Monday, October 31, 2011

First Snowstorm, First Halloween

When we adopted Luna we received a lot of questions about how she would handle the New Jersey winter.  This weekend we were surprised by a freak snowstorm that brought trees down, power outages, and my parents back to our house for warmth and electricity.  (Sigh)  On the plus side we got to introduce Luna to the world of snow earlier than expected.

Based on her reaction to the cold, wet stuff, I'd say we have a long winter ahead of us.  At least she is learning how to do her business quickly when we go outside.

Another first for Luna was Halloween.  She sported her bandanna and eagerly greeted all the strange characters at the door.  We did not get too many visitors which was disappointing.  At least she got to show off her outfit a bit.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Passive Aggressive?

Last week was the first time I have left Luna for a long period of time.  I had to travel to a conference and was gone for five days.  Mike reported that she was a pain the first day (which we expected) but quickly adjusted to only having Mike around.  She got a little clingy with him which helped them bond but made doing chores difficult.

After years to dog sitting, I have seen the many different reactions dogs have when their owners return.  Some forgive and forget easily while others punish their owners for abandoning them.  My favorite was a greyhound named Cleo who enthusiastically greeted her owners for about 30 seconds and then ran off to her pillow and refused to move.  The owners literally carried her out of the house because she would not walk.

I experienced my own punishment last night and this morning.  After happily greeting me when I walked through the door, Luna followed Mike around from room to room.  When I called her over, she just stared at me as if to say, "Why?  So you can leave me again?"  I was sad to see her giving me the cold shoulder, but I knew that this would pass and soon all would be forgiven.

Apparently, Luna still had some mixed feelings this morning.  On one hand she was happy to have me back evident by her asking for pets, offering me play bows, and following me around.  On the other hand, she seemed to need to show me that my actions would not go unchecked.  She took to placing herself in ways that would cause me some harm.  Just something subtle.  This morning she body slammed my knee causing me to nearly fall down and stepped on my foot as I went up the stairs causing me to trip.  I'm sensing a little residual annoyance towards me.  Hopefully, I can remedy this by spending the day with her and taking her on some errands.  Still, I'd better watch my step for the next few days.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Taking 1st

Today was a big day for Luna.  There was a Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA) meet about an hour from our house and they said Luna could not only run, but compete, too.  We packed up the car and headed out for a day of fast paced fun.
Luna keeps a lookout for the lure.
Unfortunately, Luna was the only greyhound so she could not earn any points for her races.  As if points matter to Luna.  Her first run was a bit slow because she was not quite sure what was going on.  After the lure stopped I called her and she immediately ran over to me, completely forgetting about the lure she had been chasing.  What a great recall.
Muzzles are worn to keep the lure from being shredded.
In between runs, we practiced loading into the boxes and chasing the lure.  She definitely does not like the boxes so we will have to work on that.  Her second run was a lot faster and the third even faster.  The box operator said Luna kicked up so much dirt as she took off that the operator got a mouth full.  Everyone was very impressed with how well she ran and how quickly she caught on to the game.  Because she was the only greyhound she placed 1st in her breed so she got to take home a blue rosette and a stuffed animal moon.  A moon for Luna.  How cute!

We will definitely go to another one of these events as soon as possible.  Not only does Luna get a chance to run and meet some new dogs, but she is also completely exhausted for the rest of the day.  Bonus!

Friday, October 21, 2011

All Dressed Up

I've often said, "What's the point in having a greyhound if you're not going to accessorize?"

Luna was just made for accessories and we are taking full advantage of her good looks.  We've already purchased her first new collar, new coat/sleepwear, and plenty of bandannas.  She even has a handmade necklace to compliment her fall collar.  Check out the pictures of Luna modeling her fancy new outfits.
Red stars bandanna
Pink sparkles bandanna (hard to tell in picture)
Ready to greet Trick-or-Treaters
Her fall collar and necklace
Not everyone can look this good.

No matter what she wears, Luna always looks beautiful.  We are lucky to have her.
Thanks to our friend Jess for the photo!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jammed Packed Weekend = Sleepy Puppy

This past weekend kept Luna busy.  She traveled to new places, made new friends, and enjoyed plenty of quality time with her people.

We kicked off the weekend with a trip to a local lure coursing event.  Everyone we met was very interested in watching Luna run, but she would not get a turn until about four hours later so we decided to skip the run.  Instead, we watched the only greyhound compete and he was fantastic!  Luna went nuts when she saw him take off after the lure and she could not follow.  She barked and whined to the point where I had to remove her from the area.  Based on her reaction to the lure I think she would really enjoy lure coursing.  The participants we spoke to believe that she might be good at it since she is small and really wants to chase the lure.  Mike and I are checking the calendar to see when we might be able to take her to another event to be tested.

After the lure coursing event, we stopped by the local dog park for a quick run.  Luna was not interested in being around the many other dogs.  You could tell she wanted to go back to her sight hound group.  She did give us a few runs across a field, but it was obvious she was done.

We then visited Mike's parents' house.  His parents own a yellow lab mix who has a history of being protective of her property and people.  We have been slowly introducing Luna and Amber on neutral territory and this was the first time we brought them together in the fenced in backyard.  Amber was a bit on edge, but overall both dogs behaved well.  We will try the backyard play dates a few more times before progressing to the house.

On Sunday, I took Luna for a nice hike in a local park.  She definitely enjoyed the wildlife in the woods and was very interested in the small birds in the bushes.  We came across a few people and a biker who stopped to admire her which she enjoyed.  To wrap up the weekend, Luna and I spent time with my friend Ashley and her newly adopted Shih Tzu, Chewie.  Both dogs got along great and really enjoyed cuddling on the bed as we crocheted and watched movies.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Luna Has an Off Day

Luna is a pretty perfect dog for the most part.  Every once in awhile she has her bad dog moments, but they tend to be few and far between.  Today was an exception.  She really was out of character and had some bad behavior all day.

When I left for work I realized that I had left my cell phone in the house and had to turn the car around.  I had been gone for less than five minutes and came home to hear her yelping and barking so loud I could hear her from my car in the street. Not only is this bad behavior embarrassing, but my adjacent neighbor has a five month old baby that I do not want to risk waking.

This evening, Luna made her dinner time very difficult.  Sometimes she gets so worked up about her dinner that she starts to circle, whine and when she really freaks out she will bark.  I call this "panic mode".  Tonight was full panic mode.  You would have thought this dog was starving and hadn't seen a meal in weeks based on the way she was carrying on.  Every night I make her work for her dinner and when she goes into panic mode I remove the food and sit down while I wait for her to calm down.  I do not like to reward her for obsessing over meal time.  Most nights she gets the message in one sitting.  Tonight, it took over a half hour to feed her.

She completed the evening with constant begging at the dinner table which Mike and I had to scold her for as well as a terrible training session.  It was very obvious she had her own opinions regarding what we should do and what she should be rewarded for.  No new lesson plans tonight thank you very much.  I finally declared "game over" and stopped training before we both got any more frustrated.

Let's hope she got all this bad behavior out of her system and she will be much better the rest of the week.  If she's good (and maybe if she isn't) Mike and I are planning to take her to see a lure coursing event this weekend.  I'd love to see her reaction to the lure.  Maybe a good run will get this crazy behavior out of her system.
"You can't be mad at me, I'm too cute!"

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Look What I Can Do!"

Luna is continuing to retrieve her dumbbell like a champ.  It is so funny to see how excited she gets when I bring out the dumbbell.  Tonight I tried introducing her to other objects (dog toys) to retrieve.  She did not generalize very well, but after breaking it down to the basic level she quickly caught on.  The funny thing is, it seems she would prefer to pick up the dumbbell than the fluffy toys.  Maybe the fur bothers her tongue?

"Please tell me we are going to train."

"I'm ready!"

Anyway, below are some videos of Luna retrieving her dumbbell.  I apologize for the shaky camera.  It is really hard to film, throw and take the dumbbell, click, and treat with just two hands.

For the last video Mike decided he wanted to try his hand at training Luna.  He did pretty well, but I think he needs a bit of training too. :-)  I'll admit it was kind of stressful to watch and I tried to hold it back, but I think you can hear it in my voice.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Amazing Retrieving Greyhound

Wow! She was really thin and ripped when we first got her!
Sits, downs, stays, and now retrieval?  Is there anything this dog can't do?  We've only had Luna for three months and already she has learned so much.

Before adopting Luna I had decided that I would train my next dog to compete at AKC shows.  Not a bad idea if I had adopted a retriever or shepherd, but I gave myself a real challenge by selecting a greyhound. Greyhounds can be difficult to train for obedience (but why do they need it when they are already perfect?) and for this reason many people believe greyhounds cannot sit let alone retrieve.

I had never successfully taught a dog to retrieve.  Eris did not want any part of the experience and I blame myself for her dislike towards dumbbell training.  I really had no idea what I was doing and after awhile Eris gave up and refused to look at the dumbbell.  I recall telling my trainer that "Greyhounds don't do retrieval" and resigning from obedience shortly afterward.

I had to eat my words after watching the videos on Never Say Never Greyhounds (  Here were retired racers who clearly loved the retrieve game.  I studied the instructional videos and decided to give dumbbell training another go, this time in a positive and game-like manner.  The results are fantastic!

Here are the results of just a few short weeks of training.  I hope to capture some better footage of us training in the near future.