Monday, January 25, 2010

Red Headed Stepchild - Part 3

Now for the red headed stepchild part... I would not describe Reagan as fearful, but there is something very fragile about her. An undesirable situation can change her perspective on things and I feel that I am always on guard to protect her from the unexpected.

For example, one of my favorite hiking spots is near a railroad. The tracks are across the street and behind some houses. I can hear the train, but I cannot see it and it not close enough to be loud. Reagan is terrified if a train passes while we are in the parking lot. She shakes and is obviously distressed.

This summer I discovered she has a similar reaction to horses stamping their feet in their stalls at the farm we visit. She is not afraid of horses, but she is petrified of the "thud" they produce when they are just picking up and tapping their feet back down to unseat flies. It is the weirdest thing and I cannot begin to explain the reasons. Nor can I recreate these on a daily basis at home.

Another issue I have with Reagan is that she hates sit stays. Sit stays are not usually high on a greyhound's favorite list, but I understand that. I do not take them for granted and I usually have a special jackpot ready for each sit stay practice (canned dog food, mackerel, or tuna). I have always been able to get a 1 minute sit stay out of all of my greyhounds for Novice level (even Teresa, seen below). However, Reagan often slumps immediately and appears bewildered. Despite all the praise, treats, and jackpots, she never appears confident in the task. And if there happens to be a noise, she will often fall into her terrified mode and be unable to complete her sit stay.
Lastly, we visited Stephen's parents in Birmingham over Christmas. It is a 3 hour drive and Stephen usually drives. As a passenger, I will look back at the dogs as we travel down the road. And who to I spy appearing nervous?...... Reagan. So it turns out that Reagan is not a very good traveler. Well, that is fantastic because she has to travel 6 or 7 days a week. It appears that she is very uncomfortable with the road bumps and the noises that accompany them. She never relaxes in route.

Reagan is definitely a challenge to my type A personality. I cannot control everything and that is okay (or at least I am trying to convince myself it is okay). Reagan does not have to be just like Travis and Katie. If she does match or exceed Katie and Travis' accomplishments, it will be all the more rewarding due to the additional obstacles. This is all just for fun anyway.

If anyone has any suggestions for doing an inexpensive, high quality recording of these sounds, I would love to hear it. I would love to record the train, the horses, and the road bumps so we could work on it, but I am really at a loss right now. Knock on wood, so far our training and competition environments have been happy places so she continues to do well in those areas.