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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:45 am 

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We picked her up only yesterday. She is 7 1/2 weeks old and she is a racing-bred rather than a show-bred whippet. I had wanted a female from the same breeder 2 1/2 years ago but only males were available at the time which is how we got Sky, our male whippet.
Sky was the first dog that we used almost exclusively positive reinforcement with for several months. I took much more time than I had ever taken with a dog before (except for service dog training candidates) and the level of trust that he has always shown is greater than with most of my other dogs.
With this new puppy, Moon Dance is her registered name (we are still considering several call names), I am hoping to continue the same approach, to only use negative reinforcement very sporadically for biting. With this puppy we will have more of a challenge because she is much more assertive and confident than most dogs of her breed. She has already challenged every dog in the house after 24 hours.

Here is a photo of Moon Dance:


Image

Tonight she really came out of her shell and played wild. After playing with everything that moved my daughter pulled out this little toy car to see what would happen:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OdXcmKxY4E


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:03 am 
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She is SO adoreable!!! The video is great!! Congratulations! :applause: :applause:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:59 am 

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Karen, thank you. :)
I am really excited about this puppy. She has very good conformation for performance, she is very beautiful and comes from a line with very nice temperaments as well, all things that don't always go hand in hand.
The last two days were full of learning for me and the puppy.
She amazed me by not having a single housebreaking accident so far but letting me know through wining every time she needed to go outside. This is a habit that she continued from being born in a kennel where the puppies have access to the outdoors all the time and will eliminate away from their sleeping area. Since Moon Dance is still so young, barely weaned, I wanted to make sure that she is not left alone for more than a few seconds either during the day or at night. This means no use of a crate (except for emergencies) with the door closed. She snuggles up with me at night and I think this helped her to not miss her Mom and her litter mates. During the day I kept her with the smaller dogs, a Beagle, a Cocker another female Whippet and a Chinese Crested. She also got to meet all the bigger dogs and had no fear except for Ray's big Akita who she only saw outside through the fence. We continued socialization by taking her for another car ride, visiting the vet where she got no shots or other unpleasant events, just liver treats and gentle handling and lots of oohs and ahhs. :)
It is always amazing to me how well even tiny puppies, esp. hounds, cue into our body language and tone of voice instinctively and learn to read us and anticipate our actions within a couple of hours.
We also did lots of socializing with sounds (radio, traffic, cats, ducks, water) and different textures to walk on and to taste.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:04 pm 
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That car video is just too cute :D

What a pretty little puppy! She has marking almost exactly like Emma, our former racing greyhound. (rescue) :yes:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 7:55 pm 

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At 5 am this morning, after Moon Dance had woken me up by gently biting my ear and whining a bit so I would take her outside, she snuggled in next to me again, half draped over my shoulder. It took her less than 10 seconds to fall asleep, and between providing warmth, comfort, security as well as a full tummy and lots of "adoptive" litter mates I felt I was doing an adequate job making up for the loss of her Mom and litter mates.
A minute later she started dreaming and made suckling motions and sounds while pumping with her little front feet against my chest. Her world was ok.
A couple hours later, after she had her breakfast of some kibble mixed with raw ground beef, I had to leave the kitchen briefly. I left her in the company of two of my smaller dogs, both experienced baby sitters, but it wasn't enough. After a few seconds I hurt a whine, then, after another 30 seconds some piercing wails. The second I started talking to her from another room she was quiet, reassured that I had not left her.
A few minutes ago she was getting bored and I gave her a used up paper towel roll to play with. Our 2-year-old adolescent male whippet, Sky, picked it up when she lost interest in it. This made it interesting again so she tried to grab it back. Sky gave her a little soft growl followed by a nip in the air in her direction. This led her to flirt with him by rolling on her back and inviting him to play and let her have part of the paper towel roll. After two more tries he gave in and shared part of the shreds, seemingly pleased that she respected him but even more pleased that she paid so much attention to him.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2010 8:29 pm 

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Colinde,
thank you, :) I consider myself so lucky to have her. I never had a brindle dog before but have always loved the looks.
Several people I know have rescued greyhounds, so many of them make wonderful companions in spite of the fact that they often grew up largely in isolation from other dogs except when running and confined in tiny kennels. The rescued racing greyhounds are often a lot more challenging to teach to come when called and keep them safe than whippets, who are usually kept as pets, even if they are used for racing.

Birgit


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 2:58 pm 
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Birgit wrote:
Colinde,
thank you, :) I consider myself so lucky to have her. I never had a brindle dog before but have always loved the looks.
Several people I know have rescued greyhounds, so many of them make wonderful companions in spite of the fact that they often grew up largely in isolation from other dogs except when running and confined in tiny kennels. The rescued racing greyhounds are often a lot more challenging to teach to come when called and keep them safe than whippets, who are usually kept as pets, even if they are used for racing.

Birgit

I need to get a picture of Emma for comparison. She reminded me of a tiger when we first got her. Large, tall and very quiet. I worked a night shift and would get home around 12am or 1... this took some getting used to for both of us. She was rather on edge about strange people coming into the strange house and she would sneak up behind me in the kitchen at night to sniff me. :ieks: Granted our flooring tile AND carpet are brown so she blends in perfectly. All I saw were stripes moving when I turned my head and I nearly had a heart attack several times until I got used to her quietly appearing. :funny:

It did take a long time to teach her what a dog really is. We have 2 now and each one that comes off the track is vastly different. Greyhounds in a tiny house at first is hilarious though - no brakes. Lots of objects get slammed into. Skating on tile floors etc. :funny: Or being terrified of Christmas presents by the tree... she barked at one bag - it fell over and she tore out of the room with a terrified yelp. She's the closest thing to a cat-dog I've ever seen though. They really do love to cuddle and lay under foot.

Another thing I found interesting is their body type and 'strung out' tendency when they first come here. Since Whippets don't race I don't know if they're as strung out naturally... but the Greyhounds have trouble doing anything but plowing ahead. Emma has been here 3 years though and my parents did alot of obedience through clicker training. Her core is now so strong she can sit on her hind legs like a meerkat for atleast 20 seconds, which is a huge feat. She also has a huge range of collection that is really surprising. She does levades, terre a terres, pirouettes, reining spins, passages with ease in her excitement now. :D 8) I really had no idea Greyhounds could "collect" as she does. Gracie, the second dog is only beginning to understand collection.

Sorry to go slightly off topic. I have never had a dog before so these experiences and observations have been very new for me. :yes: Especially when comparing the Greyhound (and similar breeds) to Thoroughbred horses. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 6:54 pm 

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Colinde,
I love that topic and think it fits here nicely. I've done lots of comparisons between sighthound and horse anatomy and biomechanics. I actually posted some pics of my male whippet who is almost greyhound size (24 1/2 inches) because I love the way he uses his back when moving. Of course dogs don't have to carry anything on their back. By the way, I forgot to mention it in my comment on your riding video but I love your horse's movement at the trot, it reminds me of a whippet, he just has to learn how to do it with a rider. :)
I just found the link in my diary. There pics of Sky all through page 2:
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2072&p=40425&hilit=whippet+sky#p40425

It's great that your family has worked so far in helping your ex-racer to get healthy physically and emotionally. :f:
Racing is sometimes the only thing these guys have ever learned to have fun and that's what they do whenever the leash comes off.
My whippets are from racing lines and most people with whippets from racing lines race them (we have only done lure coursing) but because most live as indoor pets (and the rest live in kennels where they interact with other dogs and people all the time) are well socialized and my whippets are actually the one's that are the easiest to train of all my dogs. The most important was to protect them from negative experiences and desensitize very carefully to other experiences because they can be emotionally more sensitive than many other breeds. This is sometimes a plus and sometimes a minus.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:05 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 12:03 am
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These people who say that puppies don't have a fear period at 8 weeks didn't tell that to Moon Dance. We went for our first walk. She was wearing a cute pink harness that is well padded under the chest and the neck and almost two inches wide around the neck so I was not worried about desensitizing her to leash pressure if I should have to restrain her. She walked with me comfortably until we walked past a house with two large dog barking. I think the only bark she had heard before was from whippets and from my Beagle. She got scared and ran right back to our house. Later we tried again, this time with my older female Whippet and the Beagle for company. We got to the park one block away and she had fun annoying the other dogs by jumping on them and getting barked at. No fear any more, yeah!
But when we got home came the attack of the puppy killer that all dogs talk about among themselves: the VACUUM CLEANER. All the adult dogs are respectful of it, moving calmly around it when it's moving but also keeping their eyes on it the whole time. Having learned from past experiences I decided to pick up the puppy with one arm and vacuum with the other. What a great upper body workout. :funny: But that belongs in another thread. It worked beautifully. Moon Dance watched the vacuum cleaner from above and it was moving away from her not towards her. After I was done with the living room I put her in the kitchen and started vacuuming the stairs to the upstairs. She came to the gate and watched with great curiosity. Score! :applause: :applause:
The last test of the day was the integration into the pack as a whole. Moon Dance had met all the indoor dogs under very close supervision and could already be left alone with five of them, all the smaller ones and Kenya, the Matriarch. The ones that I watched more closely were Sky, our male whippet, Buddy, the pointer-mix who has some autistic tendencies after a major seizure and Katrina, our "almost-purebred" German Shepherd who gets insecure easily. With all of them I made great progress in two days by giving them lots of loving attention whenever I was near Moon Dance or holding her. Tonight Katrina let her guard down completely. She rolled over on her side next to the puppy and let Moon Dance nibble on her toes while I was rubbing her chest and ears, placing my hand in between her mouth and the puppy just to be safe. A little while later all were loose together happily playing. Of course I won't leave them alone with each other for quite a while yet.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:13 pm 
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Sky looks beautiful - very similar to our second racer, Gracie. :D
Emma only got out of the house one time by accident. We're so lucky she ran straight to the car, thinking she was going on a trip! :ieks: Both she and Gracie have been clocked and they can run between 46 and 49MPH! :ieks: Yikes. My parents have one of those skwakers though that they use in the races. it's supposed to tap into their race memories and they come back to that noise... maybe. Don't want to find out.

I had never thought about leash sensitivity actually until you mentioned it with your pup. Emma is thoroughly desensitized... and also doesn't pay alot of attention to body language. Which makes her annoying to walk IMO. Gracie on the otherhand is a delight for me, as I can wiggle the leash with cues much like I use the reins for Diego and she responds instantly. She also is MUCH more sensitive about my body language and he relative position. She's such an extroverted, train wreck, pushy dog and yet SO incredibly sensitive at the same time. I have noticed they're both very emotionally sensitive, like you mentioned.

So glad that the puppy is settling in, it's interesting to read how one goes about a gentle introduction to home life with a pup.


And thanks about Diego ;) I used to treat our old barn Lab like a horse when I was a kid. Taught her to do show jumping and lunge :funny: and she was really good at it, but didn't have that springy suspension in her gait like Emma and Gracie do.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:34 pm 

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Quote:
I used to treat our old barn Lab like a horse when I was a kid. Taught her to do show jumping and lunge :funny: and she was really good at it, but didn't have that springy suspension in her gait like Emma and Gracie do.


That's so funny, I did the same with our neighbors overweight Cocker Spaniel because my parents never allowed me to have my own dog. I exercised her by bike, but the owner kept feeding her more and more. She learned to jump hedges 1 1/2 times her height for food though. :funny:
Concerning the leash sensitivity, I want to keep any pressure off her neck for as long as possible. This is partly for my convenience because I really dislike dogs leaning into the leash hard when I run with them. I also think that pulling hard as a puppy could change the alignment in their spine and shoulders before they are fully grown. I do think the tendency to pull (pain threshhold) is partly genetic.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:21 pm 

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Socialisation continues. Yesterday we took Moon Dance into town to go to the hardware store. it was funny how some big, tough-looking guys melted at the sight of this little puppy. Some of them just couldn't wipe that broad grin off their face while others starting cooing in a baby voice to her. :funny:
Last night we introduced her to Blue who was fascinated and kept sniffing her over and over but didn't seem to be quite sure what to do with her.
This morning we stopped at the post office and all the women wanted to hold her. They didn't even ask, just stretched out there arms, same as many women do with a human baby. Amazing how those maternal instincts are not limited to our own species.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:07 am 

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An update here is badly overdue so here are some more pictures of Moon Dance.

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

This gives an idea of what Moon Dance has been doing the last few weeks.
Training? Well, she has trained me to feed her only the finest kibble and raw meat, she has trained me to tell apart all her various whines and squeaks to get me to get up and play with her, feed her, clean up after her, open the door for her, pick her up and cuddle her, hand her toys and she has even trained me to move over in my sleep when she pushes all 4 paws into my stomach. For my reward I get lots of puppy hugs and kisses. Sometimes she uses some negative reinforcement by pulling on my pant leg or biting my toes. :funny:
She is now focusing on getting all the other dogs in the house trained to do her bidding and has been more effective than I've been with that already. Even the cat lets her get away with murder. :rofl:
She is also doing some creative problem solving. Just now she picked up a large, half full dog water dish with her teeth and moved it six feet across the floor on top of her bed and started drinking lying down. :ieks: What is she going to think of next? :yes:

Birgit


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:13 pm 
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She's getting so biiiig! :) Sounds like she has quite the personality ;) :funny:

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Wow! Cute AND beautiful too. Not fair. LOL

Donald, Altea, and Bonnie Cupcake

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