Thursday, April 29, 2010

Recalls need more work!

Yesterday a couple things happened that made me realize its time to work more on recalls. We were at the ball park and after a good workout just lounging around. A guy and his kid entered the fenced area. I don't think he even realized there was a dog there. Kassa has no problem with people or kids.. but he opted to chase one of the balls rather than come for my recall. The second thing that happened was on the way back we stopped at Publics so I could pick up some hot wings. As I was leaving a cart came rolling across the parking lot and was going to crash into some parked cars. Without thinking I hopped out and grabbed it. Kassa followed.. opps... No harm done. He ran right to me without calling him. But if there was a small animal present the ball park event shows me it may not have gone that way. I've got to make COME the most attractive thing in the world to him.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Man in the Moon

If you stare at your hound long enough you will see some interesting things. Can you see the man in the other moon? I think that 2 1/2 cups of food 2 times a day is just about right. Our boy's greyhound shape is returning.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Walkydog and the greyhound

One of the key factors that encouraged me to get a greyhound was reading Jen's blogs at Never Say Never Greyhounds. The other was a colleague at work ( thanks Paula). Anyway Jen recently posted about a bike attachment called the springer. I decided to go a different way and try the walkydog. I picked mine up on amazon.

So I dusted of our old old bike, used some wd-40 where necessary, replaced the back tube and tire and was ready to go. The walkydog has a spring loaded system built into the shaft which provides forgiveness for unexpected motions from the bike or from Kassa. I did some short trips at first up and down the street. Kassa loved it. We didn't go too fast but definitely faster than jogging speed. Now I take him on routes that would have taken an hour walking and we get through in 20 min. On the way out he is usually trying to pull the bike a bit, but when we turn around he often tries to hang back. I slow right down to keep him right beside me. I will say its a good idea to know your route well ahead of time. When we encounter dogs in the yard (especially if they can ignore the invisible fence) I slow to a walk/stop. Although Kassa has more power over the bike when we aren't moving, I can always put my feet down and it is better then him getting chased and riled up by the other dogs.

I think the best experience I have had is at a city park where they have strict dog leash requirements. Since he is going to be leashed anyway it is better that other owners have tight control over their pups.

If you want to try this I would recommend you build distance slowly. Try to go at a cooler time of day. Plan a water break. Lastly pay attention to his feet. You don't want to run him over sewer drains and you don't want to ware his pads down on the asphalt.

I think this is a great option for when you can't meet friends at the dog park. In this case I could. Kassa and I had a lot of fun. I hope Tequila did too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Semantics

One of the things I have tried to do since Kassa came to our home is to plan to go to outdoor activities that he can attend. This usually provides a lot of opportunities to tell people about greyhounds and greyhound adoption. Now I'm no adoption expert and have not dedicated myself as many specifically to promoting adoption, but when I'm out and about, I do what I can.

One thing I have noticed is that there is a variety of semantics regarding what we do. Common terms I have heard are "rescue" and "retired". Now this is not a big deal and I don't want anyone to think that the semantics police are coming, but here is why I don't prefer to use them. The term "rescue" puts the focus on me rather than the focus on the dogs. The implication is that I, out of the goodness of my heart, have taken on something unwanted and useless. The term "retired" racer implies that the dogs are old and done don't need or want anything beyond a couch.

One of the things I try to communicate is value. My dog is valuable. As an athlete and a working dog he was very valuable to his owners and trainers. As a pet and companion he is also extremely valuable. He is a purebred. He has excellent characteristics that make him a wonderful dog. He is great indoors. He is calm and happy. He is great with people. I can take him on hikes. I can take him to coffee shops and sit on the patio. He is just a great dog to be around. So my point is I don't want people to think I've done something wonderful or selfless by "rescuing" him. I "pretty selfishly actually" wanted a valuable purebred dog and adopted one.

The other term I am not fond of is "retired". Greyhounds can live a good long life of 12 years or more. If your hound "retired" at 3 years old and lives to 12 (common) he has only lived 25% of his life before he came to you. The life expectancy of a male in the US is 74. A dog retiring at 3 years old would be like a man retiring at 18 years old. So yes, greyhounds, after racing, don't need more exercise than other dogs. That said I think that all dogs need exercise and stimulation. It is up to us to figure out creative ways to give them that.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tubby Buddy

When Kassa came to us he weighted 70lbs (as weighted by the vet). We followed the recommended portions from the adoption folks at 2 cups of kibble 2 times a day + kong treats like cheese and peanut butter. We found he was dropping weight. We increased to 2.5 cups in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. The vet weighted him at 63 lbs and recommended we bring his weight up increasing to 3 cups twice a day. At this time I also started training him more for different commands and that of course means more treats. I stopped giving the kong treats to kind of even things out. His vet told me that a good measure is that a few ribs should be showing and the tips of his hip bones should be apparent. Last month I leveled down to 2.5 cups in the morning and 3 in the afternoon as I believe his hip bones were starting to disappear. I can still see them but it was a sign to me he may be getting heavy. It was pointed out to me by someone whom I respect a lot in all things greyhound that he may be getting overweight. Not obese or anything.. just a bit tubby. I picked him up at lunch today and stepped on the scale. 80KG without dog and 115KG with dog. That's 77 lbs. So basically I have yo-yoed him from 7 lbs under racing to 7lbs over during the past 4 months. I'm going to cut him back to 2.5 cups in the morning and 2.5 in the afternoon to try to bring him down a couple of lbs. So here are some pics of my boy. He has definitely gotten thicker in the middle near his hind quarters. His high back is rounded. Please ignore the weeds and the leaves.
Still some bump at his hip bones. Better visible in other pics. Perhaps a bit to squared off in the back? You can see the ribs and hip bone bumps. However the hip bones are fading.
Spine is still visible but barely. Not as prominent as it was when he was 63lbs (thank goodness). So there you have it. I have picked apart my boys physique. If he was human I would probably be on my way to court. Keep in mind that greyhounds aren't supposed to be really heavy and thick like labs. Comments, questions and concerns are welcome.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

New Toy

Kassa got a new toy. It was supposed to be a TUFF toy. I'd say it was 5 min before he tore it open. My wife stiched it back up and I used it as a tug toy. We played.. and then I would come beside him and say drop it. He would. We are going to work on that more.

video

We are supposed to get some storms through tonight so I snapped a few pictures of one of our trees before the storm strips it of its glory.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kassa King of the Weed Garden

Weeds, low shrubbery and vine line the back fence around the patio. Kassa, lord couch potato, has been transformed to king and hunter. He sits regally in the shade waiting.. watching. This is his domain and any who enter do so are subject to his authority. The chipmunk whose burrow ends at the gutter drain stays clear while the king sits on his throne. Even the birds who frolic in the fire bush do not linger too close to the ground. Whats that. Motion. The king rises from his throne and positions himself at a bush with a swift fluidity inherited from his egyptian ancestors. Watch.. wait....... Pounce, dig dig dig, Pounce. The encroaching enemy has been driven away or suffered some worse fate and the King returns waiting for another opportunity to defend his throne.
Kassa had an amazing weekend and dragged his humans along for the ride. Friday - Hike through Edwin Warner Park, Ambassadorship at Jiffy lube while dad got an oil change, Coffee on the patio with dad at Starbucks.. with more Ambassadorship.
Saturday - Walk with mom in the morning. Meet and greet at noon. Hike with Mom and Dad in the afternoon. Coffee at Starbucks with mom and dad.
Sunday - King and hunter of the weed garden. Ball park in the evening. Meet two other greyhounds at the ball park completely by accident. A big shout out goes to Titan and Tequila!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pet Pickup Bags

Truth be known I am a big time procrastinator. When comes to Pooh bags I often don't get a new pack until I am on the very last one. Yesterday I had to make a quick trip to Publics so that Kassa wouldn't become a pariah in the neighborhood. Ok fair enough. This morning I pull out a couple of these bags. They are blue and scented not black like my normal ones. Ok no problem. Probably why they cost a bit more. But why oh why oh why do they make them semi transparent. Is the manufacturer worried about the contents being correctly identified since they took away the smell? I mean, its bad enough that I have to haul this stuff around for 45 min, but do I really have to show off the contents to all my neighbors as I walk. Maybe its to avoid questions on how Kassa is doing or to allow people to offer helpful suggestions. "Hmm I see your dog is a bit runny today, might want to firm up his diet." Or "That's quite the haul you have there. You might be feeding him a bit much." Or "No sweeety you can't pet that dog. You see that bag he is carrying. Thats Poooh!" Transparency is not always a good thing. Remember whether used in pet pickup bags or in government the problem is when you walk around people will see the pooh!