Thursday, April 29, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
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.
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
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.