Friday, February 29, 2008


The Munchkin (Reagan) is doing well and settling in nicely. I am back to working full days and she has had no problem crating up to 10 hours. She had one other housetraining accident (my fault), but to her credit she did make into a bathroom and peed on the bath mat. I did catch her doing it and was able to scoop her up and take her outside. She is doing very well eating chicken backs and hasn't had any trouble with any of the veggie mixes, training treats, or extras. I love a sturdy gut on a dog. She is getting along with the other dogs and enjoys meeting new ones. She is calm and friendly in her interactions. She appears to have let go of protecting her crate from the other housemates and is not as touchy about sharing dog beds or mattresses.

My only complaint is that she does cry more than I would like for her too. It is not horrible, but she squeaks when is is excited or tired of waiting. She does make me appreciate Travis, Katie, and even the stepdogs. The step dogs don't have a lot of training, but they know their names, they can do down stays in the house, come when called, and don't do a lot of running through the house. Working with Reagan really puts into perspective how much Katie and Travis have learned over the years. I look at her and wonder if it will ever all come together. I have to remember that Katie and Travis knew nothing 6-7 years ago.

Reagan still scares me all of the time because she's running from room to room with toys across slippery floors. I usually cut the house in half with a baby gate to minimize her running to half of the house and runners strategically placed at stopping and turning points have helped also. Her coordination skills have improved quite a bit from those days running in straight lines on sand. It is fun to see her play. I have started teaching her to retrieve since it is such a good way to tire out an active dog. Indoors, I click and treat when she picks up the toy and I'm working towards clicking & treating when I put my hand on the toy that is in her mouth. She seems to be catching on that I want her to pick up the toy. The hard part is keeping her from bounding off with it. Outdoors, I toss the toy and then see where she takes it. I move to that section of the yard and trade her a treat for the toy. I throw the toy and generally she will tend to return to that particular section of the yard. This works on a lot of greyhounds that like toys and food.

She has tinkled 3 times in the front yard now. Yes, I do think its exciting since we spend a lot of time away from the house. Next weekend we will be going to a 3-day agility trial at Wills Park, so I am hoping she will get some off-the-premises-pee-practice since we will be there all day.

She had her first experience in PetsMart yesterday. It was nice and quiet. I took Katie along as the model greyhound. I am happy to see that Reagan appears to be born brave. Since greyhounds are pretty much raised the same and are not exposed to life outside of the farm, kennel, and track, I feel that they are either born cautious or born brave. Cautious greyhounds were not abused, but they tend to approach new things with caution. They play it safe and tend to avoid. Brave greyhounds approach things with curiousity. They want to check out all of the new stuff and ask questions later. There are lots of variations in the middle, of course. Travis is definitely an example of the extremely brave type. He is 100% fearless. Katie was pretty much the same way up until a year ago. I'm glad to see that Reagan seems to be the same way.

Reagan is an expert at jumping in the van now. Now I need to teach her to wait to jump in the van.

Reagan's sits and downs are pretty good. It appears that she is comfortable sitting which is a big plus for showing in obedience. The Open level requires 3 minute sit stays which is a very long time for a greyhound not comfortable sitting. Reagan is learning to wait until I release her which is usually a big leap out of position that makes you laugh. She is learning that it is worth it to respond to food-less hand signals. The trick is that when you start training without food in your hands, you have to give them a bigger reward for responding. If I use a food lure, she gets 1 piece of kibble. If she responds to just a hand signal, she gets 3 higher value treats. I don't do much training at home, so she is learning to deal with distractions already. She still does not know her name and recalls still need a lot of work.......... but heck, its not even 2 weeks yet.