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.