom Zoom Zoom (by L. Stine)

On Sunday, we (Helen, Marie and I) decided to put the pup's natural instincts to the test. That is, the running instinct. It's one thing to watch them zip around the yard chasing squirrels and birds and bugs, but it's another thing altogether to have them sight a lure, instinctively chase and remain keenly sighted on it exclusive of any other distractions, and follow it through a course of turns and switchbacks. And so this is what we set out to do with our 18 month old puppies on Sunday in Livermore. The Basenji Club of Northern California was hosting an AKC and ASFA trial (basenjis only) as well as an all breed JC and QC test.

For those not in the know, the AKC requires prerequisite test runs on all dogs competing in lure trials, you cannot just show up with a dog whose never run a lure and enter it in a trial. It used to be that you would take a young dog to a test/trial and run them by themselves on a short course with a minimum of 4 turns of the lure to test if they had interest in the lure and if they could remain sighted on it. You had to do this twice and pass (with two separate judges) to obtain a Junior Courser title and thus be qualified to run in trials against other dogs. In recent years the AKC has amended their requirements to more resemble the common sense of ASFA in requiring that dogs be run with another dog. This Qualifying Course not only ensures what the old JC tested, that a dog run sighted, but in addition arguably importantly that the dog run clean (not interfere/play/intimidate the other running dog). The QC now takes the place of 2 JC runs, although I personally think the JC single runs are still very important because they allow a young dog to practice run and build up their lure intensity.

Anyhow, Gail Burnham was bringing two of her young dogs to QC, so we all met up in the afternoon at the field to....wait. Lure trials and tests have a schedule, but they are rarely if ever on time. Unless, of course, you are running late, then it's almost guaranteed that they will have run whatever you were suppose to be there for early. :) I brought Dee along as a qualifying runner and Gail brought Hunter. All QC test dogs have to have their own experienced running dog to qualify with. Dee is a Dual Champion and an exceptionally clean runner, she's a good teacher. Hunter is a fast, firmly sighted runner and thus a good qualifier as well. Echo ran first with Dee, and ran very well. She loves the lure and is very fast, there was no doubt that she qualified. Then came Hunter and Pixie (Gail's young dogs) They ran well together and Pixie qualified. Then Darby and Dee. Dee crashed and burned on a corner but recovered well and there were a couple of pass-bys made with no incident. Darby was fast and sighted and seemed to not only be intent on the lure but in destroying as many orange course cones as possible. Despite the complete cone destruction, he qualified. Then Bryn and Hunter ran...wow is Bryn fast. She opened up on the straight and it caught my heart in my throat. She's beautiful and very athletic. Hunter, her qualifier, took a gut wretching spill on the straight but rolled and instantaneously recovered to continue on the lure. He is one tough cookie. Bryn, of course, qualified.

So now we have 3 of Lyric and Merlin's kids QC'd. We (Darby Crash) will be doing some road work to build up stamina and muscling and continue to do practice runs prior to trials to get him used to following the lure and work on turning. They still have a lot of growing up to do before they start seriously competing, but it's good to know they have the drive and the ability to perform as well as the natural ability look good in the show ring. Pretty only goes so far, or so they say. ;)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Memorial Day Agility

Memorial weekend brought three days of agility trials. Although Whisper can run the courses she seems slow and less responsive than normal. She did earn one QQ that weekend. On one of the days of trialing she was headed to the teeter rather than table which was next to it. Generally no problem I can turn her on a dime. Not that day-she stepped on the teeter and the Q was gone. Rest of the run was qualifing although slow. In Jumpers she seems almost hesitant at times to run. I am not sure if the crash from a few weekends ago is still in her mind and making her just a little reluctant to perform.


She came into heat the day after the trials so I am hoping she is hormonal rather than losing interest in agility. A little while off trialing should help whatever the cause.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

California Fruit

One of the many nice things about living in California is the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. I have recently gotten into the habit of making fresh squeezed lemonade and freezing it, adding alittle fresh squeezed orange juice makes it sweeter. Then I use the frozen lemonade as ice blocks to keep dog treats and lunch cold. As it defrosts the juice is refreshingly cold. In addition to using my fruit trees(2 lemon trees, 1 orange tree, 1 grapefruit tree, 1 lime tree) my friends are recruited to bring their fruit. Fruit this size makes alot of juice! These are just average lemons out of a friends backyard-they were not given steroids. Texas has nothing on California fruit.