Friday, July 25, 2014

Pre-Open - Riley

I really have not done much obedience in the last few years.  I am kind of torn about it. Agility really is so much more fun than obedience. But with the right hound, obedience can be fun too!
Riley is one of those "right" hounds. She is just so precious. But ever since she fractured her hock, her sit just has not been the same.
She is trained through Open level (second out of three levels), but she cannot physically do the 3 minute sit stay anymore and I don't ask her to. Generally, she is fine with all the brief sits for heeling and fronts.
Since Riley cannot meet the requirements of the Open level, we have now shown twice at Pre-Open. It is scaled down version of open.  The jumps can be lower and there are no stays.  I figured why not?  She is already trained in all of the exercises.  I might as well show her off.
Last time, we got away with no practice and qualified anyway... and with a borrowed dumbbell because I forgot mine.  This time it showed that we had not practiced.  Riley did pretty well on all of the exercises and her drop on recall is always fantastic.  But her heeling left much to be desired. On certain ribbed matting, she will get picky about her sits and well... she was picky about this matting.
  Oh well, she was super cute anyway and I guess next time we will practice.

Photos by InMotion Photos.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Like Seven, Riley also knocked out her 39th double qualifier on day one of a 4-day agility trial. I had thought it would be fun if they both earned their second Master Agility Championship on the same day or at the same trial, but it did not happen. Riley wanted her own trial.
Riley qualified in Jumpers everyday, but we just did not have lots of luck in the Standard class. A dropped bar or bad handling on my part. Seven benefited from me getting to practice with Riley before her runs because Riley was first in the running order. Here are Riley's runs:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MACH2 Seven

Well, Seven had an excellent 4-day agility trial last weekend and earned her second Master Agility Championship. She is only the third greyhound to do so. My Travis was the first and Helen Hamilton's Whisper was the second.

To earn MACH2, your dog has to accumulate 40 Double Qualifiers (running clean in the Standard and Jumpers classes in the same day) and 1,500 points for seconds under standard course time (Seven had 2,552 points).

On Thursday, Seven knocked out Double Q #39 easily making Double Q #40 over the next 3 days appear achievable.  Well, she did it the very next day. Here are those videos.
Here is Seven clearing the last jump.  Look at my friend, Beth, in the background.  Love her! :-)
The bar from the last jump basically becomes your trophy.  All of your friends and supporters sign it.
And how about the ribbon?  This club has the best MACH ribbons! Gorgeous!
Seven qualified in Standard the next day, but got sucked into a wrong course tunnel in Jumpers. But then on Sunday, she earned her first QQ towards MACH3.  Will she be the first MACH3 greyhound?
So 7 clean runs out of 8 attempts. MACH2. Definitely an amazing weekend for us!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MOTC Trial - Seven

Seven also competed at the recent three-day trial.  She and I had a very successful weekend with two double qualifiers.  As you know, a double qualifier is when you run clean in the standard class and the jumpers class in the same day.  Here are our Double Qs:
I also shot this funny video of Seven complaining.  Whenever I return to my set up at agility trials, Seven looks at me very hopeful that it is finally her turn.  Most of the time it is not and she will complain when I sit down next to her instead.
I find it amusing.  Wish us luck this weekend!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

MOTC Trial - Riley

We recently attended a 3-day agility trial.  Riley ran well, but we only qualified twice and it was not a double.  Here are those two runs.
Hopefully we will have better luck at our upcoming trials!  Just two more Double Qs needed!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Birthday Girls

Riley, Seven, and Maddie recently celebrated a birthday.  Riley and Seven turned 8 and 6 on June 28th and Maddie turned 2 on July 2nd.  Time flies!
Riley gets zapped by the heat sometimes, but mostly she is as silly and precious as ever.

She is closing in on her second agility championship, but we have been stuck on needing two double qualifiers for a while now.  We are just having an unlucky streak.  Hopefully we will bounce out of it soon.

Riley is also about 141 points away from taking the #1 lifetime achiever from Travis.  He is still the number one greyhound in AKC agility even though he has been gone for 6 years now.  Overall, Riley is doing great!
Seven is also closing in on her second agility championship.  She too needs two double qualifiers.  She was quite a ways behind Riley, but because of Riley's unlucky streak, Seven has caught up.  We have a four day agility trial this weekend....
Seven's carpal joint has done pretty well in agility.  She did come up lame for a few minutes at an agility trial in May.  So disappointing because she was just 3 jumps away from a Double Q.  She came back and got one the next day. Such an odd, chronic problem. She just torques it, is sore for a few minutes, and then walks out of it.  Kind of like a twisted ankle.
It seems like Seven has maybe figured out how to avoid tweaking her wrist in agility most of the time.  She does some pretty hard, tight turns to the left without problems all of the time.  However, when playing in the yard, chasing Maddie or a toy, you would think her life depended on it.  She is way too intense and often will twist her wrist.  I hate treating her like an expensive, fancy, show horse that has to be kept in the barn, but sometimes she does not give me an option.
Maddie is coming along. She is still quite a challenge at times, but I am pleased with how she is progressing. I still do not have a debut date in mind.  There are several opportunities to practice her in matches this fall so I think that will be the focus.  If she can do well in a match, then a trial should have similar results.
Right now, we are taking a weekly, group agility class that highlights how fantastic Maddie can be, but also exposes the weaknesses of working with more pressure and distractions.
Class will be a great way to fill in the holes and strengthen areas we need work.  So no rush still.  I honestly do not need to be competing three dogs at one time anyway.
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Last Few Weeks

So behind in blogging again. We made it to Nationals and back again.  We did not have anything really great to write home about and our videos are awful.  Usually my friend, Jerry, and I will video each other.  But out of a couple hundred dogs, Riley and his German Shepherd, Ex, were surprisingly only a few dogs apart so we both paid for the professional videoing so we would not have to worry about it.  What a mistake!  The quality was horrible and they are frustrating to edit.
Riley, always the bridesmaid, completely bombed the Time to Beat Class. Slightly bombed the Standard class.  She did really well in Jumpers and I made the mistake that caused us to have an off course.  And then finally we ran clean in the Hybrid class. She did do all of the tricky stuff we had been practicing so I was happy about that.
Seven ran clean in Jumpers and Hybrid, but ran past the weave poles in Time to Beat and had an off course in Standard.  All in all, we had a fun trip, but I would have liked to have run better.

Time to get back to just running and finishing their second agility championships.  Riley needs 3 more double qualifiers and Seven needs 6.
Miss Maddie is coming along in her training. Now with Nationals over, the focus has switched back to her. Ever since her first season she has really matured. She just seems so much more grown up now for some reason.  I hope some of the playful puppy comes back.
I think her little boobies are pretty funny. I am just used to my greyhound girls being a bit more flat chested. I believe they should go down eventually.
Here is a video clip of some recent training.  I think Maddie looking pretty good.  She is cautious and does not want to make any mistakes.  I think she will speed up as she gains confidence.

It really is time for us to start practicing at other facilities and on different equipment. We are starting to make some plans for that.

We also have been doing a lot of fostering for Road Trip Home. Right now we have this little yellow Labrador Retriever.
She is quite shy.  She has gotten pretty comfortable with me, but is still very suspicious of my husband and everyone else.
She came from the local crappy, county animal shelter. Road Trip Home pulled all three.  I think she is probably the one in the back of the photo (below).
She will be transported to Animal Welfare Society in Maine on May 9th to find her forever home.

We also fostered this black Labrador Retriever.  Not our favorite foster. I will just leave it at that. She will do great in the right home.
And then a very special foster was a Shar-Pit (Shar-Pei X Pit Bull Mix).  I saw this photo in a rescue album on Facebook for the crappy, county shelter. Usually I am pretty tough and know that we cannot rescue them all, but the fact that this dog followed her jerk owner into the shelter off leash really bothered me. How could you surrender such an obedient, loyal dog?
I watched the album all week.  I offered a fairly significant pledge hoping to tempt a rescue group to take her, but nothing materialized.  Finally it was Monday morning and she had to have commitment by 3:30 PM. So I emailed my friend, Heather, from Road Trip Home to see if we could look at her. The group in Maine had asked that we not pull anymore pit bulls, but that if one was special that we could ask.  So Heather asked and they agreed they would take her if she passed the temperament test. And she passed.
So after being quarantined, she came to our house for a few weeks of fostering. She was so funny, sweet, playful, attentive, and wonderful. Fosters come and go, but the husband and I love her. Just so precious!
I wondered and there was some discussion, but in the end we were able to tell her goodbye about a week ago. She has been up for adoption for a few days now. Hopefully it will not be long before she finds her forever home who will appreciate everything she has to offer.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Seven's Wrist and Agility

In the month of March, we attended two local agility trials. On March 8th, Seven tweaked her wrist towards the end of the Standard course. You can see her on the table holding up her left paw on the table. Yes, we kept going. I looked at her on the table for a few extra seconds and asked if she wanted to continue. The next obstacle was the tunnel and if she really did not want to finish, she would tell me there. Well, she wanted to finish so we did. If this was anything other than arthritis, I would have stopped her on the table.
Long-time readers know that Seven has an arthritic left wrist that she will occasionally torque and come up lame for a couple of minutes, walk out of it, and then be fine again. There was a time when it was happening almost every time we did agility. The carpal joint became inflamed and was prone to getting hurt, but with the help of an orthopedic specialist vet and a rehab specialist vet, we have developed a system that manages the wrist very well. Seven gets joint supplements and fish oil. I carefully warm her up and do lots of work on her wrist before and after any activity. She is given Adequan once a month. And about 8 months ago, we did a platelet rich plasma injection. Platelets tend to concentrate in the injured areas to promote healing so the vet basically takes the platelets from Seven's own blood and injects them right into her problem joint. Last time, we got three months of ZERO wrist issues.  It was amazing!  So we did it again.
A week later, Seven competed at her next agility trial and did great. Here is video of her two best runs.
So onto Nationals later this week! Wish us luck!

Also, just an FYI, I asked my vet, the orthopedic specialist, and my rehab vet about the new stem cell treatments for arthritis. All three are skeptical of it and need to see more evidence of its effectiveness before they are willing to do it or suggest it. The great thing about the platelet rich plasma injections (PRP) is that it does not require a surgical procedure like the stem cell treatment does. The whole PRP process takes about an hour and if your dog is as food motivated as mine, they don't even need to be sedated. Cream cheese and canned dog food made the procedure very tolerable for Seven.