Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Obedience and stuff

I have found an obedience club that I'm going to join. I think that I want to focus on Barbie first, since she needs it more. She's still not much more than a puppy - she turns 3 in September.

Barbie does have a few vices that I'm still working on. She thinks everyone at the dog park should enjoy being 'prey'. When I first got her she chased with such intensity that she actually caused a staffy to run into one of the fences. She doesn't chase like she used to though, as I have supervised her closely since then, especially with new dogs, small dogs, young dogs, and any dog that whines or squeals. If I feel she is getting a little too intense I can usually collar her without too much effort - but I rarely have to intervene these days. There is only one gate, and everytime a dog comes or goes she is there, waiting. I will be there too, with my fingers in her collar until I can determine her reaction to the dog. If she wants to chase, but it is scared, I just have to touch her on the collar again and redirect her and she goes on her merry way.

The other is, well, a problem with most of the dogs that come to Whiteman Park. Not very reliable recall. Her recall at home is almost perfect, and I'm working it at the park. I trust her with other dogs now, and I bring treats to the park. If I see her just looking around and not particularly focussed on anything, I will call her, and she will come.

She also is really cool when she is ready to go home. The last three times we have been there, I have gotten her leash out of my pocket and held it up - she has seen it - and come trotting up to me! I am definately rewarding *that* behaviour with food. The advantage of her being a sighthound is that she picks up visual cues from far away better than Bender does.

I really want to teach her to heel, not so much because she pulls on the lead (she doesn't), but so that she doesn't lag behind, and meander all over the path in front of me. I really want her to be my running companion, and as I have had some fitness setbacks it will be easy for her to build up her fitness with me. I don't think I'll do upwards of 5k with her but building up to 5k should be a good foundation for fitness. I have seen far too many overweight greyhounds at the GAP playgroup and I am determined that Barbie will not become one of them. I would also like to try her with jumping and other agility obstacles once I have gotten a reliable and proofed recall out of her. The problem with the Northern Suburbs club is that it's held in a fenceless park so until I trust her, she can only work on the lead or a line. We will see how we go at first and then if the fenceless park becomes an issue I will have to look around for other places to train. There is another club but it's a very long way from my house.
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