Saturday, August 15, 2009

Greyhound Downs 102

Go to Greyhound Downs 101 if you have not already seen this post.

Let me introduce today's demo greyhound, P's Stacker FCh (age 10). Stacker ran in the money in several Grade A races at Gulfstream and Birmingham. My husband adopted him sometime before he and I met. Stacker transitioned to lure coursing and won the Southeastern Greyhound Club's coveted Texas Trophy in his rookie year and won the 2004 ASFA Region 7 Best of Breed trophy, The Brandy Cup. He now roams the shore and trails of Lake Allatoona with Stephen and his other hounds.

The next step to teaching downs is to establish a good hand signal. Remember, we are not using a verbal cue yet. I do not want to use a verbal cue until I am certain my greyhound will respond to my hand signal 99% of the time. Here is how I progress from my greyhound crawling under my "bridge" to responding to a hand signal. Some greyhounds progress faster than others.

Once my greyhound easily lures into a down, I like to teach him to respond to collar pressure. If you have ever tried to push a greyhound into a sit or pull him into a down, you probably know that they do not naturally yield to the pressure. If your greyhound is willing to yield to collar pressure, it makes correcting much easier later. In the future, if I am ignored or my greyhound breaks a stay, yielding to collar pressure makes it very easy to gently correct him back into a down position. Therefore, I find it worthwhile to explain to my greyhound how to respond when a little collar pressure is applied.

Please note that I am simply putting a little weight on the collar. I am not going to force or fight with my greyhound. If he begins to struggle, I maintain light pressure, but allow him to move his head. Remember you are using a treat in this step and prior steps (I will explain how to get treats out of your hand in a later post).