Friday, April 13, 2018

Cave Bed

So I bought one of those cave beds this winter.  Maddie is my only greyhound that will tuck herself in by pulling blankets over her body or burrowing under them.
So I thought she would be able to figure out the cave bed.  We had to help her for a few days, but then Maddie figured it out and now she sleeps in it all night.
Sometimes Maddie brings friends into the cave bed.
This is Maddie as a pup (below).  Obviously, she was already trying to invent the cave bed.  She was onto something.
Seven likes it too!  Although she has not figured out  how to get into it, but I have seen her try.  She often lays on the she fleece area.... I think she is hoping the bed will miraculously swallow her up.
But once she does get in it, Seven is quite at home.  I will buy her one if she ever is able to get in it without assistance.
Riley has tried it a couple of times, but generally gets too warm, but on this day she stayed in it for a couple of hours. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Riley - Last Days of Winter

Spring is here and 70 degree days (and higher) are fast approaching.  I am trying to get Riley outside as much as possible while we are still blessed with cooler temperatures.
The laryngeal paralysis has progressed enough that she has trouble breathing when it is too warm especially if we are in the sun.  
It sucks because she still grabs her toy like she is a 2 years old and takes off.... and then the coughing and loud breathing starts.  She takes breaks and runs a lot less than she used to because of the gagging interruptions.  The good thing is that Riley still has good cardio fitness so she catches her breath quickly.
Sometimes the gagging causes inflammation under her tongue.  She gets these reddish bubbles.
I researched and thought a lot about the tie-back surgery for laryngeal paralysis.  Its funny because people are either dead set against or they think it is the greatest surgery in the world.  I found few opinions in the middle.
Those in favor of the surgery said to do it as soon as possible while she was in good shape.  That made sense, but I was not willing to put her on the bench recovering from surgery during the cooler months.
Ultimately, I decided against it.  I have two good friends that are vets that do agility with sighthounds and they both told me they would not to the surgery on their own dogs.  Riley LOVES food and most of our activity revolves around treats.  The surgery makes them more susceptible to aspirating food and water.  Riley already chokes on treats.  I did not want to make it even more likely to happen.
 
And then there is the polyneuropathy.  It is quite evident that the polyneuropathy is progressing.  Riley's muscle tone is diminishing.  Her muscles are so soft and she is getting more shaky.  I've stopped doing any agility with her.
If Riley did not have polyneuropathy, I may have been tempted to do the surgery in the coming months.  But since she does, I am just going to let nature take its course.  She is just going to get weaker and weaker and if she eventually can't hike, run, and play then there will be no reason for her to just lay around breathing easier. 
So we are enjoying the days.... hiking almost everyday and playing with a toy in the yard a few times a week.
Once summer sets in, we will stick to indoor games.  We will work the stairs, cavalettis, peanut, and balance discs.  I will try to keep her as fit and strong as possible.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Maddie - QQ #19

Maddie earned her 19th double qualifier the last day of March.  It was a local trial so we just did one day and it was a successful day!  Two first places too!

Here is the video:



Thursday, March 29, 2018

Ellie - Agility Match

Ellie had been hard at work learning agility.  She really is so funny because she is so calm and comes across kind of lazy, but she works really hard and loves training.  She is really efficient and doesn't waste her energy.  She has been introduced to everything.  Her teeter is full sized and she is learning 2 feet on and 2 feet off contacts.  Right now, I'm making sure she understands the difference between the dogwalk and teeter. 
We work weave poles almost everyday.  She is doing 2X2s and also channels with guides.  She can do 4 weave poles in a line and I just added 2 more offset a bit.  She also does 12 channel weave poles just slightly open.
She is doing sequences of about about 4 or 5 obstacles.  I often will run her on the courses I set up for Maddie, but skip the dogwalk and weave poles. 
At the last agility trial, there was an agility practice match late that evening.  I put her in the Jumpers ring jumping 16 inches and she did great.  I am very happy with how she is coming along.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Maddie - QQ #18

A couple of weekends ago, I competed Maddie at a local agility trial.  She did great!  Earned QQ #18 with a first and second place.  Just two more to go!






Friday, February 16, 2018

Agility Nosework - Seven

Seven is doing well despite her chronic left front lameness.  She is still has the highest drive and highest energy of any greyhound I have ever known.... even at 9 years old. We stopped taking nosework lessons and I never did teach her to find a certain odor, but she still loves finding her Plato Salmon Treats.  I hide 9 to 12 pieces on my agility obstacles, fence, bushes, retaining wall, chairs, shed, and patio and send her out on the field to find them all.  She loves it and even looks sort of sound doing it.  I think it is a great way to exercise her in a way that she loves, but that is not too intense.  She hates going for walks and if I were to do a little agility with her or toss a toy, she would put way too much effort, speed, and intensity into it.  Searching for treats allows her to move around, do turns, and change her pace, but it does not reward her for going as fast and hard as she can.  She would miss the treats if she did that.  So this has been a perfect activity for her.  And she drools all over and gets spit on her face.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Winter Fun - Riley

I am making sure that Riley has a blast this winter... just in case.  She is 11 and half years old with progressing laryngeal paralysis and polyneuropathy.  She is still in great shape and we are taking full advantage of the cooler temperatures.  I'm afraid that summer is going to be very tough, but we shall see. She is just so precious and perfect!  Of all of the greyhounds I have had, I think she has been the absolute most perfect one.  I love her so much!
The agility trials we attended in December and January had agility matches in the evenings.  So I ran Riley on the Jumpers course.  She is still very fast... especially when the jumps are only 16 inches and she still has really good weave poles and loves them!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Introducing Ellie!

Introducing Ellie!  I found her at Birmingham Racetrack and brought her home on New Year's Day!  I had been looking at greyhounds coming through Southeastern Greyhound Adoption since summer, but it had been slow going.  I fostered a couple of dogs, but none of them were quite right.  I expanded my search to other groups and found myself and my friend, Lou, at Birmingham Racetrack New Year's weekend.
Birmingham supplies greyhounds to numerous adoption groups so they have up to 80 dogs available at any one time.  They were very accommodating and we had a good experience checking out the dogs. 
Since food motivation is of the utmost importance to me, we only looked at dogs 3 yrs and younger that had finished breakfast.  We quickly narrowed it down to a handful of dogs who were the most interested in treats and lured around after them with drive.  I also brought a wobble board and the hounds that earned a second look were lured across the unsteady, noisy, 3 X 3 foot board.  Those that willing crossed over the board over and over for treats stayed in the running.
The top contenders were loaded into my van and taken to track office building where we walked them across slippery floors, started them with clicker training in a new environment, worked stairs a little, and startled them with noisy bowls.  Ultimately, I came home with Atascocita Vanya
Ellie came home on a Monday and on Thursday she was sleeping in a tent at her first agility trial.  She was a little stressed for the first 12 hours, but then she settled right in as if she had been traveling to agility trials her whole life.  
She really has been such a dream!  She crates great, is quiet, an excellent traveler, easy going, very friendly, gets a long great with other dogs (especially her new sisters), is a hard worker, and, of course, food motivated.  She is very attentive and responsive already.  I believe I will be naming her "Never Give Way".  She is pushy, but in a steady, methodical way.  She is not crazy and hyper.  Just so very solid and balanced.  I am excited to see where we go!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Back At It

Wow, it has been a while!  So Maddie returned to agility competition in December.  Her shoulder ligament healed without incident.  Taking the conservative course of action seems to have been the right choice.  I confined her at home so she would not jump around and play, but I continued to carefully walk her almost daily.  A second ultrasound confirmed that the ligament had healed.
Since it was summer, I was able to increase her exercise starting with swimming.  Maddie was a so so swimmer and never seemed to like it much.  However, I think she was so thrilled for more activity that she now has an appreciation for swimming and got really good at it.  Then I added some trotting and galloping next to my bike and eventually some agility.
We trialed once in December, January, and February.  So far she has been running clean like crazy in Master Standard, but Jumper legs elude us.  We did earn QQ #16 in one of our trials.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Retirement - Riley

Riley is doing great!  She just turned 11 years old.  The laryngeal paralysis is slowing her down now that summer is setting in, but she seems to be smart about not over doing it when she shouldn't and taking a break when she needs it.
Her normal breathing is quiet, but she does cough and gag periodically and you can definitely hear it when she is panting.  I am only hiking in the early mornings now.  Stephen and I took her swimming a couple of times, but we have decided she hates it.  I am not sure she ever loved it, but she is really resisting it this year.  Maybe it has to do with her breathing understandably.  So we decided we would not swim her again.
Riley is enjoying the new backyard though!  Its so big and flat!  It drains great!  The sand and crushed gravel give it traction and the grass gives it cushion.  And the grass is filling in like crazy!  By the end of summer, I am betting we do not have any patches left.






Once Riley is finished, it is great to be able to bring her into the air conditioning and in front of a fan right away.