Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Midget Report

I hate it when I start a post and then I save it for when I have a picture. The news gets old...... especially with Reagan. I write this nice bragging piece about her and then suddenly she has a bratty week............ so here goes without a photo.

I am starting to gear up to start some serious agility training with Reagan. She should be about 100% physically mature now. It is time to add the contact obstacles and to start weave poles. Mentally, she seems focused, motivated, and ready for some real work. We will keep doodling with obedience training. Her stays are pretty good and she has some nice heeling moments here and there, but I don't think she is that mentally ready for hard core obedience. Agility is fun because they get to run and jump. There is a lot more freedom. Obedience strives for perfection and is strict and rigid. I am not sure if she will ever be a good obedience dog due to her very WIDE sit position, but we will see. I'm ok with an ugly sit (Katie sits like a bulldog), but it needs to be comfortable for the dog to do a 3 minute sit stay. Not always easy for a greyhound.

Reagan's recalls are very good. When she is in an unfenced open area, I have her drag a long line while she fetches or while Stephen and I practice recalls back and forth with her. Long lines are such an excellent tool for off leash training. They allow you to force the issue if you are ignored, adds an element of safety, and also gives the handler a good feel for how responsive the dog is from a distance. BUT YOU HAVE TO BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL about not wrapping the line around yourself, your dog, others, objects, trees, etc. A greyhound speeding around could injury himself and others easily. I used to try and incorporate more long line use in my basic greyhound obedience classes, but I found that people were either good at using them or horrible. It seems so common sense to me, but it just was not for some students. I just decided I didn't want to risk it.

Reagan no longer has any pee inhibitions. She will pee anytime, anywhere outdoors, multiple times.... dirt, grass, gravel, or even concrete and asphault.

Reagan's house manners are really good. I have not caught her chewing on anything. Her housetraining is very good.....(here comes one of those whoops I waited to long to post this) except for the day of her first swimming lesson. She drank a lot of water and she had 2 little accidents that evening. None since though. She does not counter surf and does not bother us when we eat at the coffee table.

I have started working on her noise sensitivty. I've noticed that Reagan cringes if I drop a muzzle (happens a lot when you have 6 in your hand) or something else. I want loud noises to trigger "where's the treat?". The training is going well. Unfortunately, in Asheville we were finishing up our final potty walk when 2 jets took off from the nearby airport. These were not normal planes, but 2 of the loudest noise makers I think I have ever heard. They made me cringe too. Travis, Katie, and Allie had no problem with it, but Reagan wanted out there. She struggled to the end of the leash and wanted to run away. She started to shake and was obviously very nervous. I did not want to hurry up and put her away especially since I did not want her to associate indoor agility venues or crates with blown eardrums. Instead I sandwiched Reagan between the steady redheads, Katie and Travis, and continued to walk her until she calmed down. Going forward, hopefully Reagan will have a fighter jet free life since that is not a sound I can nor want to reproduce.

My only complaint right now is that she bites too hard! I like to wrestle with my guys, but Reagan needs to learn a little bite inhibition. It hurts!