I took Miles to his first race meet Sunday. This is a for fun short straight race of just 200 yards put on by the Large Gazehound Racing Association (LGRA). It is open to all sighthounds. The dogs win toys and sometimes ribbons. There is a point system so the dogs can get national rankings and titles. It is something that a lot of retired racers and their owners really enjoy. The dogs get exercise and still get the thrill of doing what they have been bred to do for thousands of years - chase.
This is Miles very first practice run behind the lure. He wasn't competing and only ran half the course. He enjoyed it though. His later runs were faster as he realized what was going on. He even did a few runs up and down the track without the lure because he was having such a great time.
Miles wasn't the one doing the barking and howling during the run. Those were the dogs that were watching and waiting very impatiently for their turn. The dogs get VERY excited watching. Miles was leaping around barking and whining while he was waiting for his turn earlier. The reason he was sitting at the start is because it has become a default behavior when the collar tightens up. He would get excited and pull then the collar would tighten and he would politely sit - still barking and howling wanting to chase the lure.
After the first run we taught him to run through the boxes you can see at the beginning of the video. We did that by leaving the front and back doors open. Someone in front played with the lure and got it to make noise then I released him to get it letting him run through the "tunnel". We did that a few times then closed the front put him in and popped it open so he could run out a few feet and grab the lure. He loved the game and picked it up fast. His final run was out of a closed box. There was just a split second pause when it opened before he ran out after the lure.
He will still need some more practices running alone after the lure the entire 200 yard distance before he is ready to run with another dog. I want him to be totally focused on the lure so he doesn't try to play with dogs running with him.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
We lost Miles housemate Streak to bone cancer in November of last year. I spotted another big guy, named Kickin Kevin, that was racing at Jefferson County Kennel Club in Fl near Tallahassee. He was racing in the low 90s which was the weight that Streak raced at. My favorites are the big guys! Kevin is white and red and I really wanted a black dog this time but decided to at least get this guy as a foster to see if he had the personality I wanted. Color really isn't that important and Streak's light almost white fawn color wasn't my favorite either.
It took me 6 months to find Miles after I lost my first greyhound JD. I met 3 or 4 litters of greyhound puppies and fostered quite a few adult dogs before I finally found one that felt right - Miles. It was a real long shot for the first dog I tried out to have the perfect personality and be the gentle giant I was looking for. I new exactly what I wanted a happy go lucky guy that got along good with Miles and was pretty submissive and sweet, not pushy or strong willed. The type of dog I could trust in a crowd of kids at Renaissance Festival and with other dogs when I did home visits. Basically a clone of Streak who was the best behaved dog in the world and never did anything wrong. One thing I did really like about Kevin was that he was an older guy at 4 years old. I like to have a few years between my dogs.
I called Pam, who heads the adoption group at that track, and told her Kevin looked like he was getting ready to grade off (retire). She said she would send someone over to the kennel he was running in to check on him. The next day she called me and told me he was IN the adoption kennel. When Susan, who runs the track adoption kennel, had gone to check on him his trainer had handed him to her on the spot, he was done racing. They got him neutered for me there, then sent him up on their next dog haul on Feb. 26th.
Kevin is absolutely the biggest greyhound I have ever seen. He towers above Miles who is 30 inches at the shoulder and a really big greyhound. My 33 inch high crate rubbed on his back so I traded someone for a 36 inch high crate. If he arches his back just a little in that it still touches - there is a bit of padding in the crate though. He is so long he takes up the whole 48 inch long crate with his butt touching one end and his head touching the other. Might have to get a Dane sized crate for him so he can stretch out a little. Streak was build like a tank and was about the same height as Miles. His weight was in his wide shoulders and booty. Kevin is very narrow in the rib cage and has a lot less muscle so he is much taller at the same weight. You can see in this video how he makes very tall Otto and Miles look like little girls in comparison.
The second day we had him my husband, Roy, asked if he might be a keeper. He was definitely the Streak type dog I was looking for. His personality was perfect! Even though I had had him less than a week I decided to take him to Sandy Paws. Nothing seemed to bother him and he walked perfectly on leash and loved his crate. I was able to take a fabric crate for him to Sandy Paws knowing he wouldn't chew or claw his way out of it. He towered above all the dogs there too and had his own little fan club. If we hadn't already decided to keep him he would have definitely found an adoptive family there. He did great. The only thing he did wrong was to mark the foot of the bed once. Just got a little on the bedspread which washed right out. Not bad for fresh off the track.
When we first got Kevin (now Moose) he was a little afraid of the wood floors and would slip around on them. He fell in the pool 3 times and we finally realized that it wasn't accidental. The days were getting warmer and he would walk out on the pool cover to get in the water on purpose. Once the cover comes off I bet he will enjoy going swimming with Miles and Otto. Seems like quite the water dog. He is just now starting to get up on the bed to snuggle with us, he was perfectly happy sleeping on the dog bed to begin with and didn't even try to get up on furniture. He still hasn't tried to get on the couch. He goes nuts over the lure pole but hurt a toe the first time he ran so now is limping around and can't run with the puppies for awhile. The biggest thing is that he plays nice with Miles and Otto as you can see in the video.
Miles loves to watch TV. The other night he watched an entire show on grizzlies, wolves and elk. He never took his eyes off the screen as you can see from the video.
Miles got to make a return trip to Sandy Paws the first weekend in March. He was only 8 weeks old when he was there the first time last year. He was the smallest one last year and this year he was one of the taller guys. He got his photo taken quite a few times by people that had pictures holding him last year. Amazing how much they grow. He thought every person and dog was there just to see him. He would happily go up to everyone and most of the adult dogs spotted that he was a pup right away and surprised their owners by growling at him. He didn't look like a puppy to the owners since he was so tall. We heard "Sorry, my dog never does that." so many times. Had to tell people he was a pup and their dogs got a "puppy pass". The adult dogs just growl at pups to let them know they aren't interested in playing or socializing. There was another puppy there, a silken windhound saluki cross, named Floyd that he enjoyed playing with.