Tuesday, December 28, 2010

To Me

Kassa and I have been trying to follow some of the training suggestions from Jen at neversaynevergreyhounds.blogspot.com. One of the simplest but most important things we have been working on is a simple recall.   I think it is very important to have a good strong recall for your dog even if you keep them in fenced areas.  You never know when you will need it.  If a gate gets left open or your doggy slips out of your car behind you, it is comforting to know that they will come a running if you need them to.
I have chosen two recall commands being "Come" and "To Me".   The "Come" command is my emergency command.  Every time I issue that command Kassa gets the most tasty of tasty treats.   I always want to have a treat in pocket when I use it because I don't want Kassa to get into his head that he may or may not get a treat.  In other words I don't want to dilute the command.   "To Me" on the other hand I use more regularly.  I try to make sure that Kassa gets some sort of reward with that command.  It may not always be a treat.  Sometimes I throw a ball for him and sometimes it is just praise, although I try to make sure he never associates it with anything negative.  I have used it in the dog park when people are letting in a dog that I am not yet sure about or that may be too small.  I can't use treats there because treats aren't allowed in the dog park but when training it I will throw a ball.  I try to train both these commands indoors and out and in a variety of settings.  This way Kassa wont get into his head that he gets a treat when I'm sitting on the couch in the living room and he is on his bed ... and nowhere else.  I also try to mix up the training.  The commands may come in the middle of a game of fetch.. or before or after.  
 I try to vary the distances he has to travel and even make it a bit of a game when we are inside. He goes from garage to the second floor of the house to try to find me.  When I use either command I try to touch his collar.  In case of emergency I don't want him to come to me only to trot away as I reach for him.

 A big open area is a great place to train recalls because it provides a lot of distractions.  There are many things to sniff and explore.

Kassa and I just got back from a training session.  He was in the other room getting some water.  I played the video on my camera to see how it came out.  He heard my command in the camera and came running.  I got up and gave him a treat.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Kassa's Holiday

Kassa woke up early Saturday morning.  For some reason the man with treats in his pockets had left his bed and was down rustling in the garage.  Of course Kassa went to investigate.  He paced and paced and paced until the two legger finally came up and feed him.  Shortly after the feeding the two legger fetched the curvy two legger and gathered the family around the poor excuse for a indoor fake forest.  For some reason they took pictures of each other ripping up paper.  Kassa didn't think this was very exciting so he slept on his bed.  Then the two legger put some paper on his bed.  Again.. not much interest.. So the two legger tore the paper .. whats this??.. fake road kill.  Wheee.. Kassa loves ripping the stuffing out of fake road kill.  It even squeaks like it isn't quite dead yet.

So Kassa aptly studied the road kill... poking and prodding it until not an ounce of its insides was left and it squeaked no more.

The two legger then placed another piece of paper next to Kassa.  What is with all this paper.  But this papper smelled funny.  Hmm... BULLY STICK.   Since the road kill was dead it was only right that Kassa should clean his teeth.

Latter that day Kassa was loaded up in the truck and taken to a running field.  The ground was covered in the white cold fluff which made it harder to stop, Kassa chased the green ball diligently regardless.

The next day started slow picked up in the mid afternoon.  The two legger spent some time on the couch in front of the box and was clicking away.  Evidently  Tequila, Beth Ann, and Specs and Kassa were all able to meet at the fenced field.  It was cold but it was fun.

In conclusion Kassa would just like to say.. Happy fake road kill, bully stick, run in the fully white stuff day everyone!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quality Time

Took a long lunch today and spent a little quality time with my boy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Warm Spell

Today we woke up to a frosty morning.  It quickly warmed up though and we were in store for a beautiful day.  I'm pretty sure that Kassa knows that Sunday is grey play day.  Every time I stood up he was right there with me ready to go.  We even did a couple of trips shopping etc in the morning to appease his desire to get going.  At noon he was looking at me with his soulful eyes saying.. "Dad what the heck are we doing inside?  Its a beautiful day for a run!"  Finally it was 2:15 and time to go.  Kassa was not disappointed. I think we had 7 greys out today!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wind Shield

Kassa has developed a technique to deal with the cold wind.  It seems that when the wind is up he will put his back to the wind and sit.  I think this allows his coat to shield his entire torso legs and naughty bits.  Personally I think it shows a great deal of intelligence, but I may be bias.

After he got a bit warmed up he was racing around as usual, however while I had the camera out it was all his buddy specs.

Sunday's grey play did not disappoint.  Hopefully next weekend will prove a little warmer and we will get a few more dogs out again :).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thank you!

I wanted to give a short tribute to the many greyhound adoption groups that work so tirelessly at getting greyhounds from the track to their adoptive homes.  The group that I got Kassa from is GPA-Nashville.  I am not super active but I do contribute in my own ways and try to be an advocate for greyhound adoption.    Last week I had the pleasure of being there when five greys were brought in from Florida.  It was interesting to see the regular system in action.   Once off of the truck the dogs were photographed for the website.  We went to a pet store in the area to pick up food and have some preliminary small animal safe testing done.  I had not seen that done before.  They put the muzzles on the greyhounds and took them one by one to the cat room.  With the hound on leash they gage the level of interest the hound has in the cat.  Well as it turned out one of the cats might not be classified as hound safe.  It wrapped its claws around the hound's muzzle and would not let go.  It was quite the amusing site.
After testing they hounds went off for a bath at the local dog wash.   That was a lot of fun.  Then came the microchipping process and the hounds were sent on their way with their foster families.   After that group was dealt with, our tireless volunteers loaded up a van with some hounds already in the system and headed on their way to visit potential adopters homes.  They always bring a few dogs to the homes of people applying for adoption in order to see how the hounds do in that specific environment.

This week I went to a regular meet and greet.  It was a rainy day so the event took place inside the Petsmart. Week after week these people volunteer their time to bring their dogs to show the public what fantastic pets greyhounds are.  The greyhounds love it because they get lots of petting and lots of treats!  You may notice Kassa was not in this picture. He was carefully watching the guinea pig locked safely away behind glass in the next aisle.  I am sure he just wanted to help it escape its glass cage so that they could dance happily off into the sunset... ahem..

I have not even touched on the paperwork, accounting, scheduling, website maintenance, mailing list maintenance,  newsletter writing and distribution and many many other jobs but...  in conclusion, Kassa and I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone involved in all the various phases of the adoption process and give you all a big Thank You!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010


This week Kassa was a mommas boy.  Kassa and I normally have a routine which involves a good run in the morning and then an evening walk.  Before bed Kassa curls up on the couch beside me until bedtime.
This week however runs were out as I wanted to make sure Kassa was all healed up.  When we went for walks he would pause and look longingly at the truck hoping for a trip to the ball field.  I think Kassa decided to stage a protest.  He succumbed to my wifes much softer demeanor and the space heater she keeps handy and climbed up nightly on her love seat.  This greatly pleased and amused my wife of course. Whats a guy to say "you stole my dog!?".  So I suffered in silence .. well with a minor amount of pouting.  Then Saturday came and I took Kassa out for a run.   He of course had a blast.  What does he do that evening? Well in spite of my wifes most attractive sofa with space heater a blaring, Kassa crawled up on the couch beside me for his evening snooze.  I guess he is training me.  Sunday was greyplay day and frigid.  The hounds all dressed in their warmest ran around trying to stay warm.  Guess were my boy is now.  On the sofa sitting beside me sleeping it off.  I bought my dog back by throwing a ball :).

Monday, November 29, 2010

For the Love of

My boy Kassa had a bit if a rough weekend. His run in with Mr Weiner dog left him a little worse for the wear. I was a little concerned because he was moving slowly Wednesday evening but by Friday he was running in the ball park again. Sunday shocked me however because he woke up lame on his scratched up leg. He was very hesitant to put any weight on it. Because I'm fairly new to this game, I was concerned at the sudden change with no apparent incident on Saturday that would have caused re-injury. So what does a concerned papa do when his dog is in jeopardy? He emails his vet. Well I have to say I have the best vet ever. She walked me through some steps to determine if I should get him to emergency services or if it could wait to see her the coming week.
So we babied him Sunday, kept him off his feet and (because I was worried about infection) took his temperature so many times that he was contemplating an order of restraint. He also firmly solidified himself into my heart when he dragged himself and his sore leg up stairs to be near me as I worked to fix a leak in the shower.

This morning he looked good and after work I was greeted by him bouncing happily from foot to foot. I know he had to go out but I think he was happy to see me too. I'm going to give it a few days but I think he will be racing through the field after balls soon enough.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another Year

I got to cross off another year yesterday and also another decade. I took the day off and worked on the field with Kassa. We had a pretty good day. We gathered up some loose rocks. Repaired some fence that was bent by a fallen tree. And then.. got into a tense moment when the neighbors Dachshund got territorial and came into the yard for a visit. Couple of scrapes but no real harm done. Lessons learned. A) Kassa.. still not small dog safe when off lead. (Kassa .. if it barks it is NOT a rabbit dummy) B) Have to add wire mesh to close off the bottom rails of the fencing. C) I can still move pretty quick when I have to :) Even though the day didn't end as nicely as it began I'm excited about the coming year and the challenges that it will bring.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

One Weekend

It was a pretty good weekend all things considered. Kassa had a greyplay date this Sunday. We returned to the dog park this week and had two new hounds join us. We also had some other breeds mixed in which is good for socialization training. I also got some work done on the greyplay field. I repaired the top rails in a section of the fence line. Having some junk to clear can both be a bad thing and a good thing. I found 2 roles of chain link fence in the woods which I extracted by roping them off to the truck and gunning it. I'm going to spread them out next week and see what I have to work with. Hopefully they are in good enough shape to overlay the 4 rail fence near the road. We also got to the Opryland Hotel. It was our first opportunity to see it since the flooding and I think it looks great. Here are a couple of artsy shots from inside the hotel.