Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Down!

Kassa is learning fast! Last night we refined the "down" to include not kicking his hips out to the side. We were able to repeat the behavior this morning. He also has retained "Bed" however he will not travel to a different room to go to it. I guess he can't possibly understand why I would want him to go to a room that I am not in. This morning we took a more scenic route for our walk. We had a chance encounter with 4 deer. They stood about 25 feet away from us without running off. From now on I will be carrying my camera! At one point they even walked a bit closer to us. Kassa didn't bark and he didn't pull. I'm not entirely sure that he did not think they were greyhounds and that they didn't think he was a deer. A car came by and they scooted into the woods. Kassa barked then which is something he normally does with animals he recognizes as dogs not prey. It was an interesting morning.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Not to be..

Well we have postponed a trip to Canada. We were hopeful that Kassa would be able to play nice with Emmy and Oatmeal at our friends house. Alas it was not to be. Although Kassa didn't pull at the leash and seemed un-intimidated at second sniff he would go for Emmey's neck. Of course I had his mussel on so no harm done. On a positive note Kassa performed a verbal down last night and this morning without being coaxed down with food. On verbal command he kicks his back side out to the side rather than a proper "down" but we are working on it. Over Christmas Kassa also mastered the stairs into the garage. Stairs are problematic for greyhounds because they don't encounter them at the track/kennel. He had previously mastered the stairs to the second floor however they are not as steep as the steps to the garage. He had in the past timidly gone up but never down. I got a new goal for Kassa on Christmas day. We were over at a friends house and he demonstrated how his high energy pit bull mix (Maggie) could perform a "leave it". He would tell her to sit or lay down. Then he would put a treat anywhere including right under her nose. She would not touch it or in some cases look at it until he granted her specific permission. It was impressive.

video

This video of course has nothing to do with any of this post. I just love watching Kassa play in the ball park.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas

Kassa had a great Christmas. He got a brand new toy which he immediately adopted and ran upstairs to the bedroom so that he could have some alone time with it. He worked quite a bit on his "down" command and is laying down beautifully however he isn't doing it on command rather he is being lured by a treat to do so. He got 3 trips to the ball park over the holiday and one trip to the park. We met up with a nice German Shepard / husky mix and his human. Kassa was very pleasant and behaved very well up till the point where his new buddy tried to say hello to me. Then it was on. No harm done but more work needs to be done with him around other dogs. We are going to visit his potential sitter this after noon. She has two dogs. We will see how that goes.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

In Honor of Christmas season, Kassa and I altered our normal walk route to see some high powered Christmas lights. It was a dangerous walk because sections of that road are unlit and there was a great deal of traffic trolling the street to see the lights. Thank you to all the oncoming cars that lowered their brights for us. To all the other cars..... Merry Christmas...
This morning my wife came with us on our daily walk. There is a nice little creek along the way.

Lastly taking advantage of the 50 degree weather we headed on to the baseball diamonds in Nolensville.

video

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Resources

When we were preparing for Kassa the Greyhound Pets of America in Nashville recommended that we read Adopting the Retired Greyhound By Cynthia Branigan and The Dog Listener By Jan Fennell. Both of the books were very informative and I highly recommend them both to anyone thinking of adopting a greyhound. Adopting the Retired Greyhound was very insightful regarding the greyhounds special needs and past life in racing. For example you must be careful to choose a vet with greyhound or sight hound experience because the anesthesia used on normal dogs can harm them. Evidently this is due to their low body fat. The Dog Listener gave a holistic approach to how to live with your dog. In all honesty I believe the message is quite simple (or at least the portion of the message that I retained). You need to establish that you are the alpha / alpha pair of the home. You can do this in a non aggressive way by using dog pack/wolf pack signals.
  • Ignore your dog for 5 min when ever you are reunited with him. This gives him a chance to calm down. Generally the 5 minutes begins after the dog calms down. Establishes that you can come and go as you please and that you are the protector of the pack so he does not need to worry about you in your absence. This is to be a way of life not a short term quick fix.
  • Gesture Eating establishes the alpha in the relationship. Before you give him his food, eat some crackers (as though from the bowl.) It shows that you get to eat your fill before he gets his food.
  • Control the food. When you put the bowl down for feeding he must eat it all. If he does not eat it all remove the bowl. You must control the food.
  • You lead. You are the first in and out of the door. Your dog should walk nicely with you and not pull. If he does pull turn around and go back inside.

So in my opinion those were the major elements of "The Dog Listener" that I retained. The book is rich with stories of situations where she applied those rules. It also provides the background and justification that many people need to be convinced. I have been following the rules she sets up and can only say that Kassa is doing fine. I can't say how he would be behaving if I followed a different set of rules given that I started him on it as soon as I got him.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Natchez Trace

On Sunday my wife and I took our boy to Natchez Trace.
There is a rest area near Leipers Fork that has horse trails and hiking trails.
It is a nice hike with well established trails. You can also hike up to the Overlook which is a nice high point overlooking the trace.

Friday, December 18, 2009