Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tanner earns his first rally advanced B leg by Tamara

I decided I couldn't pass up the chance to enter Tanner in a local show. The show is at a county fairgrounds and the obedience is in separate building from the conformation show.  The horse arena where the obedience rings are set can be a little chilly. Some dogs also have trouble with the dirt floors. However, I really love that there is ample space around the rings. There is plenty of space to set up crates and more importantly, plenty of space to warm up prior to entering the ring. This correlates to an uncrowded ring entrance which keeps my stress level down.

Tanner, was on fire! I discovered that I had the same dog at the trial that I have in our normal practice spaces. The two of us worked smoothly as a team and it was a delight! Tanner lost one point due to a delayed response to a signal. I lost 10 points due to misreading a sign. If only I had taken the time to watch the dogs ahead of us! I might have noticed! However, I could not have been more pleased with his performance, take a look!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Agility Comparison

Recently Breeze and I entered an agility trial and NQed on all runs. However a friend who does professional video at all the trials did a video comparison with Breeze running against a Border collie, the consistently top Golden in our 24 inch class and the top running Foxhound in the country.

The results were very interesting, Breeze loses ground to the Border collie in the weavepoles and tunnels. Nothing I can do about changing that but otherwise she hold her own and picks up time over the jumps.

And you can see my body position mistake that sent her around the yellow jump for an NQ. When you are running the course it is hard to understand why the dog does what it does and it is easy to blame them for the mistake and NQ. Studying the videos makes it more clear who made the mistake, the handler or the dog. It makes me very motivated to train and be the best we can be.

Go Breeze!!
We will get better

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Return to Agility

Breeze has been out of agility since mid May with an injured toe. She went to chase a squirrel back up its tree and came back in with no lameness. Several hours later when I looked at her left inside toe I noticed it was swollen, but no lameness. Not thinking anything of the matter I rested her and the swelling lessened although didn't go totally away. I took her back to agility the following week and the toe swelled again to its original size. No lameness or evidence from her that her toe was injured but I didn't want to risk further injuries and a shortened performance career. So rest again for several weeks. Well after three weeks she escaped and ran the back yard. Once again the toe swelled so she was on exercise restriction for six weeks and then gradual increase in exercise. It was not a fun three and a half months but she entered her first agility trial Labor day weekend.

She had a blast and her toe was nonswollen. We were rusty understanding each other. We went from no Qs the first day to QQ the last day of the trial.

Agility here we come!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Breeze's Obedience Debut

I had planned on Lompoc-the Greyhound National being Breeze's debut in obedience as well as Rally Advanced. An injured toe in May took us out of agility for some time as well as obedience. Greyhounds and toes are a deadly combination. However by the end of June the toe seemed to have settled down and as long as she was in a tape wrap, I able to start training again.

We missed all the Rally classes. There are many new signs since I last did Rally Advanced and I didn't know them all although I thought I did.

The rings were beyond awful. Someone, not an obedience person, thought it would be better for the sighthounds to put bark chips over the bare ground. The obedience ring was so full of chips the ring was moved next door and the original obedience ring became the Rally ring. Many dogs would not sit on the bark and would go around the patches during exercises. Breeze did a fair job despite me performing two signs incorrectly. Rally was first and as I got out of the ring they were calling us for obedience.

The obedience ring was slightly better although still distracting. The obedience judge kindly tried to avoid as many of the bark patches as possible during her heeling. I didn't feel like I had Breeze's full attention in the ring. Going from Rally where you can talk to a dog between and during exercises to obedience where no talking is allowed during the exercise was hard. Maybe a more experienced dog could have handled it. At one point during the off lead heeling Breeze seemed to give up and needed a second  command. She came back and finished well, earned her first CD leg and High In Trial but we still need work.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Introducing CH Aragon Golden Canyon, JC, RN, RL1 by Janet Stringer

Goose has been doing Rally obedience since last Sept.  He (and I) needed an activity for just the 2 of us and we had found a rally class quite close to our house.  Goose finished his Novice title in AKC last fall and continued to compete in different locations at the novice level (on leash).  He now has 5 novice legs in AKC.  He has also participated in World Cynosport Rally competitions, which are under the auspices of USDAA (US Dog Agility Assn).  On Aug 2, he finished his Level 1 title (again on leash) with a score of 200 
 out of 210.  It was his best run to date!  Now on to the off-leash courses………

Monday, August 11, 2014

Becca (Ch Aragon Morning Mist RA CD) Earns Her 1st Leg in Graduate Novice!!! by Donna Arcaro

After Becca earned her CD title, I(Donna) wanted to continue on with her obedience career.  The Graduate Novice class is a nice transition between the CD and CDX classes.  Becca had come close to getting a qualifying score when previously entered in the Graduate Novice class, but unfortunately she would fail one exercise—often a difference one each time. 

 Happily at the Greyhound Club of America Obedience Trial in Lompoc last weekend she got a qualifying score!!!  The ring condition was a challenge because it had wood chips filling up the many, many holes.  The judge was attempting to have Becca avoid these wood chip areas for the drop on recall exercise and gave me the drop command when Becca had almost reached her—since she was so close to her handler, often a dog will think it’s a regular recall and not “drop” when asked to do so.  But Becca prevailed--she especially enjoyed the two jumping exercises. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Breeze Obedience Practice for her CD

Breeze and I are trying to get ready for her obedience debut at the 2014 Greyhound National Specialty in Lompoc Ca. Due to her injured and then twice reinjured toe, agility and obedience have been on hold for months. Between her injury and my depression over losing Lyric we have barely trained. The times we have trained have not gone well. Normally she has a strong work ethic, loves the time doing things together and rewards.

 Once we went back to training she has had a short attention, quiet and low energy. I actually wondered if greyhounds can get depressed without running.
Recently she has been allowed to run, tug and play in a foot bandage and her focus and energy seems to be coming back. Knock on wood her foot looks great and her attitude is excellent again.
However to have our first run through days before a show, minimal training distractions and no matchs under our belt is more than I have ever asked from any of my dogs.

Her first run through was excellent... now if we can pull it off after traveling out of town, staying at a hotel, and performing in a different park....

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tanner earned his CD!

I am very proud to announce that Tanner is now Ch Aragon Silver Oak RN BN JC CD!

He earned his 3rd leg on his 4th attempt at the Mt Bachelor Kennel Club Show in Redmond, OR on June 27.

We scored 189.5 out of 200 and placed 3rd in our class.  We lost 5 points on the heel on leash, 4.5 points on the heel free and 1 on the recall (crooked sit).  I was so happy with how happy and peppy he was.  I can't really complain!  

I love the video because it shows me the areas where we need to do more work.  For example, there are a couple places in here where I don't give the right cues to Tanner (the halts where he doesn't sit, for example), I need to work on that!  Tanner, needs to work on driving around the about turns.  It also shows us what we did right. Tanner did a beautiful job getting himself back into the correct position after the no sit before the about turn on the heel free.

Afterwards, Tanner was treated to a hamburger from the drive through of a local fast food place. He thought it was pretty yummy!  Then we went back to the hotel to rest.  We still had two more days to show!

I was particularly proud of Tanner because he showed well all three days at the show. Originally, I was unsure whether it was wise to enter all three days.  Some dogs can't handle three days of showing.  Particularly one that requires traveling and staying in a hotel.  In the past, this has negatively affected Tanner's attitude.

I think part of what helped Tanner be successful was that we traveled to the show with our training partners, Ellen and her hounds. Tanner was comfortable hanging out with them.

On top of that, most of the people and dogs that we train with at proofing group each week were there. As far as Tanner could tell, his entire of village of people and dogs had picked up and moved.  I think it helped me to have the village there as well and am grateful for the help we received from all of them.  It was a fun weekend with friends and dogs.

Now, on to open and the CDX title!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Breeze and Obedience

Recently Breeze has been working more on obedience than agility. Our National specialty is in July in Lompoc California in July.

I am trying to get ready for Breeze's debut in Novice obedience. It is nice to be able to show off and compete against other greyhounds. However it is nerve wracking to perform away from home for the first time. It seems like I have always done this with all of my dogs. Some success, some failure but always fun.

Last year Echo made her Open debut at Lompoc and finished her CDX a few months later. This year she isn't ready for Utility so it all depends on Breeze.

Below are a few video clips of Breeze practicing heeling and her recall. Distractions were the order of the day. Once we set up the ring, people arrived for a basketball game right next to the ring.


On Leash Heeling

On Leash Heeling and Recall

Practice makes perfect and we have a ways to go!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Breeze's MACH journey

Recently Breeze has had two milestones on her journey towards a MACH. She earned her first MACH points at a trial. Although we have a long way to go to become a smooth team, she and I are getting there. She is fast and fun to run. Her first Jumpers run after her Excellent was this run and she earned her first 14 towards the 750 points needed for the MACH.

Her second milestone and by far the hardest is earning her first QQ. To QQ a dog has to qualify in both jumpers and standard on the same day. The faster the dog, the easier it is to make a mistake and non qualify on a run. She earned her first QQ towards the 20 needed for the MACH.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Becca earns her CAA title

Becca has ALWAYS loved to chase things, even as a young puppy. She would run circles around anything in her way while she chased a white plastic bag at the end of a lunge line.  She recently earned her CAA (Coursing Ability Advanced) title.  It requires running a 600-yard course and getting a qualifying score 10 times which she did in 10 straight trials (not all in one day, tho!!). :) And just for good measure and to work toward her CAX (Coursing Ability Excellent) title, Becca qualified on an 11th run as well so she needs 14 more qualifying scores for her CAX title.  She definitely enjoyed herself!!    
She can now call herself  Ch Aragon Morning Mist BN CD RA CAA

Thursday, April 24, 2014



                                    BISS  GCH Aryal Aroi Stoney Ridge CDX TDX RE AX AXJ SC
                                                              April 4 2005-April 17 2014

  You came into my life when I needed a puppy and I had no idea what the future would bring to us.
Together you and I learned so much from each other.  From the start you taught me what happens mentally to a puppy when they are sick and hospitalized away from everything they know, how frightening and traumatic it is for them. I changed how I approach and hospitalize ill puppies and am a better veterinarian because of you.

When we entered the conformation ring, you and I could beat almost anyone. Rarely had I ever placed in the group, yet we started off earning a Group 1 from the classes. I looked like a rank novice in the Best in Show lineup. You looked like you belonged and owned the ring. That was just the beginning of your career. You won specialty after specialty including our National always owner handled. One of my dreams was to win a specialty and High in Trial with the same dog. You did that for me.

Performance sports were never your first love but you did everything I ever asked and with a style and steadiness everyone envied. You taught me to be a better more patient trainer. You hated being asked to do the same exercise more than twice. You taught me "Less is More" in training. Once you learned the exercises you were so reliable, I could count you to quailify. In fact we earned multiple specialty High In Trials both from the Novice and Open obedience ring.

In tracking you were the only greyhound I have ever had that would track in the rainstorms. You were one of the few that earned their TDX on their first attempt. Your TDX test was in dry year with little vegetation. The conditions were hard,the grass was short, the track was long with turns on dirt. You stuck it out  and after 44 minutes of hard work  you did it and became one of the few TDX greyhounds.

Agility was never a favorite once the tunnel "bit you" . But you continued and succeeded so we went onto other venues.

Your first love was running as it should be with a greyhound. You could run like the wind and never wanted to stop.

You were always such a serious dog but sometimes you would forget and be a silly puppy again.

You were  the most beautiful greyhound I have ever seen. Because of you I became recognized in the greyhound world. I was often asked-Are you Lyric's owner? You were known and made me known internationally.

I can't believe you were fine one day and gone the next. I had no warning, no time to say good bye.
I hope I gave to you as much as you gave to me.
Be free and run the hills again

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Breeze AX

It took a long time to earn 3 Excellent Standard legs. Something always went wrong. At first it was weavepole entrances but contacts were great. After practicing and practicing, weave entrances were much more reliable but the contacts broke. Then the table broke, then distance never a strong point broke. Once we fixed one problem, another would surface. It seemed to take a long time to get in sink but in reality, we trial less than once a month.

On her first Ex Std leg, weave entrances were still broken and you can see how I have to guide her to the poles.

The second leg came months later. I was so excited that we were Qing I forgot what to do just before the last jump. I went to front cross then realized I didn't need to and almost knocked her off the jump.

The last leg and her title was memorial. The day before the run it rained SO hard, it sounded like bullets on the roof. Ducks were swimming just outside the rings. After the teeter and to the tunnel you can see the ducks in the distance. Imagine running and looking over and seeing ducks almost beside you. We again almost got a refusal at the weavepoles but luckily with all our practice she has learned to rear cross weaves.

She is now SBIS Ch Aragon Northern Lights TD RN AX AXJ JC

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lyric's 9th Birthday

Lyric turned 9 years old today. She wishes her sister Betty and brothers Morgan, MacTavish and James a Happy Birthday as well. She is the Queen of the house and the toys and treats are all for her!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Breeze AXJ

Breeze has so much enthusiasm for agility, she is a fun fun dog to run. Recently she earned her AXJ at Mensona Kennel Club. Unfortunately her first run wasn't videoed but her second and third leg were. She is fast, she is agile and she is very willing to play the game.

I have to keep remembering though what a baby dog she is, her mistakes-and they are many-are honest misreadings or misunderstandings. It took me a long time to realize dogs have performance nerves as much as we do and can forget what they have learned(ie holding contacts, leaving the table, how to enter weavepoles etc). They are not being bad just excited-these are what I call baby dog mistakes. If they are corrected poorly it makes playing the game, be it agility or obedience less fun. Dogs also need to learn confidence and trust in the handler to do their best. I have trained dogs for years and have learned something new from each dog along the way.

I think Breeze is getting the benefit of my past mistakes and current knowledge. She is willing-if only I were a better handler!!!

Her third leg was the next day-again another fun course.

The following month-last weekend she earned her first 14 MACH points. The course was tricky and many experienced handlers went off course.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Echo CDX

Last month Echo and I were in an obedience trial trying for her 3rd CDX leg and we did it!! The obedience trial was huge-33 dogs in her class. She ended up with a fourth place, not bad for a greyhound. She had a no finish which cost us a tie for first place. Oh well... I am so proud of her anyway. She has been my easiest dog in a long time to train for her CDX, 3 legs out of 6 attempts. Two were NQs due to not dropping on the cold or rainy wet ground-understandable for a greyhound. One was an NQ when she got up to do the broad jump on her name. I have always used their name then the command. After that NQ for anticipation, I changed to the command only. It worked well for Echo and I will probably change in the future and no longer use their name. If they are paying attention, they don't need the added cue of their name.

It's not all about work. When the dogs do something for me(like obedience etc) I try to take them out and let them have some fun of their chosing.

Echo is now my third VCD2 greyhound(Versatile Companion Dog). To earn a VCD2 the dog must have a CDX+TD+OA+OAJ. Now we look forward to Utility!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

New Website-

I am joining the modern world with a website for my dogs. Thanks to Tamara DePue for dragging me kicking and screaming into the modern era with this website. And thanks for spending countless hours putting it together both layout and editing. I also want to thank Lisa Stine for her editing work. Between the three of us and many months it is finally ready for viewing. It tells the story from my first greyhound "Z" to my current dogs "Lyric", "Whisper", "Echo", and "Breeze".
The address is Please come and visit!!

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.