Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fears and Phobias

A while back Ricky and Kassa had a ball chasing collision.  Since then Kassa has had no interest in chasing a ball if Ricky is anywhere in the field.  I actually think this is smart since Ricky is extremely determined when it comes to fetching balls.  Ricky, on the other hand, had a bad experience with fireworks.  He has shown a lot of reluctance to going out on leash in the evenings and in the mornings.  By reluctance I mean he goes to his bed and lays down and will not move a muscle.  This is unusual because the other 99% of the time if I am up and moving .. he is on my hip.  I know he is freaked out by the fireworks, but I also wonder if he had a bad experience on a walk.  He also could be playing me.   Normally once we actually get out the door he is fine and comes right along.   I decided to re-instate my morning ball park/dog park visits (over walks) but I alternate the dogs every other day.  This gives Kassa some ball chasing time alone with me, which he loves.  It also gives Ricky (I hope) a positive association with going out the door.  Rather than going on a hot walk with potential loud booming noises, he gets to run in a field.  He is also getting a lot better at loading into the vehicles.  Ricky has a tendency to go into mule mode when it comes to getting in a car or truck OR (as previously mentioned) lately leaving the house at certain times.  I think the mule mode is decreasing.  I'm using treats in hand to get him through the door without having to push his bottom, but as he becomes less resistant I'm delaying giving them to him.  I want him to associate positive things with going through the doorway, but I don't want him to think I have to give him a treat every time I ask him to go somewhere.   Once we have conquered vehicle loading and some phobias, I'm going to work with Ricky on waiting to fetch the ball until after I give a command.  Hopefully I can evolve this into the boys taking turns fetching.  We will see.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Behind the scenes

Well I'd love to report on some amazing adventures, but I wasn't able to complete my current project of interest in one weekends time. More on that next weekend (hopefully). The boys got out to their grey play Saturday. There wasn't a lot of running but I think they had fun. I'm looking forward to fall when they can all cut loose again.
They did get to meet up with Tequila Lee.  Tequila is such a sweet happy boy that just had to post a picture of him.  In February I posted an entry on my trip to the Birmingham race track.  Today I just saw a photo journal on the behind the scenes life of a greyhound at the Southland race track.  It was created by Rachel Hogue, greyhound photographer extraordinaire.   I thought the images were beautiful and stunning, so my blog entry for the week will be to refer you to hers :).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Heat break.

Friday night the heat let up a bit.  Since it was our last evening with Warrior we decided to run over to the field so the boys could play.  Kassa went exploring, but Ricky and Warrior chased each other around for a few minutes before the heat dictated otherwise.  A few weeks ago we improved the grey play field a bit by adding some chairs and shade.   After all, we have to keep the people somewhat comfortable as well.

Sunday morning was not horribly hot.  We had a limited grey play group this week, but Kassa and Ricky were happy to see Specs and their old buddy Army.  Army is back in the program and still looking for his forever home.  He sure is a great dog.  Ricky,Army and Specs had fun burning off some steam.  Kassa did some more exploring and enjoyed keeping cool by digging a spot in the cool dirt to lay in.

To close the weekend down, we went to the Crocket Park amphitheater to hear 7 bridges play.  They are an Eagles cover band. While enjoying the music we met a nice couple with a German shepherd named Cleopatra.  She and the boys got on well and she reminded me of Morgan over at  By the end Cleo's mom was saying that a greyhound might just be the perfect sibling for Cleo.

Of course just as a very nice weekend was coming to a close and I was bringing the boys inside, someone in my neighborhood put the fear back in Ricky by lighting off some fireworks.  Oh well.. I guess life without challenge would be boring.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Zeroed In

It has been a hot week.  Actually it has been a horribly humid hot week with feels like temperatures in the triple digits.  It has been so hot that Ricky has started to rebel at going out for walks.   Even with our shortened walk schedule there have been plenty of early morning rabbit sightings.  Kassa loves these.
To keep life from being dull we accepted to watch another friend's dog for the past 10 days.   Warrior is a fun good natured dog.  He had a early wipe-out on the wood floor, so we have spent the rest of the week building comforter based bridges from room to room.  He has got is confidence back now so he can cautiously travel unhindered.   Warrior is an only dog and as such has different eating habits then my guys.  I believe he was accustomed to eating his meal through the day at his leisure, however at my place that just doesn't fly.  Ricky and Kassa would make short work of any uneaten miscellaneous dog food laying about so I had to put it up.  It only took one missed meal and now Warrior eats it all in one sitting again.  Nothing like a little competition to provide motivation.
The personalities of the dogs continues to intrigue me and it seems to come out more when we change the pack dynamic by introducing another personality.   Ricky is jolly and playful.  When Warrior would bop around in the morning Ricky would play with him.  When Warrior roos.. Ricky joins in with some happy barking.  When it has come to going outside for morning walks, however, Ricky looks at me with eyes that imply I'm subjecting him to the most extreme torture imaginable and lays down on the bed, leash and all.  Kassa, on the other hand, is very aloof indoors.  He doesn't rush anywhere with the other two unless food is obviously involved.  When the other to get rowdy he will jump up on the couch to avoid all the commotion.   Outside is where Kassa gets energized.  He loves the early morning walk and he and Warrior have been raring to go despite the heat.  Both my boys live for the grey play and enjoy their off leash time and generally seem to be content.  Sometimes I just wish that we could communicate better sometimes so that I could be sure.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Operation Turnout

It had come to my attention that now that the sun-room addition is finished, using the adjacent patio area with propped up fencing as a turnout is not a long term viable option.  I cant dispute this fact and indeed I find the idea of grilling in an area where Ricky and Kassa have recently "been" is somewhat distasteful to me.  Therefore it was decided that operation turnout would begin.

The first phase of operation turnout is to remove the fifteen foot high privet bushes at the side of the house and hall them off to the convenience center.

The second phase in our plan is to protect the ac units from being targets.   I understand that urine is quite unhealthy for the life span of an ac unit.  I decided to fence in the units, however I needed to do so in such a way that the fence can easily be removed if the units need service or replacement.  I have an outdoor projects book which instructed me on how to layout the posts, dig the holes and set the posts in concrete.  Unlike the gentleman in this photo I did not have on my nice shoes and paints.  In the 90+ degree heat, covered in concrete dust, I looked nothing like this guy who clearly must be a pro.

Of course I also didn't have that fancy smancy auger.  Instead I had the old school manual kind.  Why was I doing this again..?

Oh ya...
I was trying to reuse as much material as possible from my old picket fence.  Any time you use old material measuring is kind of suspect.  It is worth mentioning that this shouldn't be considered a how to blog by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact I will take this opportunity to apologize to carpenters everywhere.

Rather than just nail the picket panels into the posts, I notched the posts so that the posts will hold the panels in place but the panels can be removed if the ac needs servicing.  I'm going to put in eye hooks on the inside to hold everything in place.  Notching the posts proved to be quite a time consuming challenge because as Murphy dictates, I left my chisels in the shed at the grey play field and it wasn't worth an hour round trip to go get them.  Instead a flat head screwdriver doubled as a chisel.  Why was I doing this again...?

Oh ya..
So the final steps were to notch and mount a 2x4 on the wall, (which I ripped from a spare piece of weathered 4x4), cut the posts down to size, and attach the decorative pieces on top of the posts.

My plan is to fence in from the front of the house to the picket fence post on the far side of the fire bush.  I think this will provide a nice turnout area where the boys can take care of things.  How far back this area goes however is still under negotiation.  I'm going to have a survey done to get a firm idea of the property line and then will proceed to the next step. For now.. the ac units are secure.. .. wheee.. 
Why am I doing this again.. ?

Oh ya..