Wednesday, May 1, 2013


One of the things that I enjoy most is teamwork between my dogs and me. In addition to Pet Therapy, I enjoy competing with them in a variety of dog sports.

This past weekend was pretty busy. Friday afternoon, Blaze (my male Greyhound) and I went to Woodstock Nursing and Rehab to visit with residents there. I read a little to them about Dottie Hi Socks (yes, of course it was a book about dogs, and specifically a funny & cute little female Greyhound).

The book prompted questions and discussions about Greyhounds all the while Blaze was loving on them and they back on him.

Saturday morning Blaze and I ATTEMPTED (notice the work is in all caps) Novice Obedience in a local trial. Blaze's heeling was ok, but he under no circumstances wanted to sit unless I told him he had to. In an obedience trial, when the handler stops, the dog is supposed to sit. Apparently, Blaze did not think these rules applied to him. Hence, we had points deducted. Then we get to do what is 'affectionately' termed (NOT) 'sits & downs.' During these exercise, you get to give your dog the 'sit' & 'down' commands.

I gave Blaze the 'sit' command. He didn't think I meant it so I had to tell him again. He sat in between 2 other dogs (an Aussie & Border Collie I think). All 3 of us handlers walked away about 20 feet and stood facing our dogs. I'm watching Blaze and giving him the eye--like don't you dare slide into a down. He looked back at me like, "whatcha gonna do about it?" and 45 seconds in to the 1 minute sit, he slid into a down. Automatic Non Qualification. Then we return to our dogs to do the long, 3 minute down; We got this part, right? Piece of cake! NOT! My silly boy who give me downs all day long, STOOD up about 2 minutes in. He kept shifting his butt and his feet and then up he popped into a stand. Now mind you, he stood perfectly still for the last minute, but I was not happy. Another Automatic Non Qualification.
Old photo of Blaze in a down stay
Back to more classes, training & practice...

Then Sunday, Cori, one of my female Greyhounds and I drove to South Carolina for a Nose Work Level 1 competition.

In NW1, there are 4 search elements: interior (usually a room), exterior (a cordoned off area), vehicle (usually 3 cars) and containers (usually boxes). The odor is essential oil of Birch. The searches are timed and usually between 2:30-3 mins depending on the hide. The dogs searches and must alert you as to the spot where the odor (source) is located at.

This was our 3rd attempt at out NW1 title. The weather was lousy. Cold and rainy. Two of our searches, exterior and vehicle were outside in the rain. The other 2 (interior and container) thank heavens were inside.

Cori is good at Nose Works and really enjoys it. She does NOT like going to new places nor does she like having male judges (which that's all we ever seem to get) stand too close to her. She also gets REALLY distracted if there are too many spectators. All things we have been and will have to keep training through.

Although we did not get our exterior hide (she false alerted right behind the hide--which I found out several dogs did the same thing). She passed her interior search (1st time in a trial) in 2 mins and 19 seconds. She passed her container search (like 1 min 18 second) and she NAILED her vehicle search is 36 seconds!

Vehicle search last Oct at the Birmingham, AL trial
Even though we did not earn her NW level 1 title, I was EXTREMELY proud of my girl. This was the best of the 3 trials we have participated in. Only 5 of the 29 teams earned their level 1 title. Thirteen teams (including us) passed 3 of the 4.

We'll earn that NW1 one of these days. I think I'll wait for a closer trial though :)

Not to be forgotten about, Team Rio (my lab mix & me) has had a busy spring competing in agility (both AKC & USDAA). She has earned another Preferred Excellent Jumpers With Weaves leg and another Preferred Open Standard leg.

Then let's not forget Autumn. She and and I have not done any sports yet together. We'll have to see what she enjoys. I know she enjoys running. Here's a photo of her for last year's Blur of the Fur fun run.

Chloe has even previously competed in a couple of lure coursing trials.

At 9 years old now, she just gets to run for fun.

And then there is Daisy--well we'll have to see what Daisy wants to do.
She and I will be attending a baby dogs 101 sport class in June with Tracy Skelnar. We'll see what Team Daisy will pursue after that :)

All this to say that teamwork with your canine partners is a lot of work, and a lot fun. To me it is awe inspiring. The fact that they do all these things--things that we ask of them, is a tribute to their intelligence, their strength and in several of my dogs' cases, courage. And above and beyond all that it clearly displays their loyalty, love and trust, not to mention patience! The fact that Rio has not fired me after almost 6 years of agility is miraculous in itself!

I am very blessed to have the pack I do. They teach me new things every day!

Last photo--couldn't resist--this is a cuteness alert!
Daisy & Rio


  1. We have the Dottie Hi Socks book on our shelf, too! Sorry Blaze was such a punk at the trial! It sounds like the rest of them are doing great!

  2. I laughed till I cried the first time I read Dottie Hi Socks :) Blaze is always a little bit of a punk :) Being my only male dog, he's a TEENSY bit spoiled, ok-- A LOT spoiled.

  3. Dottie Hi Socks sounds like my kind of book :) Bet seeing Blaze really made the people's day at the retirement home.
    Ahhh, what it must be like to have obedient, well trained dogs, some of us can only dream....

    1. Lynne--it's a cute and funny book. You would like it. Yes, Blaze is a people pleaser. He loves seeing everyone and doling out loving.

      They aren't always obedient & well trained :)