Thursday, February 24, 2011

Greyhound Myths + Christchurch Earthquake:(

Most people will have heard about the tragic disaster in the form of a second earthquake which hit Christchurch, the main city in the South Island of New Zealand.  It struck on Tuesday about 1 pm whereas the previous one on September 4th, 2010, struck about 4am when there were very few people around and no loss of life resulted.  At this time there are at least 75 people who have died in this earthquake.  Frankie, Beryl and I haven't been affected as we are well away from Christchurch.  I have no close friends who live there although I do have a friend who lives nearby and she is fine as are all the Greyhound people who live in Chch or the area.

I have been affected emotionally though.  Feelings of wanting to help but not being able to, great sorrow for the people, their families and also lets not forget the lost animals.  Sorrow for New Zealand.  Things like this just don't happen in my lovely adopted homeland.  With all the natural disasters happening around the world in the past year or so I wonder what is happening to our planet?  Are we slowly self destructing?

So far I haven't been able to watch any TV coverage, it's hard enough watching things like this when they happen in someone else's homeland.  I'm not ready yet.

Anyway, onto something a bit lighter which will hopefully lift my spirits:)  A few days ago we were given a lovely award
from our cute new friend, Summer who lives in Malaysia, thanks Summer:)  She seems to have an affinity with Greyhounds as she follows quite a few Greyhound blogs;)

Now, I'm supposed to tell you 7 things about myself (and/or Frankie and Beryl) which you may not know, but I thought I'd make it a bit different and tell you 7 things you may or may not know about Greyhounds:)  Many people have preconceived ideas about Greyhounds that simply aren't correct or are the exception rather than the rule:)

1 - Greyhounds can't live with cats, small dogs, rabbits etc.
If you get a Greyhound from a society that rehomes ex-racing greyhounds, and young greyhounds that don't want to chase, then they will have been temperament tested and also tested for their reaction to cats, small dogs and perhaps other small animals.  An average of 50% of Greyhounds are cat friendly, some are cat tolerant or cat trainable.  The average for those who are small dog friendly is probably higher!  You will also be matched with a dog who suits your lifestyle.  It pays to be honest with the society about your circumstances to avoid a mismatch:)

Here is a photo of 1 New Zealand ex-racing Greyhound with her cat
Bonnie and her cat
and here is a photo of 3 NZ ex-racing Greyhounds and their cat:)
On the couches, Gracie and Astro, Mr Spurs and Oscar on the cushions:)
Here is Beryl and one of her little friends, Spot the 15 year old Foxie

Another one with Beryl, Lucy and 'Big Ted'

Of course, sensible people keep their Greyhound muzzled for a week or so and never leave the cat and new dog unsupervised:)  It's better to err on the side of caution rather than take unnecessary risks.  There are also dog aggressive cats out there!!

Greyhounds who come straight off the track or out of the kennels may not have met other breeds of dogs so they will need to meet lots of different dogs and learn that other dogs can be fun too, not just Greyhounds:)

2. Greyhounds need a LOT of exercise.  
People think because Greyhounds can run very fast that they are extremely fit and need a lot of exercise.  Most Greyhounds are lazy.  They are not a breed that would ever be recommended as a training companion for someone getting fit to run a marathon:)  They are bred for short bursts of sprinting, not sustained endurance type jogging or running.  Having said that, there are exceptions to that rule. Also young dogs around a year old will have more energy than a young dog who has matured and finished racing at around 4 years old.

Greyhounds do seem to make excellent hiking companions.  A blog with lovely photos and stories of hiking expeditions with Greyhounds that is well worth a visit is Hiking Hounds, I am green with envy at the places they go!  Another wonderful Greyhound blog which mentions hiking often is Tails and Tales.  The star of this blog, Bunny, often goes hiking with her GSD sister, Morgan.

While Greyhounds sleep a lot, if their exercise is built up gradually to the stage where they are quite fit then they can take and want more exercise.  Beryl lets me know when she wants some 'action'.  She is possibly fitter now than when she was racing:)  

Also important is mental exercise.  A tired dog is a good dog and a happy dog.  Beryl loves the mental stimulation of going to new places.  She smiles and prances and bounces and gets a real kick out of it.  She also enjoys her Rally O classes.  

3Greyhounds are large dogs that need lots of space to live in.
Well, they are not Chihuahuas, but they are indoor dogs. Greyhounds have virtually no body fat so outdoor temperatures to either extreme are not tolerable to them. Even if you live in a house with a fenced yard, the dog will need to live indoors. We have people who live in two bedroom apartments with a Greyhound and they are very happy and comfortable there. The uninitiated are always amazed at how "small" a sleeping 30kg Greyhound can be.  Beryl weighs about 28kg and isn't a small female by any means but she can curl up into a ball slightly bigger than a pillow:)  She can also spread out on a queen sized bed so that there is barely room for me which is why she sleeps in a crate and not with me and Frankie:)
Beryl curled up
4. Greyhounds can't sit.  
It's true that many Greyhounds don't find sitting comfortable.  I taught Beryl to sit and it took a while and I have never seen her sit for comforts sake.  She will keep standing and look miserable if there isn't anything comfortable to lie on!  Put down any sort of mat and she will lie on it happily, but sit, no way.  However if I'm eating something she wants then she sits with great aplomb:)
Beryl sitting
Me with Beryl's cousins, Louie and Lucy
5. Greyhounds can't be trained for obedience, agility etc.
I call Greyhounds 'why' dogs.  If you ask a Greyhound to jump it won't say "sure, how high?"  It will say "why, what's in it for me".  And there are plenty of breeds of dogs with this attitude.  While it makes them a challenge to train it also makes them very good at problem solving as they aren't afraid to think for themselves.  

There are a couple of blogs written by owners of very high achieving Greyhounds with plenty of training tips and videos.  Never Say Never Greyhounds and Aragon Greyhounds take great pleasure in training their Greyhounds and it shows in the way they perform so happily:)

Another blog chock full of training tips for the "why" dog is Honey The Great Dane.  Great Danes aren't normally associated with obedience and while Honey doesn't compete she does do 'doggy dancing' and demonstrations.  She's had articles written about her in magazines and her owner, Hsin-Yi, writes articles for pet magazines about training and various other topics.  There are many suggestions for training your "why" dog for polite behaviour in every day life.  Her training tips are full of common sense and ingenuity.  Sometimes you have to be quite clever yourself to outwit a "why" dog .... perhaps that's where I fall short, lol!!

6. Greyhounds can't be off lead except in fenced areas.
This is a very contentious issue amongst Greyhound owners.  I have only owned a Greyhound for 10 1/2 months so I'm no expert.  I was told this before I got Beryl and I very nearly didn't get a Greyhound just because of this.  But if you look at my photos and videos you will very rarely see Beryl on lead.  There are quite a few things to do before and after taking the plunge to unleash your Greyhound.  Recall training begins at home!  And never ends:)  I always carry high value treats with me and whether I call Beryl or if she's just hanging with me on our walks she gets treats.  I never take it for granted that she comes, it's always a big deal:)  I never call her when I'm going to do something she doesn't like, e.g give her a bath or have her toenails done.  In those instances I go and get her.  I am extremely vigilant when at the park, river or beach.  I'm the one that's doing the scanning, not her!  I'm looking for little dogs mostly, but anything that may cause her to take off.  Beryl is good with little dogs but if I had a little dog I wouldn't want a comparatively huge dog racing up to my baby at 40 mph!!  It is important to be a responsible Greyhound owner (and dog owner!) as we want people to realise they are wonderful pets, not give them a bad name.  You have to know your dog, and this takes time.

I'm still learning about Beryl.  I'm going to confess that at the beach last night (yes, the 3rd trip to the beach in just over a week!) Beryl went AWOL on the way back to the cars!!  This is the first time she has ever done such a thing.  She'd chased a rabbit on the way to the beach but came back quickly enough.  When we were walking back to the cars she was wandering in and out of the scrub on either side of the 'road' and when we were almost back to the cars she just didn't turn up after a few calls.  We waited for a while then Fatima and I went back to where we'd last seen her and found a narrow track which we followed for a while and met her coming back towards us.  Only Beryl knows where she went or what she followed!  So she has now lost off lead privileges on the walk to and from the beach.  She is not going to be happy about that, especially on the walk to the beach!   Being off leash isn't a right, or something she can take for granted either, it has to be earned and she slipped up last night.  
She did have a wonderful time though:)
7. Some advantages to owning a Greyhound:)
Most Greyhounds are good with children, some are besotted with children, some would rather live without them.  This applies to all dogs though.  Beryl would rather live without them but she hasn't met many.  Children need to be trained to treat a dog with respect to avoid any potential problems.  

Greyhounds are very adaptable.  You are virtually getting a blank slate when you get an ex-racing Greyhound.  They don't know how to be a pet and as they are intelligent they soon learn the rules.  Some will have to be shown how to walk up steps, they won't know who the other dog in the mirror is, glass doors are new to them etc.  But it's fun watching them learn about life as a pet:)  House training is generally a breeze.

While Greyhounds do shed it isn't in copious amounts.  They have very little oil in their coats so doggy odour is at a minimum and they are a good choice of dog for people with allergies.  And that lovely short coat is so easy to keep looking good!!  Having such a short coat and lack of body fat means they appreciate and need a coat (or 2 or 3!) during the winter.  This is wonderful for people who like to dress their dogs up, you don't have to have a handbag sized dog to have a dressed up dog:)  And then there are all the stunning martingale collars available.  Beryl has quite a few!  

OK, I could carry on and on but then I'd never get this blog posted so I'll stop right here.  If anyone disagrees with anything I've written or wants to add to it please feel free to do so in the comments section:)  Be aware that this is mostly my opinions, my experience with my Greyhound and stuff I've gleaned from various sources on the internet so I'm happy to be corrected and to learn more!  And also that I had to stop somewhere;)

Now, getting back to my award for a moment ... I'm supposed to pass it on to 6 more bloggers but I'm not going to do that because I'm lazy and this has taken me a few hours to write up as it is, and also I feel it devalues the award if everyone has one:)  I have mentioned 5 blogs in this post who if I was going to pass on the award would be top of the list so please go and check them out.  You could possibly be doing your "why" dog and yourself a big favour:)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

OMD - we did it again:)

What did we do again ... we went to the beach last evening:)  That's the second time this week for my two.  No, they're not spoilt, lol!  This time the kids and I had company.  Fatima bought along Louie and her foster dog, Snapper, and we stopped in at the GAP kennels and picked up Kenzo and Ellie (who is a human!).  We didn't see any seals but that didn't stop the kids from having fun.  Snapper (in the green muzzle) and Kenzo were in total Greyhound heaven!  I took heaps of photos so I'll let them tell you all about it ....
Snapper walking on water to save Frankie
Hmm, not a greyt success!
Probably the only time Kenzo took the lead:)
But he soon looked back for his mate, Snapper
As always, Frankie is a Greyhound Magnet:)
The obligatory "I'm Pretty" photo of the Princess:)
I'm coming Mum:)
She's enjoying the sea:)
Beryl hasn't swum yet.  I think she wants me to go out deeper with her, and I don't blame her.  She doesn't go in the sea above her ankles by herself:)  But she is getting way more comfortable in the waves.  Maybe next time I'll ditch the camera and go out further and see what happens.

Beryl leading the boys on a blat:)
Yes, Louie was there
Did we see a dolphin?
Or was it a humpback whale?
No, it was 2 Greyhounds and a pig dog, lol!
Shake, shake, shake:)
What's Ellie doing?
I'll help you Ellie:)
I'll save you Frankie!!!
Hmm, Snapper isn't getting any better at this, is he?
But wait, there's more!!  I took some video:)  But it's 3 minutes long as I wanted it for my 'memory box'.  So don't feel you HAVE to check it out.  It's probably a bit like having to sit through someone else's holiday videos:)

Yes, we all had a wonderful time and I know my kids slept very well last night:)  We can't wait to do it all again!!

Have a greyt weekend everyone.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Can YOU think of a caption?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Frankie (and Beryl's!) Birthday Treat:)

It was actually Frankie's unofficial birthday yesterday, Valentines Day ... I don't know his real birthday but it's around this time of year. And thanks Kristine (Rescued Insanity) for the birthday wishes for my boy:) But I was busy working and had CGC with Beryl  after work so it wasn't much of a day for Frankie.  Then I had an unexpected day off today so I asked Frankie if he wanted a party or a trip to the beach, and funnily enough he asked to go to the beach!  So we set off this morning to the nearest beach, about 30 minutes away.  It was a lovely morning, not too hot with a cool breeze.  We can't park at the beach but it's a fairly short walk along a sandy, primitive road (4WD only!) with interesting country on either side.

Frankie in his element:)
Beryl enjoyed it too ....

Yes, this is good:)
When we got to the beach it was deserted, yay!  We were wandering along and I was watching Beryl when I heard what I thought was a dog (not Frankie) bark and growl.  When I looked to see what was happening, it wasn't another dog that had barked at Frankie but a SEAL!!!

Look what I found, Mum!!
It's a funny dog
By this time Beryl had seen it ....

Whoa, WTF is that????
Whatever you are I don't like you!!
She was barking at it and not at all impressed.  I didn't get too close as I didn't want the kids to get any closer either and I didn't want the seal charging us!!

Beryl is still verbally abusing the seal!
Typical female, has to get in the last word as we walk away!
It was pretty uneventful after that little adventure.  We had some fun in the sea

Oooo, mind the waves, Beryl!
Look out Frankie!!
Hmm, Frankie can't hear me, no ears!!
Look at the power from Beryl!
Splashing around
We did get overtaken by some people on horses with 3 dogs!!  I managed to persuade my kids that we should get out of their way without any trouble.  Usually Frankie HAS to check out any dogs he hasn't met but I was glad he wasn't interested in these 3 just in case any of them took a dislike to him!

This looks like fun too:)
All in all I think Frankie enjoyed today much better than yesterday:)  And tonight Frankie and I went to Rally O training so both kids are pretty much exhausted.

And, good timing, a very roughly edited video I took today has finished uploading.  It's a bit longer than usual (2 mins) but it's probably worth checking out just for the last 30 seconds or so when Beryl takes off and runs for fun!  I love watching her galloping, just because she can, and enjoys it so much ....

Oh darn, I just realised I hadn't gotten rid of all my inane babbling on the video, lol!!  Oh well, I might re-edit tomorrow night and tidy it up a bit but in the meantime if you want to hear wind noise and me making even more noise have a look at this version;)

Right, it's past my bedtime.  I have got a funny, very random photo I took of Frankie today to put up for Wordless Wednesday so I hope you'll come back and have a look and suggest a caption for it:)

We hope everyone has had a lovely Valentines Day.  I got extra cuddles from the kids yesterday:)

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It Was a Greyt Day for the Greyhounds:)

I was going to title this post "Well, bugger me!!" but I thought that's not very PC, lol.  Today Frankie, Beryl and I went to our local dog training club's obedience and rally O day.  I entered Beryl in Foundation Novice and Novice Zoom and Frankie in Foundation Novice and Foundation Zoom.  In Foundation (which is a new class) your dogs can wear halti type thingys and you can take food (in a sealed container) or a toy in the ring.  I was so expecting Beryl to NQ that the first thought that went through my head when I found out she had got a merit card was "Well, bugger me!!".  I won't tell you what I thought at the prize giving when our names were called out in 4th place. lol;)  And yes, there were quite a few more than 4 dogs entered!!  So my clever girl came home with
a lovely ribbon, a merit certificate (which will be framed:) and is exhausted!
Lucy excelled herself taking out 5th place in Advanced Novice, Louie got a merit certificate in Novice Zoom and Ellie and Chase got a merit certificate in Novice
Ellie and Chase
In November Ellie and Chase also got their Foundation CGC.  Ellie is only 10 and Chase is 3 so there's lots more they are going to achieve yet!  So we did pretty damn well I think:)

Some of you may be wondering about Frankie, how did he go, hmmm?  Well, Frankie's Mum managed to totally walk past a station in Foundation Novice, it was near the end and I'd already done the course with Beryl, duh!!!  And it was an easy one, just a sit.  He hadn't even NQ'd.  Then in Zoom I stuffed up the second spiral which was near the end again.  What chance has he got with me on the other end of the lead, lol.
I still luff ya Mum xxx
Carrying on from the Mystery Mutts post, there was a woman at the show today with a red Kelpie and I asked her if she thought Frankie had any Kelpie in him.  She said she'd been looking at him and wondering the same thing.  On meeting him she thought it was very likely.  People either think he's got Pittie in him or Kelpie, never a mix of both:)  I go with the Kelpie group and am inclined to agree with Helen from 4leggedwiums that he's Kelpie with maybe some AmStaff, a dash of Greyhound (he has a real affinity with them and they do know another Greyhound!) and who knows what else.  Yes, I could get a DNA test done but they're quite expensive and I've read on the internet about people who've had them done at multiple places and got totally different results back!

I'd like to thank everyone who commented about Frankie on the Mystery Mutts post.  Some interesting thoughts:)  I hope to get time tomorrow to get around most of the blogs in the Hop and do some more guessing on other people's Magical Mystery Mutts.

And I guess now would be a good time to join in on the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop

You know the drill, pop over to Life With Dogs for the guidelines, grab the linky and enjoy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mystery Mutts - Today it's all about Frankie:)

We are joining the Magical Mystery Mutt Blog Hop being hosted by Will My Dog Hate Me?Peggy's Pet Place, and I Still Want More Puppies.  Thanks guys:)

The idea is for people to guess what breeds are in your Magical Mutt.  If you want to join in the fun, details on how can be found at any of the hosts blogs:)

Now on to some details about Frankie -

He is nearly 3 years old and I've had him for a bit over 2 years.  He is approx 21" at the shoulder and weighs about 50 lbs (could stand to lose a couple of pounds!)  Colour is kind of a chocolate/red or red/chocolate:)  Eyes are golden.  His chest is very deep and broad and he's an all over powerful guy.  He has a lot of spare skin around his neck and shoulders.  His coat is single but quite coarse over his shoulders and on his back, shorter and finer elsewhere and in the winter it develops crinkles along his back!  But they go when he gets his Summer coat, weird huh?

Last Winter
Tail carriage depends on what he's doing, whether it's hanging down, straight out or curled up.  His ears vary too but mostly they're nicely tipped on top although sometimes they can look like this -

As to his nature, well, he's a character.  Very clever, stubborn, independent at times, affectionate, energetic but more able to chill out as he's maturing.  He likes people and most other dogs!  I'm very glad he's neutered, lol.  Occasionally we will come across a dog he doesn't think should be in 'his' park and he will jump on them and verbally abuse them which has caused me some embarrassment but it hasn't happened for quite a while (touch wood) He loves to go to new places and is a great explorer.  He is a good watchdog (but not a guard dog!) and will often have conversations with me but he isn't an annoying barker.

His favourite things to do are fetch sticks from the river

Play with his Greyhound buddies

He's there in the middle of his girls:)
and hunt!!  I don't have any photos of that.  But he's caught 6 possums at the park/river where we generally go every day.  His nose is always working (unless he's playing with his Greyhound girls!) as he catches up with the 'peemail' at the park.  He is totally anal about this when taking him on a walk around town on the lead!  So we don't do that very often.

In the hands of the right person he could excel at agility, tracking and rally O.  I don't think he's really cut out for obedience, lol.  Not enough fun for him.  But I think he's pretty happy to be living with me and just learning a few tricks and doing some rally and mostly having fun together.

I'm often asked what breed he is and I just say he's a pig dog from Taumaranui, which is where he was found wandering the streets.  It's a rural town and I expect there is a lot of pig hunting goes on in the area.  Really I have no idea what his make up is.  Like most muttley dog owners I'd love to know:)  So, what do you think he could be?

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