Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More bike trailer shennanigans!

Now Bender is a little older, he can't walk as far as he used to. He is also not allowed to go to the park and be off leash when other dogs are fetching toys, as he will run too hard and hurt his bad knee. He has had x-rays and has been diagnosed with arthritis. He has had a course of Cartrophen injections and they have helped, but he can not push himself or he will be sore. 

Our solution this weekend was to take him for a ride to a random, small suburban park in an area where not many people have dogs. I knew there wouldn't be any other dogs there playing.

Bender enjoyed wandering around the park and having a good old sniff. We practiced his recall a little, as it has become apparent that he has the worst recall of the pack!

It was raining and I didn't want the trailer get wet for Bender, so we were a bit naughty, and parked the bikes and trailer at the train station park n ride facility. It's a big no no to make use of this and not catch the train, but there weren't many other bikes around as it is the weekend after all. Bender appreciated it when we got back to the trailer and it was nice and dry. 

We managed to get to the very last night of the Maylands Hawkers Markets on Saturday night. Thanks to the Doggyride bike trailer Mouse got to join us. The only thing that was slightly unpleasant was the drizzly rain. We made it home before the worst of it hit. Here's the video.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Mouse, meet Beach!

I don't particularly like the beach in summer. The sand burns your feet and you have to share with everyone else who thought visiting the water was a good idea. As we are heading in to winter, and half of Perth's population seems to be away due to the magical combination of public holidays and school holidays, we decided that it would be a good idea to try Mouse at the beach again.

ooooo yeah
Mouse has been to the beach a few times. When we took her down to Esperance she was on leash only, much to her frustration. We had only just adopted her and I didn't trust her to stay with the 'pack'. The last time we took her to the beach I let her off leash a couple of times, but they were both only short periods, as she immediately sprinted up to people and other dogs and then harrassed them by running tight circles around them. People don't like being tripped over by strange dogs. I retrieved her and she went back on the leash.

This time we saw a huge improvement! She did scare a big standard-poodle cross type dog but she left him alone when I asked her to. She didn't try to head up into the dunes, and she mainly just played with Bender and Barbie.

Mouse making sure she doesn't outrun Bender by too much
I recalled her to me a few times, and she was great. The first recall we did, I said her name and when she looked at me I started mumbling praise. She then started walking towards me and I praised her louder. She broke into a sprint, aimed right at my legs, and I told her to slow down. She came to a complete stop and a sit right in front of me. It was beautiful. Of course she was rewarded with her favorite treat - chunks of cheddar cheese.

A quick game of chasey is always fun!
Barbie is just perfect off leash at the beach now. She mainly just wanders along just behind me, and when she does zoomies she tends to do tight circles around me rather than disappearing down the beach, like she used to. I believe Mouse will be just as perfect some time in the near future.

crazy Bender causing trouble!
The only time Mouse got into trouble was when Bender spotted a lady throwing a ball for her dog. He took off, and Mouse took off after him. Nic tried to tell Bender to stop but he was using his selective hearing. I said Mouse's name once, and she stopped for a while and looked at me as I walked towards her, but I took too long and she turned tail to join Bender running around the lady with the ball. I don't think the lady would have minded, but Bender got her dog's ball and wouldn't give it back. I had to fish it out of his mouth for her and put him on the leash. If only Bender would play fair.

having the time of her life! 
I'm looking forward to many more future beach visits with the hounds - there are a few other dog beaches I would like to visit in the next few months. I expect there will be plenty more beach pictures to come!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A hike in the bush & dog trailer fascinations

The dogs must LOVE public holidays, as over the Easter long weekend they have been the centre of attention every day. Mouse has been to run and play with her friends at the local fenced dog park a couple of times, and rode with me to the airport to pick up N. 

We also went for an 8 kilometre hike around The Spectacles which are located in suburbia well South of Perth, off Anketell Road. The Spectacles are supposed to be lakes but it's very dry there at the moment and we didn't see any water. The hiking trails are a bit confusing and we ended up walking a bit further than planned, but they are mainly flat and easy. There were some people there doing some 'bush care' work, and one of them patted Barbie and said 'greyhounds, my favorite type of dog!'

They all decided to poop very early on in the walk, and I didn't want to carry it, so I double bagged the girls poops and tied them onto one of the side d-rings on Mouse's harness. She didn't even seem to notice as she was having such a great time looking for bunnies and other small things that hop around in the bushes. 

The walk was a little bit long for the two oldies, and Barbie decided she would have a short rest on a sandy patch in the shade. Mouse was still going strong though. I think I really need to get her a backpack so she can carry water for everyone and perhaps a supply of poo bags. 

We had another strange encounter this weekend. For those not familiar with greyhound racing, the dogs are transported to the track, or wherever else they need to go in these trailers. They vary wildly in size to fit four to eight dogs, but they are all made of that white corrugated metal with little whirlybird ventilators on top. 

To me they look like caravans for midgets. When I went to pick up Mouse she was locked up in one as we were coming late in the day and the trainer didn't want to disturb all the other dogs in the kennel. Once she had been in the car, with it's glorious glass windows and padded couch like seats, I didn't think she would ever consider getting into one of these again! 

Lately I've noticed a really small dog trailer parked on the verge of a rental townhouse two doors up. They seem to be visiting as they are not there all the time. We walked past with the dogs for the first time last night, and their reactions were fascinating.

Bender didn't show any interest at all but the two greyhounds went crazy taking deep whiffs through the vents on the doors. Then Mouse dug her paws in and refused to continue on the walk, with exactly the same look on her face as when I'm trying to drag her away from the car. I managed to convince her that she wasn't going in the trailer and she begrudgingly continued on. The same thing happened when we walked back past the trailer on our way home. 

While our dogs live in the moment, they never really forget their past. 

if we want to race, we'll race at the dog park!

Monday, April 14, 2014

An Energetic Composition - take two - Barbie and Mouse get a turn

I took Bender for his first painting class as part of An Energetic Composition a couple of weeks ago, and I enjoyed it so much I decided I needed to take the greyhounds to have a turn. 

Barbie had just been stitched up from her little incident on Friday, but she was really excited to be able to come out with us. She loves Billy's and she worked really hard on the big community painting. She added some very straight, strong criss-crossing scratch marks. 

They even worked together on the community piece as neither wanted to be left out at the start. Barbie was keen and threw all kinds of tricks, but when she was tired, she just kept giving me 'play dead'. Anyone who thinks greyhounds are smart needs to meet her, she did such a good job of communicating her wishes through her tricks! 

We bought a bed in for Barbie and when she had enough she went and lie down of it in the corner. She is so comfortable at Billy's now that she can just take a nap while all the other dogs and humans are working. 

Mouse kept at it, and somehow managed to get the paint all over her head. A few people complimented her on her new hair colour. She would paint for a bit, then run over to other people for cuddles, then paint a bit more. I am glad I bought super stinky tuna fillet treats because she was a bit bored of the liver treats. In fact she chose pats and cuddles over liver treats!

The greyhounds were a lot easier to keep contained on to the drop sheets so they didn't leave too many painty footprints everywhere like Bender did. 

Mouse proudly posed with her picture before we let the doggies have playtime in the other pens. Barbie and I stayed in the far pen so that Barbie wouldn't run around and stretch or tear her stitches. They were both exhausted when we got home. A weekend outing well done! 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinema - Dog friendly viewing!

Last night we took Mouse along to a screening of 'Wolf of Wall Street' ! Taking your dog to the movies, what could be better?

I first saw an ad on Facebook that said this particular open air cinema was dog friendly. The problem was that the screenings were limited, and I had to pick one that Nic was home for so that she could bring a doggie in to town. I held off on seeing 'The Wolf of Wall Street' especially for the open air cinema experience with a dog.

It was a toss up on who to bring. We were initially going to bring Barbie, but that day she managed to injure her delicate skin and had to have a few stitches at the vet. Mouse got to come as a stand-in.

She did remarkably well considering it was a very long movie (3 hours) and there were people all around us eating pizza and ice cream. Every now and then we could hear the ducks in the nearby lakes making a racket and Mouse stuck her head up to listen to them.

She got up a few times when people around us walked around. We were on the grass with a picnic blanket and Nic bought a nice little bed for her, but a couple of times she decided she just wanted to lie draped across my legs.

The movie was a little bit dull, the best parts were the physical comedy parts where the Wolf is completely drugged up. It was hilarious watching Leonard Di Caprio thrashing around on the ground. None of the characters were likable at all so it was cool to be able to cuddle up with Mouse when I was bored with the screen. She was also nice and warm as the night cooled down.

She got a bit of attention, but not too much. One of the guys at the entrance told us a story about a racing greyhound his family had bought in the 1970s. The hound was in the Perth Cup, big prize money, was 6 lengths in front, but the Aunt was there at the final bend cheering dog on. The dog jumped the fence and went to his Aunt. Just goes to show plenty of hounds would rather be loved on and spoilt than chasing a lure! 

It was a late night and Mouse didn't really sleep much at the movie. We had a bit of a walk back through the city to get to the car and Mouse seemed really happy to be in new surroundings, until a car full of young yobbos screamed at us from their car window. That scared her a bit. Fortunately we were close to the safe haven of the car at that point and she happily jumped in and settled for a nap. 

Today she is catching up on her sleep with her creepo eyes on. She did really well and I am a bit sad that we only managed to go once before the season ended. Hopefully they set up again next year! 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

West Coast Dog Sports - Lure Coursing in WA!

Finally there is a lure coursing club in Perth, and it's Mouse's new favorite sport. We have been two 'fun days' so far with a new lure coursing club, West Coast Dog Sports. Mouse has shown a lot of keen enthusiasm. The lure is just a bunch of yellow plastic dog poo bags with a weight on a line which is driven by an electric machine. Greyhounds here are often trained to race with plastic bags so I didn't have to explain anything to Mouse.

Mouse in her new harness

After that very first run, she tried to run off after the lure every time it went past while we were waiting in line. I even got her a new harness with a single buckle and a handle on the back for lure coursing. I use the handle whilst waiting in line, and the single buckle is great when getting her harness off at the start and back on at the end of a run.

Photo courtesy of West Coast Dog Sports
So far we have only done 100 metre straight runs. Mouse goes a bit crazy when the lure disappears though and goes running around looking for it. On the first fun day she ran off twice after the lure disappeared. She escaped out of the run area and I had to sneak up on her to grab her. They run naked so that makes it a bit harder as well. Good thing Mouse loves being touched so much that as soon as I get my hands on her she stops.

Photo courtesy of West Coast Dog Sports

On the second fun day she did a crazy zoomie after her first run, but on the second and third runs she stopped and let me catch her. 

Photo courtesy of West Coast Dog Sports

All sorts of dogs have been attending the fun days, and the committee seem to all be in to their Rhodesian Ridgebacks. There have been a lot of sight hounds including Greyhounds, Salukies, Whippets and Italian Greyhounds as well as Afghan and Pharoah hounds. There was also a West Highland White Terrier called Angus who really loves the lure. He is so adorable springing after it with his white locks streaming behind him! 

This is a video of Mouse and her greyhound buddy Sam doing their runs on the very first fun day.  

West Coast Dog Sports are having a full run set up on the 17 of May and I can't wait to see Mouse tackle a course with corners.

I have also just become aware of another club in the countryside south of Perth called Lure Coursers Anonymous. They are holding a 120 m Canine Sprint event in May so we are trying to get down there for that. I think it would be a fun weekend away and Mouse would love to have a go at getting the title 'Fastest Dog in Australia'. I expect the competition will be stiff, especially as she isn't actually a fast greyhound, but I will be interested to know how quick she actually is over a straight 120 metres. She is such a good traveller that I know she will love the whole thing, and Barbie and Bender will come along for the ride.

If you aren't getting enough Mouse news in your day, Mouse now has a Facebook page, which has daily photo updates. If you would like to follow her go 'like' her here.
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