Thursday, September 30, 2010

Agility and Birthdays

I checked Barbie's adoption paperwork yesterday to find out her exact birthday, and it only says October 2007 - so I don't know what actual date of birth is. I was sure I'd seen it written somewhere else :P

Anyway, I have ordered her a halloween-themed martingale for her birthday, I hope it arrives soon! I think maybe we will save the cake and other festivities for her 'gotcha' day, which is 29 November (2009).

Agility classes start up again on the 15 October 2010. I had sent an email to the agility coordinator just flagging the fact that Barbie is a greyhound, and they didn't seem to have any particular breed-prejudice. The reply did state that they had only seen one grey attempt agility - a two-speed hound by the sounds of it. He said that it's 'safety first' so they would insist on us progressing slowly with equipment. I told him that there is NO WAY Barbie would attempt something if she wasn't confident about it.... she has the most refined sense of self preservation when it comes to agility obstacles. As long as she understands the agility field is for agility and not for zoomies I'm sure she will be fine! I guess I will have to keep an eye out for her in terms of attention span - I don't want her wandering off sniffing things when she has had enough.

Anyway the 15th of October is a convenient date because it means that Nic will be in town as well so the puppies can both come to the first class/night. I think to be fair I will alternate dogs so it will go:

Week1 - both
Week2 - Barbie
Week3 - both
Week4 - Bender

I tried to get a friend of mine who is very close to Bender and has a history with Staffies to handle Bender once a fortnight but she said no :( I expect that when both dogs get used to the atmosphere I can bring them both and alternately crate one or the other.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Longest Tongue Contest....

Greyhounds can have long tongues, and they often escape from their mouths at strange angles....

but noone can compete with Bender's tongue.

It starts off small, and then he fetches his ball ten million times.

His tongue expands to the point that it would be impossible to put it back inside his mouth.

Bender's tongue has been described by his friends as a slab of meat. Surprisingly he hasn't bitten his own tongue yet.

I think Bender wins. Heheh.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A night of training/play in our house

I generally do about 5 to 10 minutes of training every night with the dogs, and then take them on a half hour walk. Tonight on our walk, I spotted a white thing running across the road. I realised it was a dog by it's gait, and it was hassling another pedestrian on the other side of the road. It's owner stormed after it yelling it's name over and over... 'ROXY ROXY ROXY SIT STAY ROXY ROXY!' I realised that it would probably run to us but was hoping that he would get it back under control. He got it back into the park and I thought he would have the sense to put it on a leash. Then I saw it running after someone else in the park, barking and yapping at this person. The owner was yelling at the dog like he was going to kill it. Then it noticed us and came to us. It has a really aggressive demeanour and Barbie was having none of it. She barked at it, and when she did it darted away. I went wide so that if it ran it would only run to the park. Eventually the owner's yelling convinced the dog to move away from us and it zipped back into the park again. I told the guy that he needed to take her someplace with a fence or keep her on the leash. I hope she doesn't end up in a shelter, or worse get killed by a car. He really had no clue.

Barbie got to run offleash quite a bit in the previous 5 days, and I think more off leash time makes her more feisty. We didn't go out at all last night because I was busy doing other things, and she decided that she would just roll around on the carpet talking to try and convince me.

When I get home she now does the same thing as Bender, she goes straight for her toys! Anyway I decided to harness that energy. Who would have thought a greyhound could crawl so fast?

I then bought Bender in for some work. Bender demonstrates his version of 'commando' - Barbie does a great down/stay with distraction (considering how much she loves to commando herself), then Barbie does roll over and Bender does a spin for good measure.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I love OK GO!

Some of you guys will remember the OK GO video clip, with the choreographed treadmills? Well the latest video clip from them has also gone viral. It features some very well trained shelter dogs and is very very cute.

There has been a lot of talk of puppy farms in Australia today and there was a puppy farm expose during prime time by our celebrity vet - Dr Chris Brown. There was a puppy farm discovered in Gippsland, Victoria which was busted by the RSPCA, though there are still some dogs stuck there.

On the show last night they stated that 50% of dogs in Australia came from squalid puppy factories! I definitely support banning pet shops from trading in puppies and kittens. There is a pet shop near our house which specialises in designer dogs, and say that their dogs don't come from 'puppy factories' but who knows! They do a roaring trade and the amount of money they charge for these pups make them a very lucrative trade.

I will never buy any products again from a shop which sells puppies and kittens. I will stick to our local City Farmers, where my dogs are welcome, good quality kibble and toys are plentiful, and the only animals sold there are very healthy looking fish.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Crate Training - Progress with the Princess

So Barbie got her way, a little, the crate has been moved into the bedroom. Now she quietly whinges when she finishes her crate-treat, then woke me up at 4.30, let me go back to sleep, and I let her out at 5.30. Progress.

I also gave her a little water bowl, the kind that you use for birds that hangs on the side of the crate. Wow, her drinking is loud at night!

I think we are now making better progress. Yay. For the first time in a week I feel like I will make it through the day at work without staring blankly at my monitor.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take me to the river.... dunk my face in the water

Today, we visited Riverside Gardens, an offleash dog exercise area near the Swan River. Barbie wasn't off leash the whole time as she kept trying to wander off, but I let her have a bit of a run. Here is a small fluffy trying to figure out why this strange dog is plunging her head under the water.

Barbie doing her 'plowing her face through the water' trick. She dips her head right under and then 'pops' out of the water, jumping up, and then sprinting out. I am yet to successfully capture this maneuver!

This staffy thought she could catch Barbie. Big mistake!

Oh, and I took some video at the beach yesterday. Bender is no slouch when it comes to running but Barbie can smoke him easily. Watching these two run around makes me think other dogs are moving in slow motion!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Warning: Kangaroos Crossing

We spotted a kangaroo crossing at the beach today....

Maybe she gets called 'roo dog' because she looks like one, not because anyone expects her to catch them.

The beach was very quiet today because of the overcast sky.

Though Barbie and Bender did find a young black puppy to join them in their games.

Barbie did a bit of running in the surf, but because it was not very warm outside, she tried to avoid getting her paws too wet...

Bender's ears flapped in the wind as he chased his ball over and over again

Bender's sandyface on the way home....

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finding voice...

Since I have been making Barbie sleep in her crate, and she has decided to whinge about it... she has become more vocal all round. I'm not sure if I like this new trend.

Last night she started up a conversation off her own bat. We were watching TV, having just finished eating our dinner, and Barbie was lying on the carpet near my feet.

Barbie: Hey, I think you have forgotten something
Me: I am really getting sick of the sound of your voice, Barbie.
Barbie: Get your ass off that couch, there is something you are meant to do before you get too comfortable
Me: Are you sure there is nothing wrong with you? The way you are carrying on, I might have to take you to the VET!
Barbie gets up off the floor and moves to the spare couch, groaning loudly as she flops down.
Barbie: You humans are so damn LAZY
Me: Do you want to go out then?
Barbie leapts up off the couch, ears swivelling into full antenna mode, and begins dancing in front of me.

We took them out for their walk although it was very windy out. They were both a bit on edge because of all the strange noises and smells. Barbie was also quite disappointed that we went on our usual boring route, so she dragged her feet, or heeled perfectly expecting treats. She wasn't that interested in sniffing the world around her.

I think they are both looking forward to summer and more daylight, which means more off leash exercise, and trips to the beach and the river. I suppose to make them more satisfied I could always get up early and take them out at dawn, but am I that devoted? Not so sure!

As for the crate, well, Barbie still hates it and refuses to accept it without a whingefest. I put some classical music on for her to keep her company and she still whinged a little after she was bored with her peanut butter stuffed Kong. She went to sleep after that, only to wake up and whinge at 2.30, then 3.30, then 4.30ish, then 6. This was the 7th night in the crate. She is as stubborn as ever. I am not sure she is ever going to accept being crated overnight at this rate. It is a great pity because I thought it would be a really handy thing to get her used to. I also think it's the only way to ensure that she is 100% house broken, though we are going to rip the carpet in the living room up soon - maybe once the stinky carpet is gone she will stop peeing on it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"dad" jokes

My boss just retired, but one thing I miss about him is the awful jokes he used to tell. We called them 'dad' jokes - the kind of jokes told around the dinner table that make the kids roll their eyes.

I found this dad joke on the internet today.

Two horses are standing in a barn after a big day at the races...After starting a discussion together on their current form of the day, the first horse says, "The strangiest thing happened to me in the 3rd race today...I was coming dead last and thought may as well give up...and as soon as I thought this.....WHOOSH!.....something smacked me right in the ass and then pushed me to the head of the pack...and I won the race!"
The second horse then continues the discussion with, "Well funny you should say that...Cause in the 8th race I was coming second last and decided to give soon as I made that decision, I felt something smack me in the ass, and I was pushed to the head of the pack and consequently came first..."
Now, almost as soon as the horses had finished their discussion on this strange phenomenom, a young Greyhound had made his way into the barn...He walked over to the two horses and said, "I overheard you guys talking just then about what happened to you both in your races...And I think I know what it is!...Apparently many years ago there was a horse who lost every race he ever competed in...eventually he decided to give up in every race...and he was always laughed at and ridiculed by the other horses and their jockeys...Now, as the tale goes, the horse died... but before he did so, he vowed to the other horses that never again would another horse have to face the ridicule that he himself endured for sooo many years...So you see what I think that was that smacked you in your asses, was the ghost of that horse!!!"
After taking in all that the Greyhound had just told them, the two horses stood in total amazement with their mouths wide open for a good 5 minutes....after which the first horse turned to the second and said, "Well F**k me.....A talking Dog!!!!"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A greyhound and a golden retriever pup....

Last night I got a nice draft all the way home from three cyclists who were riding together. Two guys in boardies, one riding a mountain bike with big fat knobblie (noisy) tyres and a woman on a road bike wearing lycra. They kept up a pretty good clip for most of the way, so I got home with energy to spare.

I then took Barbie to a local park for the first time last night. I left Bender at home because I felt it would be too much to keep an eye on both of them. This park is massive, and it belongs to the local soccer club. It is almost entirely fenced except for the big gate that leads to the car park. I also discovered there is a small gate around the back that is probably closer for us to enter through, I will probably go that way tonight. As it is a bunch of soccer fields, it is mainly flat, and the grass is dense but soft. Perfect for a little lady like Barbie to accellerate and turn. I let her off the leash and told her she could go. She sprinted straight towards some billboards that marked the edge of one of the pitches, and I had my heart in my mouth, but she neatly popped through a gap between them. She ran full speed at a railing as well but avoided it deftly. There were 3 other dogs there. One was a medium-ish fluffball, and Barbie sprinted past it trying to entice it to chase. It realised very quickly it was beaten. Then Barbie and I spotted a young golden pup prancing around. I took Barbie over to see him, and say hi to his owners. He was 5 months old and very cute. Barbie ran circles around him, and he ran around and around an inner circle trying to keep up with her. She sprinted up and down the park a few times. Then she lied down. The pup went over to her and kissed her on the muzzle. She was very gentle and tolerant with him. She definately gave him more leeway than she would with a grown up dog! The owners of the GR were about my age, maybe a few years older, and they were interviewing me about Barbie and greyhounds in general. The only negative, I told them, was her tendency to be whingy. That and having to be on alert when she is off leash due to her pure speed. They were both in awe of her running and a little anxious for her. I think they felt better when I reassured them that this perfectly flat grassy place was a really safe place for her to run. Her recall was great (though she came in too hot and ran past me a couple of times), and she was appropriate with all three dogs s. I was very happy with her.

I didn't get any photos of them together but I will next time. It got dark far too soon and the mosquitoes came out to play. They were trying to eat me, but they didn't seem to be bothering Barbie. We jogged most of the way home. Barbie did OK with the trains going past, but she was a little hesitant over the level crossing. It seems that her train-fear is most intense around that crossing where she had that first scary overload experience. We crossed at a different point of the track on the way to the park and that didn't seem to bother her.

When I got home, Bender was quiet. I was expecting him to be doing his 'I'm alone and abandoned' bark... which goes ... 'WOOF'....(10 seconds)....'WOOF'. I was very happy with him too. He got extra cuddles and extra play time.

I went to bed at 10 last night, and all whining (that I noticed) had ceased by 10.30. She started up again at 5, so I let her out for her wee and she was really thirsty... I really need to get her a bowl that I can hang up on the crate side so she can drink, but not knock it over herself. Then in the morning while I was eating my breakfast she went back into her crate and curled up in there. I definately think we are making progress and I am not quite so exhausted today.

Maybe tomorrow when they wake me up at 5am I will get up instead of going back to bed. Maybe.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

You can buy Frosty Paws in Oz

I spotted these in Coles while I was shopping today. For my Aussie followers you can probably buy them - but $4.99 for a pack of 4? I don't think so!

I just bought a massive jar of peanut butter instead for the same price. I will make the puppies frosty paws when it is cold enough, but for now I think they would prefer warm treats!

Barbie was very unhappy about being in her crate last night and howled from 10.45 (when she lost interest in her Kong) until past midnight, and then started up again at 4.30am.

I took them to the park at 9, but didn't take any photos because I was feeling too sleep deprived to handle both dogs and a camera as well. Barbie tried to get a Great Dane to run. He was a particularly big Great Dane and galloped like a horse in slow motion. His owners were stressing because he wasn't meant to run too much. Barbie was running at his shoulder and poking him with her muzzle. She barked a little too. I think she was trying to get him to run faster, but I'm not sure he could!

Everyone at the park knows Bender's name. His habit of giving his ball to strangers has won him some friends, but others are not backwards in telling him to go away. Not that he listens to them!

I had a bit of a nap today to prepare for another night of whining!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Slow with the crate, but she still hates it...

When I first got a crate for Barbie she was downright afraid of it. I had gotten her to the stage now where she goes in there on her own and just chills out in there for a bit. Anyway, last night was her first full night in the crate. She whined for the first hour, then she slept for 6 hours and woke up at 5.15am or so. I let her out for a wee in the morning at about 5.30 after she had been quiet for a whole 5 minutes. She was very happy to be out of there. She is being crated at night for two reasons - 1. She still occasionally pees on the floor inside at night and I'm trying to eliminate that, and 2. I want to be able to crate her when we take her out camping instead of just tethering her like we used to do with Bender.

I think she'll be OK in a few nights. She will probably still whinge a bit. I want to get her to sleep until 6.50am in the crate and I will be happy with that.

On our walk last night, we had to walk over a piece of orange mesh that someone had strung across the footpath. Bender walked over it fine, but Barbie hesitated. I said 'over' and waited. Barbie thought about it for a little while and I didn't think she would do it, but then she executed a beautiful (if over the top) leap over the offending plastic and we continued on our way. We also stopped in a local park and I got them both to down/stay. I did two very short distance down/stays because Bender looked as if he was about to take off. Barbie never took her eyes off me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

the way they were...

When Bender first arrived on my doorstep he was tiny. He could curl up inside a shoebox with a teddy bear! On the other hand, Froufrou was almost fully grown when she came to me. The size difference has changed a lot!

Here they are a couple of weeks ago!

Their relationship hasn't always been harmonious. There were a good few months were often we came home to a cat covered in Bender's spit. He used to chase her and pin her down. I used to let her stay outside so that she could get away from him. They came to an understanding, and Froufrou now spends a lot of time grooming Bender's face for him.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bright Sunny Morning in Whistlepipe Gully

I contacted the agility club we were supposed to be visiting on Friday night and they were on holidays!!!!

On Saturday we went to see the Fremantle Dockers (my Aussie Rules team) beat Hawthorn in the preliminary final. Their first final since 2006! And they WON! The dogs got a long walk that afternoon, but we decided we had to do something special for them today.

First though, we went out for breakfast. The dogs weren't allowed to come for breakfast because of previously mentioned 'no dogs in cafes' rule.

Then we drove up to the hills and went for a walk in Whistlepipe Gully. It was about half an hour, and Bender spent the whole time huffing and puffing. He didn't recognise the route and was pretty excited to be going somewhere new.

Barbie started off slow, while Bender attempted to drag Nic down the trail. I think Bender needs a backpack to slow him down a bit. Lovely Barbie decided to poop very early in the walk so we had to carry it the rest of the way. I tied the poop bag to her lead.

They both enjoyed some yummy smells on the trails. Probably rabbits and kangaroos!

There was some nice fresh water trickling down the gully, making for some cute little waterfalls.

Barbie went wading a couple of times to cool off. She loves water. She likes to dip her whole face in. I haven't seen her swim yet. Being so lean I think she will have floatation issues.

We came across two large logs that had fallen over the trail. They were probably about 80 cm tall and Barbie leapt over them with minimal encouragement. A very big improvement from last time we went hiking in the bush!

At the end of the trail there was a house. Barbie was convinced we should go in and visit. The woman who lived there came out with her old German Shepard and they said hello to each other. The GSD was barking at first but then it's body language softened as the lady grabbed hold of it's collar. It took treats to lure Barbie away from the house.

On the way back we met an adorable Border Collie pup with a blue eye and a brown eye. I think he was about 6 months old and he played a short wrestling game with Bender. Barbie said a brief hello then I held her back because I got the feeling that she was going to turn into the fun police and tell them off for wrestling.

The view from the top of the hill was quite stunning...

although I think it was lost on the dogs.

Barbie did well with the walk and we made it back to the car with minimal paw-dragging.

We dropped in to City Farmers on the way home to pick up more kibble for the dogs and the kittens. Barbie was cool as a cucumber because she has been there a few times lately. Bender found the environment very very stimulating. He tried to steal the tennis balls, and then perked up his ears and looked around when he heard someone squeezing a squeaky. He also discovered the fish in tanks at the back of the store and left nose prints on the glass. The staff gave both the dogs treats, though Bender was a little snappy with them!

Midday we got home and now Barbie is sleeping in her crate and Bender is outside in the sun. I think they had a good day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Coming home to the Royal Court

I made up a little ditty last night in the shower:

Frou Frou is the Queen
Bender is the wayward Prince
Barbie is the Princess with the Pea
Mittens is the joker and the jester and the fool
Their humble servants are we!

Frou frou seemed to be frightened of my singing.

Nic works away, and when she gets home she always gets loving looks from the whole Royal Court, but I think Bender gets the most excited. Bender has a obsessive compulsive urge to catch and fetch his toys. I have long learned not to give in to his requests. I will throw his toys a few times for him and then say 'no more' and he stops.

The conversation between Bender and Nic goes like this:

Bender: Throw my Kong now
Nic: OK *throws*
Bender: That was easy, throw it again
Nic: No, you've had enough and you are getting too noisy
Bender: But you always throw my Kong
Nic: No, that's enough. Last time it almost bounced off your teeth and into the TV
Bender: Throw my Kong
Nic: No
Bender: Throw my Kong *places Kong in Nic's lap and stares at her*
Nic; OK *throws*

It is an endless cycle. It seems I am one of the few who is immune to his evil tactics.
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