Thursday, September 22, 2011

Playing with color

When Luna and I went for our walk around the lake I took the opportunity to get some nice photos of her.  It has been hard to get good photos of her because she is all black and the lighting is never right.  We stopped at Hickory Dock for our photo shoot and I tried a variety of angles and settings.  Nothing came out the way I had hoped so now I'm wondering if my little camera just won't give me the quality of pictures I'm looking for. 

The following pictures show the original shot along side the edited version.  I have been playing around with the color settings to see what I can create.  I think it is obvious that I like to make the color come out.

The edited one brings out the pink color, blue water, and makes the trees look like they are just turning for fall.

I think this one was overdone.  The leaves look great but the color looks weird.

For this one I wanted to make her eyes stand out.  I think the whole setting is kind of neat.  

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Spooky Dog

Mike took this picture with his cell phone camera.  He wanted to send a  picture of her sitting to his coworker who owns a greyhound, too.  This was just too crazy not to share.
"Look into my eyes."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Building Stamina

Earlier this week, I had some extra time and Luna really wanted to do something.  She kept looking at me with those eyes asking me to take her somewhere fun.  So we headed over to Sunset Lake for an hour long walk.  We stopped only once to explore Hickory Dock and watch the birds coming in and out of the cattails.  It was a really nice day to spend with the puppy.

I thought that the walk would tire Luna out for the rest of the evening, but I was wrong.  After just a few hours she was ready for another adventure.  Since it was cool out and I did not have much going on I decided to make her usual evening walk a lot longer. 

In total, Luna and I walked 2.5 miles which may not seem like a lot, but it was for us.  When I first adopted Luna I had forgotten that racing greyhounds need to practice walking long distances.  An easy 1 mile walk was brutal for her.  Now, she can easily keep up on longer distances.  I guess that means I need to start building up my stamina so we can keep going.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Click Treat

In my opinion, nothing works better or is more fun than clicker training.  Using the clicker training method turns everything into a game which keeps greyhounds engaged in obedience work.

Eris at 14 years old.
Clicker training was not the first training technique I was introduced to.  When I first joined the 4-H club with my greyhound, Eris, our trainer did not know how to work with greyhounds.  Her experience had always been with retrievers, shelties, and other "trainable" breeds.  Her technique was to push down on the hind end while giving the command "sit".  While the other kids were getting their dogs to sit by the end of the first class, I was still wrestling with Eris.  Clearly, this technique was not right for us, but we did not know any better.  Because of this difficult start, Eris lost a lot of interest in obedience and I was always frustrated by her performance.

A few years later I had a trainer who introduced me to the idea of clicker training.  Suddenly, Eris enjoyed obedience (well, some of it) and I realized there was an easier way to communicate with my dog without manhandling her.  This method also gives the dog a chance to use their brain and sometimes they come up with new tricks.
Are we going to train?

Since day one, I have been training Luna using this positive reinforcement style.  Not only does she love the "games" we play, but she seems disappointed when training is over.  Up until recently I had focused her training on simple behaviors to help her feel successful in obedience.  Two nights ago I introduced the idea of "down".  I've tried "sit" a few times, but it is obvious she is not quite ready.  To my surprise, Luna picked up on "down" very quickly and will now lie down in a variety of settings.  I believe that she is doing so well because of the positive training method (and some natural smarts) which allows her to think of training time as fun time.

Luna's current obedience knowledge:
  • Leave it
  • Heel position
  • Get into heel position
  • Down
  • Spin
  • Touch
  • Watch me

Monday, September 5, 2011

To the Dog Park

On Friday, Luna accompanied me to work.  To reward her for being so patient and sleeping so quietly all day I decided to take her to the local dog park.  I had heard that this dog park was really great so I was excited to see what they had to offer.  While it is not the most spectacular dog park I have been too, it is definitely one of my favorites.  There was a huge amount of space, trails through some woods to hike with your dog, and plenty of company.  I was very pleased to meet so many friendly dog people there.

But how did Luna do?  I was not sure how she would react to the dog park.  When we first got her she was fearful of dogs close to her size and would actually hide behind me.  Eris, my last greyhound, never liked the dog park and would stand by the gate waiting to escape.

At first Luna was hesitant about joining the group of dogs so she stuck to greeting the people.  After awhile, she actually went up to two yellow labs and greeted them.  Then, she met a dalmatian, shepherd mix, and several other medium to large size dogs.  The smaller dogs that were running around and making a scene she simply ignored.  Typical greyhound.

Since she was the only greyhound, she drew a lot of attention from the visiting people.  Everyone wanted to see her run, but as I've mentioned before even I have not seen her run at full speed.  This was not a likely situation where she would decide to open up and start running.  I was able to take her to a large fenced in area where there were no other dogs.  Using our "stay" and "come" commands I was able to get her to run towards me from across the field.  She was not interested in running around so much as running towards me and I'm ok with that.

Overall, the experience was good for both of us.  Luna seemed to relax as time went on and I think she will learn to enjoy herself at the park.  I got to know my local dog park and meet a few new people who I hope to see again at the park.