Thursday, December 24, 2009

Greyhound Update sent to GAP ...

We've almost had Barbie for 4 weeks now, and she is getting along really well with the cats now. They can sprint past, even jump over her and she barely raises her head. My older cat tried to lick her on the head like she does with Bender, but Barbie wasn't keen and walked away without any fuss.

I have taken her up to the fenced dog park in Ellenbrook a few times now, and she met Jerry there. They seem to enjoy each other's company, they stick together in the park. She has impressed most people at the park with her sprinting abilities and she gets along well with all dogs so far, even rude ones that try to climb onto her back. She is very assertive with other dogs, which is what makes her such a good friend for my sometimes rude boy Bender. She is sometimes scary for littler dogs but I just divert her and she goes off on her merry way.

Just wondering if you can get softer nylon muzzles for them, as Barbie has whacked people on the back of the legs a few times with her wire one. I also think some more sensitive other dogs don't like getting whacked with the muzzle when they are playing. I met Lewie down at Cannington one night and saw that he had a plastic one so he didn't whack the kids with it?

She is a dream on the lead and is getting more tolerant with being patted all over. She didn't like more intrusive handling like hugs at first but now she's learning to love them. She's been introduced to a toddler, and she was a little pushy at first but quickly learned not to crowd him and lick his face! Do you know anyone who does therapy type stuff with GAP dogs at nursing homes and stuff? I would love for Barbie to be able to do this when she is fully confident and tolerant of all kinds of pats and people.

I've also got a harness on order from Julie so that I can feel more secure that she won't back out of her collar. She only really tries to back up when she doesn't want to leave the park, or when other dogs are running around off leash but she can't. Julie was involved with Barbie's litter as well, and said she had to be carried out of her kennel when it was turn out time, sooky girl. She jumps out of the car now, but not in yet. :)

Her toilet training is coming along. She doesn't ask to go out but I have a schedule, and she knows what she is expected to do when I take her outside. The 4am wee break has worked great and I'm going to try and stretch that out gradually so she develops a bit more control.

Anyway, I love her and we are definitely keeping her forever :)) thankyou for matching us up with such a lovely girl. The next challenge is to intro her to my parents' spoilt, yappy terrier X, and their cats so that she can come with me to their house when I visit.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dog Powered Chinese Torture Device

I have one dog that runs when he's scared, and another that stands stock still. Fortunately the dogs are mainly scared of different things. As we got to the top of the hill behind the cockroach mansion, a single firework went off. Bender attempted to drag Barbie and I down the hill, fortunately he didn't have enough traction for that. Somehow in the process Barbie's muzzle came off the front of her nose. SO I had to try and stop Bender while putting Barbie's muzzle back on. She is usually pretty compliant with the muzzle when we are at home because she knows that it means she can go out, but if we are ALREADY out she tries to avoid at first. It's a hard thing to do, putting a wiggly hound's muzzle back on with one hand while trying to stop a one dog freight train from running down the hill. Barbie is now really scared of trains because I think we were standing a bit close for her comfort while waiting to cross the line a few days ago. She just freezes, so I try to walk her back away from the train until she's responsive to me again. She's not the most responsive dog anyway and Bender is distracting!

I emailed Julie, who is the owner of 'Dog Kingdom' which is a website which imports collars and leads for hounds and sells the GAP merchandise. She knew Barbie as well! Her and her husband were involved in looking after her litter. Apparently Barbie had to be physically picked up out of her kennel and bought out into the run! I think she's made some good progress! Anyway I can get a harness custom made for Barbie at cost price! I think she has a soft spot for that litter, she almost adopted Barbie's brother Beavis but she already has two hounds and Beavis was a digger and a flyscreen shredder. The flyscreen shredding runs in the family then. Barbie has wrecked the one on our back door trying to get her daintly little paws into the security mesh to slide it open.

In other news, the dogs have more Christmas presents than me. One each from me, one each from Mum & Dad and one each for Kim's.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Greyhound Update sent to GAP

Barbies stitches look great and are due to come out today. I think she's healed up quite well.

She's only having a few problems in the house. She seems to have trouble getting into the toileting routine - especially overnight. I think I'm going to try and schedule a 4am wee break or something.

I have her on Advance Active, and she seems to have put on a little weight. Her skin is a bit dry, so I've been giving her a couple of pierced flax seed oil caps with dinner. I seems to be getting better.

Also she's really good with my younger cat now.... she's the brave one, she can walk all over Barbie and Barbie barely raises her head now. The other cat still gets whined at a bit. Hopefully Barbie will get over that with a bit more time though.

She is definately my shadow.... she follows me everywhere. She doesn't like being shut outside when I'm inside and has figured out how to open the sliding door... so I have to lock it when I want to dogs to stay out now!

The dogs have their morning 'racetrack' session and don't bother each other around their food. Barbie has stolen a couple of random items and chewed them a little but nothing valuable! She is a bit like having a fully grown puppy.

I took her for a drive down to my family Christmas party at a park down in Mandurah. She was wary at first and took maybe half an hour to settle and lie down but she happily accepted pats from everyone (especially the kids - do lots of greys have a soft spot for kids?) She was also really good for my old frail nana because she stood so quietly while accepting pats. She's not jumping in and out of the car yet, but I think it will come eventually.

I also took her and Bender to the dog park at Whiteman Park. She did a lap with some kind of heeler cross dog, and then layed down in the shade. She quickly had a 9 year old boy as a 'friend' sitting next to her and patting her. She lapped it up. Her recall at the park is woeful but she is so lazy that I didn't have to 'catch' her, she was already lying down.

I'm planning on bringing her along to the next 'playgroup'. :) Will also look at doing some obedience classes with her. I find it's hard to keep her interested - as opposed to Bender who will be focussed on you as long as you have treats in your pocket.

Anyway she's a smart dog, and hopefully we will figure out the toilet thing! and the jumping in and out of the car thing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Greyhound visitor interactions - Episode 1

So Barbie has already had one visitor at our house - Cari came and said hello, and while Barbie was a little shy, she accepted scratches and pats pretty quickly.

Last night P & K came to visit. At first she was a bit shy, giving them sideways looks and skittering away from them when they put their hands out to pat her, but by the end of the night she was presenting herself for neck scratches.

I think she will learn that visitors are good, and then hopefully she will learn that strangers outside her house are good too. Then she can become yet another Greyhound Ambassador.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sharing with a Greyhound - Episode 1

I decided tonight that I would take Bender out first so that I could take Barbie by herself and learn a little bit about her. She is not so confident when she doesn't have Bender's brash presence to hide behind. Anyway - lesson #1 about greyhounds - when they get scared, they tend to freeze up. It's like they leave for a moment and just stare blankly into space. She spooked a few times on the walk.

The first time was when a guy started talking to me and tried to stroke her. She jumped sideways a little to get away from him. He gave her space when I said she was still a bit shy and that I'd only had her since Sunday. He asked if she was going to be racing. I told him she was too slow and he seemed surprised. We chatted a little as we walked up to the intersection.

The second time she spooked, she stood on a man hole cover on the footpath and it made a bit of a noise. She trotted a couple of steps away from it.

The third, and worst, was when we were waiting to cross the train line. The crossing man started flashing and the signals started beeping. She was OK with that, then the gate shut. She seemed interested. Like it reminded her of something. Then the train came past. She was scared. She backed away and then froze. She seemed to relax a little when the train stopped, and the noise stopped. I touched her neck gently and she came back to me all of a sudden. Her eyes focused back on me and she wagged her tail. Then she walked with me as if nothing had happened.

When we got the the pub, there was a guy with his girlfriend. He tugged on her hand a little and said 'look! its a greyhound'. I smiled at them and said, she's still a little shy. They smiled back. It's great how she elicits that reaction in people. In the US greyhounds are in the top 10 most popular pets. I think they will become that popular here too when people realise how awesome they are. A lot of people react the same way that I did when I first met greyhounds - a mix of fascination and admiration but not knowing very much about them.
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