Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Dreaded Stay

Since Riley finished Novice, she and I are working on her Open level obedience exercises.  Open is more fun and interesting with off leash heeling, jumps, and dumbbell retrieves.  However, the exercise I dread the most is included in the Open class - the dreaded, three minute, OUT OF SIGHT, sit stay. 

Handlers and dogs line up.  Most handlers sit their dogs immediately, but I wait until the very last second and the judge's direction.  Once seated, the dogs are told to stay and a ring steward guides the handlers to the hiding place out of view from the dogs.
As most of you know, many greyhounds find sitting to be awkward and assume a position that looks more like a squat (see the air between Riley's rear and the ground in the top picture).  Some greyhounds are excellent sitters and quite comfortable.  Katie had no trouble with 3 minute sit stays.  She figured out how to get her rear on the ground.
Teresa obviously was not.  She would get tired, rock back, and sprawl out.  She was able to do one-minute sit stays for Novice, but I never attempted to train her for Open.
I am very appreciative of my greyhounds' sit stays and never take them for granted.  Each sit stay results in a jackpot of canned dog food, mackerel, or tripe, peanut butter, creme cheese, macaroni & cheese, or a stinky, raw beef mixture I save from the raw food breakfast.  A generous amount is placed into a plastic container and my good, sit stay greyhound gets to lick the container clean.  It is usually my greyhounds' least favorite thing to do so this is my way of sugar coating it.
I am having a unique problem with Riley's sit stays.  She is maintaining three minute sit stays with me out of sight, but she flicks her ears the entire time.  It is as if there is something tickling them.  I have tried to fold them back with no improvement.  I have considered trimming the hair inside of her ears to see if that helps.  I only see this when she is sitting.
Her funky right ear seems to be the most affected.  It probably has something to do with the floppy tip.  All in all, Riley has endured it so far, but if I could stop it, I would like to as it looks uncomfortable and irritating.  I want Riley's sit stays to be as comfortable as possible for her.

19 comments:

Jennifer H. said...

That is strange!!

I've been having sit stay issues with Falkor because his bum also doesn't touch the ground and it's just not comfortable for him. He is also a total Momma's boy so he doesn't like when I leave.

I think I might try the jackpot thing for successful sit stays!

Sara said...

Maybe it's a stress reaction, like when a person's eyelid twitches? Since it only happens when you're out of sight that's what jumped to mind. Knowing next to nothing about dogs, though, take it for what it's worth :D

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I didn't think of it as possibly being stress. Hmmmm.... it does happen when I'm in sight also though. I haven't seen any of the typical stress signals such as lip licking or yawning. Definitely something for me to look at though.

Sandy ~~~ said...

"nervous tick"? I thought of that right away.

I remember 3 minute sit stays with the handler out of sight....did one at a Gordon Setter specialty in Graduate Novice I think it was called. "We" did fine but only after I had worked up to 4 minute stays at home with neighbor dogs being paraded by for distraction purposes.

Good luck! You'll figure it out...if there is something to figure out!

BrittBeah said...

Maybe she is just counting down her time :)

Aubra said...

Any chance this is a superstitious behavior? Those can get really weird.

The way to find out might be to try and retrain sit-stay from the top with the added criterion of 'still ears'. It wouldn't take much time, and if the trimming doesn't work it's the first thing I'd try.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

OMG, Aubra! :-) I cannot imagine trying to retrain her for still ears. I definitely don't care about it that much. If she is not comfortable, I just want to make her more comftable. You guys definitely have me thinking about possible nervous tick. Not sure there is much I could do there though.

Jenny said...

Three minutes sounds so long!!! Ferguson is still trying to learn "sit." So far, all I can get from him, when I have something he really wants, is an attempt at a down, and me catching him before he goes down. He sits awkwardly, similar to your Teresa, when I can get him there :/. Do you think he'll get there eventually this way? lol

In your video, Riley's ears actually look "inside out" to me, as somtimes Ferg's get to be if they pop out funny...but if they always do this, then I guess she's just twitchy! Maybe she's just manually counting down the seconds until you return ;)

jerZgirl said...

Priscilla does the radar ears too - and this is a corgi. She would rather sit than down though...she never liked to down. I have weird dogs. LOL

Right now we are working on our CD still and don't know about Open just yet!

houndstooth said...

To me, the ear twitching seems like it's a reaction to something else. Is she maybe feeling off balance? That's the only thing that I can think of.

I agree, that out of sight sit stay has to be the hardest thing about obedience.

jet said...

I think it's kind of cute. Not sure if it's discomfort... hard to tell. Maybe its like people who play with a pen when they're in meetings.

jcp said...

Impressive.
Teresa looks like she had a little to much to drink in that pic. LOL

Greyhounds CAN Sit said...

It's very cute, whatever the reason for Riley doing it. Perhaps she can just hear better when she moves her ears. It was almost like she was listening to the birds in the background. Does she do it everywhere though? Whew, 3 minutes and out of sight and sitting, that's hard for a Greyhound.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

It happens everywhere. Inside and outdoors.

Aragon greyhounds said...

Yes I would concur the dreaded sit. I have lost 2 CDX legs on Whisper and 2 CDX legs on Lyric for the dreaded 3 minute out of sight sit.

I have never seen anything like her ears. I would initially guess to it be a nervous habit but if you are seeing under all circumstances ie in sight or out of sight, with and without training I am not sure I have an explanation for it.

Suzanne - Ireland said...

Hi, i just wanted to say i love your blog! your dogs are amazing and your training skills are brilliant. I adopted two greyhounds, both aged 7, in january and love them to bits. what a breed!

Terry said...

Very Interesting. I was wondering, does she twitch her ear when she is off command, just chilling calmly inside the house, without a worry in the world, with nothing to think or worry about. I was curious if this is a twitch she has while training or is it a twitch that she has all of the time.
Terry

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

The twitch only happens during sits and Riley doesn't sit on her own so there is not way to evaluate a required sit versus a chilled out sit. I still think that with her ears being a little funny that a sit position, puts her head in just the position to cause the ears to tickle.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

And thanks for the nice comment, Suzanne. I'm glad you enjoy.