Pet-Peeves: thunder storms, sudden loud noises, nail trimming and bath time
Favorite Toy: Any grunty squeaky toy
Favorite Food: Home cooked dinners, Honest Kitchen's Focus, home made liver treats, beef heart, boiled and baked piggs feet. My mamma's a good doggie treat cook!
Favorite Walk: Since moving to Seattle, Discovery Park's loop trail and Marymoor Park in Redmond (during the week when it isn't crowded)
Best Tricks: Agility training, singing, sitting, bowing and "go woof"
Arrival Story: Graziella (formerly known as Baby) was a foster dog. I specialize in working with shy dogs helping them gain confidence and become more well adjusted dogs. She had been at Greyhound Friends since November of 2004. No one wanted her due to her shyness. I offered to foster her to help her overcome some of her shyness. Her racing name is System Stp Baby. I'd love to hear from anyone that has one of her litter mates.
Bio: I brought Graziella home two weeks before (May 2006) my beloved Begonia tripped on the last few stairs on her way out to the bathroom. Her stumble caused much crying and pain and upon taking her to the emergency room for animals, the x-rays showed that she had bone cancer. It seems that God knew I would be loosing Begonia and sent Graziella into my life to help with the void. No dog will ever truly "replace" my Begonia, she was my special girl, but I'm able to redirect my grief into helping Graziella. This tragedy created a permanent place in the pack, that's when I decided to give her her permanent name. Graziella means "Lovely One" and "Graceful One" in Italian and is also the genus name for a very pretty red ornamental grass (Graziella Miscanthus), which I named her after. Graziella made huge strides with in the first nine months I had her. During her second month with me she transitioned from hanging out in the kitchen, her favorite room, to choosing to sit on one of the dog beds in my living room, where I was. By the 9th month she was going out of her way to play an active role in the pack dynamic and compete for affection.
Graziella is now quite the busy body of the pack. When Timber and Verbena are laying in the sun, she's up and about sniffing and investigating. She LOVES attention and pushes Timber out of her way with her wiggle but. Since letting my third greyhound go over the rainbow bridge, Graziella has really come out even more and has turned into more of a mama's girl. I enjoy seeing how their personalities evolve over time as our family changes over time.
This week I attended my first novice prep class. IT was AWESOME.
Graziella and I did really well, still had a couple of hook ups here and there, which well, is why we're in the class to start off with. But we had fun. Oh did we have fun! I just LOVE it that she wags her tail the entire time she's out there. She was really running over jumps, so much so I had to hustle my pregnant self quite a bit to keep up with her.
I couldn't help but feel proud of all the progress we've made when I over heard the instructor telling the others in the class how old Graziella is and how she's the most enthusiastic best greyhound they've had come through the training center. All the others in class have more traditional working breeds, heeler/herding dogs and a gun dog.
The next nice thing was to be in class with people that have dogs that are paying attention and listening to them. No more daffy-dim-witted-doodle! It got old listening to that dog yap through the obstacle course and watch him go off and run around disregarding his owners. And then his owners barking his name out and jerking him around. ug. It was so refreshing to not be surrounded by than negativity and chaos.
Last night was the final class of Agility 103. The final beginner level class. Now we're officially going on to Novice Prep! I'm beyond thrilled. Our class last night was awesome. Graziella was really excited about class and to be there. For the most part she seems to just have more and more fun, and well, last night was no exception to this trend. On the first try doing the "go" command of sending your dog to run on out in front of you to the next obstacle, she did great. The instructor had me show her that I was putting tasty treats on the treat plate. We then went to the far end of a series of three jumps and I sent her on. She RAN and FLEW over those jumps! It was SO cool :) By the time I caught up with her she had gobbled up her treats and was dancing around happily at the end of the jumps waiting for me! She was really cute.
After we completed the "go" exercise we were let loose on a 15 obstacle course. It was a good course with a couple of front crosses. On our first run she did fantastic. My first front cross between the dog walk and a jump was a little sloppy but she knew what I wanted from her and kept on through the course. My handling was a bit choppy going from the tunnel under the A-frame, on up the A-frame, but other than those two spots she was wagging her tail the whole time. She was thrilled to dive into the tunnels and go over the jumps and she even has a really good "wait" on the table. It was awesome. She was awesome. We had fun :) I know I say it every week, but I'm beyond thrilled to have myself an agility dog.
After the first run we did, the instructor had us break up the course and work on our trouble spots and then run the whole course again. Of course after the little break down, and practice, the second run went really well.
The second half of class we worked on the "switch" command and "out" commands as well as incorporating weave poles into the mix and a chute. She had no qualms about going on through the collapsed chute either. I was so impressed. We worked on off-side weaves which was good because it's not really our strong point.
I just feel so accomplished with our training. From starting off with a dog that wasn't very confident and a bit nervous to a confided dog eager to the point of pulling on her leash to go into a tune, was not what I'd really expected. Of course, I didn't really know what to expect and I'm glad we have approached it from a fun standpoint. In fantasy land I hope we will be able to compete and do well, though I know that is off in the distance at this point. In real life, we'll be going to novice prep classes until we can't... I'll have our baby and we'll adjust into family life and I'll recuperate from the birth.
But then... after that... well, I'm hoping that we'll be back on board. Our instructor says the dogs will remember everything, so I'll have that to look forward to. It'll be my "me" time.
Thursday night was a ton of fun. We actually had a much more challenging class and learned new things. We learned how to send our dogs on out ahead of us, to do a tight turn and come back the direction they came and how best to execute a figure eight of three obstacles.
For the sending our dog out part we had three jumps in a row and the point was to say where to go and keep our body moving but not trying to "race" alongside our dog and also to keep our arm outstretched so that if they turned to look back at us they would see that we were directing our dog to continue on forward. The verbal cue is to say the obstacle and then the word "go".
Graziella was reluctant to run on ahead with out me but when the instructor had my husband stand down at the end of the series of jumps, calling her and having treats, she figured it out after a couple of tries. I also forgot the first time to keep my arm outstretched, but the next turn, I did better too.