Friday, April 29, 2011

Sometimes they just don't understand...

The first photo I ever saw of Barbie.

It seems like my friends have been divided into two groups - some understand what I'm trying to achieve with my dogs, and why, and others just don't 'get' it. This division does not correlate with dog ownership either. I understand that. I never really thought about doing dog sports or teaching tricks with my first dog, Lucy. The other dog in the household at the time was quite a damaged package, and I spent a lot of time trying to sort those things out. In the end all he needed was routine and a calm hand. Anyway, those first two dogs didn't get much past 'sit' 'down' and 'stay'.

When I got Bender I taught him those basic obedience commands very early (he was so cute doing 'sit' at 9 weeks old!) Nevermind that he pretended not to know them when he got to 18 months. For a while there though, we were just stuck with that. Basic, practical obedience, and his favorite games of fetch and tug.

Things for me changed a bit when I got Barbie. I think partially it is because we take the responsibility of representing Greyhounds as a breed seriously. The other reason was that she was quite shy and unsure of herself in this new situation of living in a house outside of a kennel environment. Everything was new to her. I discovered she was very food motivated, and with help in a class environment, I introduced her to a lot of new situations and environments. I was encouraged by her enthusiasm and increasing confidence. I don't think she will ever be bullet proof, but training and preparing for the Canine Good Citizen gave us a toolkit to get through most situations in life. I also realised that if you want a better bond with your pet, you have to work together towards a common goal. Sure, the dog doesn't necessarily understand the goal, but the person needs it to keep focussed and heading in a certain direction.

I got a classic the other day, when I explained the Canine Good Citizen Award is a nationally recognised title, and that the dog has to pass an exam on 'real world' type obedience, and then you get the right to put letters after their name, I got 'isn't that pretentious'? I guess if I'd taken ages to explain to this person I do not know (and who doesn't seem to be into dogs at all) maybe I would not have got the response that offended me so. I wonder if they think the BSc on the end of my name is pretentious? :)

I am so glad that I can always go back to my blog, or back to the tracking club, or to my doggie friends, and don't get called pretentious for wanting to achieve something with my dogs. I guess they don't want to understand the canine-human bond which comes out of working together for a common goal. It is the bond that led to the domestication of dogs in the first place. It is the bond that allows humans and dogs to continue to work together in everything from farm work, search and rescue to agility, obedience and canine freestyle.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dancing with the Doggie Stars!

As regular readers of this blog will already know, we are going to be giving 'canine freestyle' a go for Honey's Dancing with the Doggie Stars competition. Honey and her person, Hsin-Yi, as well as other new followers have all asked for some practise footage so here it is, Barbie working on her moves.

Bender fetched his ball for about 4 hours yesterday and is still too tired and grumpy to do any work, so there's no video of him yet. But enjoy Barbie's!

We are going to try and do 'marching paws' as well but Barbie is insistent on offering just one paw! I think her balance isn't as good on the other side.... but once she gets used to walking on her back legs I think her balance will be better.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Beach Shenannigans

This is Barbie and Bender having a great time chasing each other up and down the beach.

When I was looking through the videos I realised I had Barbie shaking and her tail does funny things. I decided to make a slo-mo video.

Saturday is Dog Day


As has become the usual tradition, we got up early and took Bender to tracking in the pine forest. He did two tracks, and he did very well. We did some article work today and I got him to pick up the articles by stuffing balls into the socks. It worked. I was also impressed after he picked up the article and gave it to me, and I threw it for him (because it was a ball), I could tell him to 'find it' and immediately his nose went to ground and he was back on the track. It is unheard of for Bender to switch focus from a ball to something else (even food).

After tracking we took both of the dogs for an outing. Now we have a record-breaking long weekend here at the moment - Easter, and then ANZAC day on the end means that everyone has 5 days off work. Before my truck was wrecked, we were going to join the hoards headed out of the metro area. Now I'm glad that we didn't. We went to our regular beach and there was hardly anyone around. Then we bought kebabs and stopped at a local lake to eat them. Again there were very few people around.

Barbie's gonna getcha!!

This is as close as the Swans would allow us to get. I think 'Swan' would be an awesome name for a black greyhound. They both have long necks and their fair share of grace.

Barbie and Bender posing at the beautiful lake with the CBD skyscrapers in the background.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

hey kitty, won't you come inside....

On our walk last night there was a very unusual occurence! Barbie got to meet a strange kitty!

We were walking along, minding our own business, and a white kitty was sitting in the shadows near the edge of the road. Barbie saw it and stuck her nose close to it to say hello. It hissed (and possibly batted Barbie's nose). Barbie took a little hop backwards. I think Barbie was a little indignant - all kitties are supposed to be friendly, like her kitties! She didn't pay it much mind though as we continued along the path.

In other news, I have been 'free shaping' with both the dogs to see what dance moves they will come up with for Honey's dancing contest. Barbie offered standing up and resting her front paws on my chest. I think we can use that :) Both dogs are now spinning when I spin, and we keep working on the leg-weaves because, well that is a classic canine freestyle move. There will also be some jumping in the routines, and I have to work commando in there somewhere ;) I still haven't decided on the music but I think we will be doing more of the 'narrative' style.

Also, good news on my truck. The insurance company is going to pay out almost enough money to buy something else of equivalent usefulness. I am thinking about getting more of a station wagon type car since we don't really do the type of serious four wheel driving that requires the clearance my old truck had. A nice condition Subaru Outback is at the top of my list. We are heading to Europe at the end of June for 6 weeks, so when we get back I will start hunting for one. I would like to get one from 1998 - 2001-ish with under 200,000kms on the clock.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Biggest Event in Blogger History!

Well maybe I am being a bit melodramatic, but I am excited about Big Honey Dog's contest for non-dancing doggies to put together a doggie dancing routine!

We don't really have many dance moves going on but we've been looking for some motivation to learn new ones. And having two doggies, we may be able to string together two entries. I already have plans to move all the furniture out of the living room so it's a nice big open space to do a routine in! Hah!

Anyway wish us luck, we are going to need it!!!

Busy Day - Tracking and GAP stall

Bender ready for his first real tracking lessons

Bender was a bit confused when we got up and headed out at 7am. We turned onto a dirt road into a place he had never been. His jaw was vibrating in anticipation.

He is a turbo tracker, once he is on the track he takes off like a rocket and I just have to hold on and run. He pulls the lead through my hands so fast I feel like I have rope burn. Gloves next time!

We then rushed home, swapped dogs and drove all the way down to Mandurah for the pacing and chasing carnival.

There we met teeny 21kg Ling.

Ling is waiting for a relief dog to come and take some of the attention

Big Daddy is tired too!

Barbie in her Greyhounds as Pets coat

Barbie did quite well, getting patted by a lot of kids. I gave a young boy a treat so he could get Barbie to sit and give him a high 5. I showed off 'spin' and 'pray' on a park bench. It was a lot quieter than expected - apparently there are usually lots of stalls there but there weren't many today. Barbie was still pretty tired by the end of it.

We swung by my folks place on the way back and Barbie got to hang out with their dogs. The dogs are both exhausted now, so I think it's been a good day for them!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

200th Post!

To celebrate my 200th post on this blog I thought I would show you Barbie's new trick!

It is 'spin' - when I was first teaching her how to do this, she seemed to get half way through turning (so she was facing away from me)and then not be sure what she was supposed to do. I just called her name then and she turned back around.

She picked it up quickly but not as quickly as some of her other tricks. Bender has been spinning for a while. I taught him by stepping into him while holding the treat over his head. I had to do a more exaggerated arm movement to teach Barbie.

Barbie's trick resume (aside from normal obedience stuff) is starting to grow....

High 5
Touch (my hand with her nose)
Roll over
Play Dead (paw)
Through (hoop, tunnel etc)
Leg weaving (still working on this one)

Next we are going to walk on 'back' and 'curtsey' (bow). I'm also going to work on getting her to pick up items (like socks) in case I decide to try tracking with her (when she has to pick up scent articles). Then perhaps I can teach her to load and unload the washing machine?

I think I might also teach her to turn lights on/off, but I'm not going to teach her to open and close doors, especially the fridge door... she could get up to all kinds of mayhem then.

Any more suggestions of cute tricks to 'wow' the crowds? Or any assistance dog type tricks which don't involve the dog getting into trouble when left inside all day? :)

We have a really big day on Saturday, taking Bender to his first proper tracking class, and taking Barbie to a Greyhounds as Pets stall in the afternoon. Barbie will wow the crowd with her tricks. High 5 and Wave seem to be crowd favorites, but since we are in a grass area I'm sure we can do roll over/play dead and commando as well. Other greyhound people are just impressed when she sits. I really hope I can inspire some of them to do more with their dogs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 11, 2011

Doggie Routine....

Now that Barbie has well and truly settled in, she copes much better with changes in the daily schedule.

For instance, yesterday I took them out for another 2 hour walk to Riverside Gardens, and to check out a local school fete on the way back.

Actually, on the way back, we saw a young boy in a pram, and he was very unhappy. He was bawling his eyes out. Then he saw the puppies, and immediately stopped crying! How good is that?

Anyway, after their walk I was tired and so I cleaned a bit, made lunch, and then had an afternoon nap. I fed the dogs and left at about 4 to go to a gig in Fremantle that my friend's band was playing at. I fed them early, and made sure that Bender finished his dinner before I left (if you feed him but then walk out the door, he won't eat!) I didn't get home until 10, and the dogs had done fine. Nothing destroyed, no accidents in the house, nothing. I let them outside but they weren't keen to be out there for long - what is this wet stuff falling from the sky????

Even probably 6 months ago if I went out at night and left them in from 4 - 10 there might have been an accident in the house waiting for me when I get home, but Barbie is totally reliable now (except for the too-much-chicken-liver incident!)

I stayed up until midnight watching the Paris Roubaix, but couldn't stay awake for the finish. Barbie was glad when I finally turned off the TV, and she slept in past 7 this morning!

This is the band that I went to see - they are called Sugarchild. They are a pop band I guess, some of their songs have a lil bit of country in them. I met them at uni and we have been friends ever since. I wonder if I ran a competition to give away one of their CD's if people would be interested?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Life without a car - hike to Riverside Gardens!

Bender and tag-along swim back to shore

It's a little over a kilometre from our house to Riverside Gardens, and I have never walked Barbie the whole way down, let her off for a run, and then walked her back.

I didn't know how she would go with the distance, but Bender has struggled with the walk home in the past!

I have also never had them both offleash in an unfenced area by myself before, but I now trust Barbie enough that I don't have to watch her like a hawk the whole time. I also know that she will come back 100% of the time.

Bender had a lot of fun fetching his ball, though he wasn't a fan of the dog competing with him! The little terrier (terrorist) in the video chasing Barbie was also trying to grab on to Bender when he was running, but Barbie stuck herself in between them and diverted the terrier to chasing her. She did do a few full speed laps before she realised none of the other dogs could keep up - but the terrier kept trying! She slowed down for the other dogs (and she was getting a bit worn out by this stage).

All in all it was a good day, though my shoulder is a bit sore from Bender pulling on the lead once he realised where we were walking to.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Riverside Gardens - Autumn River Festival

Barbie wanted to go and see the Rangers and show them what a good dog she is, but they weren't anywhere to be found.

So today, we went for a ride and bought some new duvet covers. We were gone for half the morning, so when we got back we decided to take the dogs out while there is a car at the house! First we went to City Farmers and bought dog and cat food. Bender was being a bit silly with all the other big dogs there, grovelling on the ground and yipping at them. There was also a pen full of baby chickens there! Barbie had a sniff but she couldn't see them over the big wooden pen they were in.

After City Farmers we went down to Riverside Gardens, where we snapped a few photos. The dogs were smothered with attention. We met two other GAP-parents - people who had Greyhounds from GAP. One of them was in the GAP calendar, and was a big black boy, descended from Brett Lee (if I remember correctly, Beryl from Greyhounds CAN Sit is also related to Brett Lee - he was Australia's greatest racing greyhound).

Barbie went to check out the remote control sailboats.

Barbie wanted to go and see the tiny remote control sailboats. I told her it maybe wasn't a good idea to go swimming with the sail boats...

Bender checks out the SES stand.

Bender asks if he could be a search and rescue dog one day. I told him he needs to get over his fear of unfamiliar noises and walking on steel grates... and he needs to get his tracking champion title too.

Barbie got a little hot so decided to go for a dip.

Barbie got hot and started pulling me down to the water. She soaked herself, while watching a big Saint Bernard doing the same thing. The St Bernard's mum had decided that she wanted to go, but the big dog wouldn't move.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Drama in the Hood

Sunday night I heard a car speeding down my street, then I heard a massive bang. I didn't really think much of it but the dogs kept barking and shuffling around so I decided I better go out and see if everyone involved was OK. There were a heap of neighbours standing around as well as the driver and passenger of this vehicle:
Then I saw my car was not where I left it, parked on the grass verge in front of our house. It has been pushed back about 12 metres, which is impressive considering it was in first gear! He had lost control of his vehicle, hit a power pole and my car, and ended up in the parking bays across the road from my house.
I'm not sure if my car is repairable. I am sure the insurance company will let me know some time soon. It means that there will probably be no long camping trips for a while, as N's Honda Civic isn't big enough to fit both puppies and all our camping gear.

I was so pissed off about it at first I was ready to strangle the driver. He only lives down the road, so he was almost home. He was definately speeding - the speed limit is 50kph, there is no way that you do that much damage at 50.

Related Posts with Thumbnails