Friday, April 27, 2012

Chico - Let Skinny Sleeping Dogs Lie...

After a massive walk today, (mum and dad went for a run again) we are so tired. So tired we can hardly move.. we are so stiff when we try to get out of bed. I need to stretch so many times before I can actually walk. That silly Haggis still wants to play, she's lying on her side, thumping her long tail against the floor and barking at me to play with her. I love biting and licking her ears! They smell and taste so good!

As we're sighthoounds we're pretty skinny dogs, despite Haggis's size, she's still quite skinny. This is photo from the other day when she got into the dry dog food bucket and gorged herself stupid. You can see how huge her belly is!

But she didn't seem to be in any pain, in fact she just lay there all night, happy as Larry! 

This is how skinny she usually is! (with no protruding belly) And this is how flat I can make myself when lying down.. Probably not the best photo but you catch my drift... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Haggis - Electrocution! OUCH!

Today mum took us over to Radar's to play, as none of us had been for a walk at all yesterday, we were fully charged and raring to go!! Play time was hard and fast, and a slightly rougher than usual. The claws and paws were out, the teeth and gums bared and there were some clever twists and turns to get out of some wrestling positions.

For some strange reason, mum hung these annoying bells on us as we were on our walk, apparently to scare off wild animals so that we don't pick up on their scent and chase off after them. It might have been because of the other day, where I found the giant hare and ran off after it. The property that Radar lives on is very near a train line and shortly after I ran off, the train came zooming past.. It was so loud and scary and noise that I ran straight back to mum, and I lost the hare..

So today we walked around the back paddocks, with our stupid bells on - which must have frustrated the dogs on two properties away.. I suppose we sounded like reindeers coming! I ran to the fence and was ready to gallop off to the barking dogs over the fence, when all of a sudden I screamed! I felt the most extraordinary pain somewhere near my head for a second and ran to mum, where I knew I'd be safe. It was such a horrible sensation that I reeled from it for a long time afterwards, sticking close to mum. Never before have I experienced anything like it and never do I want to again.

Those damn electric fences are there to keep the gigantic Clydesdale horses in their own fields, and no wonder they stay in there and don't escape. The power coming through those lines is really high, so watch yourself!

Your Whippet or Hound photo here!

Hey we've had a brilliant idea! Why don't you send in photos and stories of your dogs so that we can show them off here? I would love to hear about your exciting adventures when you're out on  your walks. I'm sure there are some awesome tales! Please send at least 3 photos and a story to

Can't wait to read yours!

Chico - Ball skills from Melba

I believe that balls skills are important for a dog and I learnt this from a dog friend called Melba. Melba is a Coolie cross Spaniel - I think. She's a tough lady, she lives in Kinglake and hangs out in a pub in Collingwood.

Melba is my hero when it comes to catching a ball. She gets it every time without fail. Even it if takes a fight, she always gets the last say. Oooh she's a fierce one, always plays hard to get! She scares me but at the same time I have so much respect for her ball skills. She is amazing!

I remember when I first saw her in action (I was a puppy still), I was mesmerized by her agility and confidence. She is intelligent, attentive and interacts with humans well, but she's tough with us. So afterwards I practised and practised, making dad play ball with me almost every night till I caught it every time (almost). I got better and better.

I'm sure I taught Haggis everything she knows about ball catching, she might be faster than me now at times, but in a tussle, I will always get the ball, just a smidgen too fast for young Haggis. She's developed a really bad habit of running off with the ball and not bringing it back - how cheeky can you get? That's not the game, you're supposed to take it back so that they can throw it again.. stupid dog - she's a bit slow.

But she's getting prety good as well.

But I'm the best.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Off Leash walking for Sighthounds

I just found some fantastic information on regarding walking your dogs off leash. As you may have noticed we do allow our Sighthound dogs to run free at the park, in the forests and trust them to return always, but there are some tips and tricks that we follow and here are some I'd like to share with you.

Before we start I would also like to mention that both Chico and Haggis are walked and trained on leash about 3 - 4 times a week, to maintain good behaviour and encourages our good 'dominant' owner and dog relationship.


Sighthounds just love to run free - of course!
They are quick to learn and only really want to please their owner. They are trustworthy and loyal and often stay near you when you walk with them on the loose, but one must constantly be aware that they can in seconds, be miles away, if they see something to chase after - and if there is something to see - then they will see it!!!
Here is how you treat them and train them for maximum obedience.
The first thing you must have uppermost in your mind:

No matter what "crime" your dog may have committed, how long time he took to come when you called, or how worried and angry you got when you called in vain - you must ALWAYS show true love and a hearty warm greeting (preferably with a small treat or two) when the dog finally does come back to you. You may need to be a good actor/actress for this!

In other words: Your dog MUST be able to be sure of a warm and loving welcome AT ALL TIMES, no matter what he did prior to coming to you. He must learn from his earliest days, that to be by your side is the most pleasurable situation! He must know that you, without fail, are always glad to see him again. He must look forward to being with you again if, as and when he runs off - and he will!

Far too many owners make the fatal mistake of showing their quite natural anger when their dog has been disobedient or in some way let them down. They also feel the dog should be punished.

But it's impossible to explain to a dog that, whilst he did right here and NOW when he finally came when you called for the 100th time, he did wrong prior to this by delaying coming. There's just no way you can explain this subtlety to any dog. 

Punish him and be angry when he finally does come and next time he'll put off the evil moment of rejoining you, perhaps even learn to dread coming, next time as he knows this will only be unpleasant.
Never reproach a dog for being slow to return - he'll then only be even slower next time!

I have seen many a dog slinking along TRYING to come its angry owners, tail down and hating and scared of the situation and nervous of the scolding or maybe even blows that will ensue. I have seen hunters hit their dog when it was disobedient. 

So do not ever fall into the trap of showing your negative emotions. Never punish a dog for finally doing the very thing that you have after all, been trying to get him to do for the last 10 minutes or more!!!
The point to keep in mind is, that the moment when the dog has come to your feet, he has done the right thing! He's done what you wanted! His behavior is at that moment in time is 100% correct.
For this, he must be instantly rewarded. 

If you were very annoyed, perhaps even feeling murderous, (!!!) then HIDE YOUR FEELINGS AT ALL COSTS! You can instead, make him sit on command so that he "earns" the treat by being obedient yet again, and then you must immediately give him praise and a tit-bit. In other words: He must be real glad he came to you, no matter what he's done or how you feel about it. This is vitally important.


From the first moment you bring your new dog into your home, have some dry puppy food always at the ready in your pocket. (I say puppy food, as the pieces are very small - do NOT use something unhealthy like chocolate, which is poisonous for dogs! Rather use a brand of dog food that you reserve only for treats.)
Call his name in sweet (but commanding) tones and reward with praise and a single piece of the puppy food every time he comes. Do this often - but not so often he gets bored with it! This is the first important step. Takes just 5 minutes to learn!!!

The place where you will walk the dog:

The next step is to choose with care the area where you will take the daily walk.
There must not be busy roads too near or too many wild animals. Open areas are best for Sighthounds as they CAN crash into trees - they look back to see what you're doing or if other dogs are chasing behind and at high speed, suddenly - wham! It happened to Chico the other day, not a very nice sight.

Take the walk five or six times or more (if it's an older dog who's new to you, then MANY times over 2-3 weeks), whilst keeping the dog on the leash. (Once a day, not 5-6 times a day!) Let him examine the route the whole time. The idea is that he learn the route thoroughly before getting his freedom. By learning the area, he won't get lost or panic if suddenly he runs off the beaten track. It's best to always take the same route each time. 

Always walk at the same time every day:

Wild animals learn quickly and will scram out of it fast, prior to your coming each day - if they have a chance to get to know you! Fix something on to the dog's collars that rings or tinkles and the sound of this will act as a warning to all the wild creatures. A hare only has to be chased after once and it will make quite sure it doesn't happen again if it can recognize the same collar bells ringing! You can whistle, sing and speak unnaturally loudly to the dogs or stamp or clap occasionally - anything that will scare wild animals far away! Believe me, the wild animals soon learn to keep away from your dogs! 
I'm of course assuming that you, as I do, have the dogs as pets living in your house together with you. For those of you who have their dogs shut away somewhere the most of the time or permanently, this close bonding between owner and dog is impossible and you may never be able to trust your dog in the same way when, if ever, it runs free. It will no doubt ignore you and make full use of the freedom and refuse to be caught. I know I would do the same, if I was a dog who never went on regular walks! 
WARNING: If it's an older dog you've taken over from someone else, who is not used to having his freedom, take an extra long time getting him used to the area where you walk whilst keeping him on the leash, and be sure he has become devoted and faithful to you and comes enthusiastically every time he is called. I'd take several weeks to be on the safe side. I always train my dogs to come to a whistle as well. A soundless whistle carries further, especially for men whose voice is usually isn't as effective as a womans! A whistle can also be used by others, should they walk the dog for you one day - so he's not just used to just one or two particular human voices. And it's more discreet than plain standing hollering, should he disappear and other people are around!

Note: Never underestimate how different you may look to a dog when he sees you from a great distance - and maybe for the first time! Remember that moving objects are easier to spot than stationary, so don't just stand there calling, run to and fro! You can also wave a large white handkerchief. I always do. He will also tend to run to look for you where he last saw you - so don't wander too far away.


When out on the walk, it's important to occasionally call your dog to you and praise, love him and give a treat - and then just let him go again. This way, he'll never know the moment when you plan to "capture" him permanently and put him on the leash. Dogs CAN play up when they sense that the end of a walk is nigh - which is usually all too soon in their opinion! I have never had a sighthound who did this, but the possibility is there. 

You can also occasionally walk on for 5 minutes and then release him again. He should get a relaxed attitude to being restrained on the leash - and a relaxed attitude about running free. Dogs who rarely get the chance, cannot be blamed for playing up and trying to prolong the fun - much to the owners frustration. Such owners often swear: "never again!" 

But one should rather take the dog for a daily run, give him time to get used to the situation and enjoy it like it's no more special than his dinner each day. A dog who runs free every day, will always be attentive to his owners wishes - and happy and well balanced in himself. (And a good mover at shows!) He'll find running free no big deal and will always be willing to come to you again. You will get a lot of pleasure from seeing him run around. Sighthounds are simply beautiful in motion and you can see all their muscles flexing! 


Don't be deceived by a sighthound:
 If you get a puppy and start walking short distances every day - this is great and you'll have few problems. But I have heard sad stories of several "beginner" owners of older re-homed or rescued sighthounds who, despite warnings from the breeder, let their newly acquired dog run free straight away - without any of the precautions I mention above. 
Sighthounds are easily bored and therefore can appear very docile, quiet and sweet, often moving slowly most of the walk. This is deceptive. A new owner can believe that all is well and go off on a walk in the countryside with the dog off leash. But the docile sighthound can, faster than anyone would dream of, turn suddenly into a bullet shot out of a gun and race off at such a speed that it can in seconds be up to a mile away and perhaps out of earshot!

It will run straight back again just as fast, if dog and owner both love each other and are "bonded together" as they should be. (Even experienced owners can have their heart in their mouths occasionally - but that's all part of the fun of owning such a breed of dog - you get the "adrenaline rush" regularly!!!)
But what happens to the inexperienced, newly placed dog? He panics.

The unknown new situation scares him out of his mind. He's maybe never seen his new owners at such a distance, (perhaps they are dots on the horizon or even out of sight). They are suddenly complete strangers and he becomes afraid of everyone. He runs wildly around and is soon totally lost.
THIS is why you should spend a week or more familiarising him with the walking area BEFORE letting him run free.

If you have several dogs, start the first time by having them on the leash when the new one is set free to run loose. They will act like magnets to ensure he keeps nearby. The first time all dogs are let free, choose a rainy day or a day that is too hot - this puts a damper on all stupid flying around antics, drunk with freedom - they will just want to get home again!!! 
If your dog has run off and you have waited a hour calling an whistling, then what do you do? Well, never stop looking and calling and if possible get hold of someone he knows, who can help. Get the police, local dog rescue involved. Put up notices in schools, on trees, notice boards in shopping malls etc. He's out there somewhere dying for you to rescue him. But all this worry need not happen if you take the precautions explained above.


Haggis - Freezing cold day in Macedon

I must thank my lucky stars that I have a thick wiry coat that keeps me warm pretty much all the time. I can stay out all night in the cold and not be phased at all. In the same way, I have chewed many a dirty old bone in the pouring rain and have wondered why everyone is inside.. Rain never hurt anyone!

Not like poor Mr Chico, he looks small and skinny, and he feels the cold all the time. Today he got wrapped up in his new coat and we drove over to visit my boyfriend Radar. It had been raining all morning and it was wet underfoot.

 As we ran around the paddock chasing Radar, I suddenly caught sight of this huge Hare that has been hanging around, I made chase and ran straight after it. I could hear mumbles of my name in the background, but I dismissed it and galloped the long way around the fence to get at that gigantic thing of a Hare. Radar followed me. Strangely enough Chico didn't follow, he probably didn't want to get his new jacket dirty.

I dashed back to mum and dad pretty quickly and got hooked up onto the lead - not fair. I came back didn't I? Radar took ages to come back, he is such a slow coach, his legs are just too short!

We stopped to say hello to the Nanny goat that lives in the paddock, she loves to watch us dogs run around like crazy buggers, it must be so boring for her to be chained up all the time.. again we are so lucky!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chico - I got my new coat!

We got another pressie in the post today, mum was so excited! My new custom made to measure coat from arrived! So she grabbed my snout and pulled me through the neck hole and it felt like I was wrapped inside a sleeping bag, I tried to pull it off with my teeth. Hmm didn't work. It feels so close to my skin and rubs my hair the wrong way.. But the material is very soft and warm.

Mum kept telling me how handsome I looked. I think it will be perfect for a really cold day, but it was pretty warm as you can see. Haggis kept slobbering all over my new coat, she must have been jealous of my new handsomeness.. :) We ran around the garden a bit, Haggis tried to get me to chase her, but I felt like I couldn't run properly, not yet anyway.

Can't wait to have it around when I am absolutely freezing and shaking all over, I know it will be awesome then! Definitely an outfit I need to get used to.. but don't I look fantastic?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chico - How good do I look?

It was a stormy day in the Macedon Ranges, so I only went out for a quick training session in the morning. Such weird thing to do being made to walk on a chain (that hurts when I want to go a different direction from mum) and then made to sit so many times! What is the point? Still can't work it out. 

Anyway these stunning portraits of myself and Haggis appeared on the wall today, they were a present from our Auntie and Uncle for Christmas past. The artist that created these magnificent prints is Heather Galler- check her out on
How good do I look? She's got my ears right, when they sometimes both point to the left and my wild worried eyes like when I'm starving? And Haggis - apparently it's supposed to be Lab Retriever, but it looks so like Haggis, so docile and dumb, with sleepy eyes... yeah that's her!