Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking Wolfhounds

First, I have to say, Riagan has the honor of having been the easiest dog I have ever trained to heel. It never felt like work.

The breeder at Laloba Hounds sent a very large, self-compiled notebook with Riagan when she came to our home. In that notebook she had a section on how she and her husband preferred to walk their wolfhounds in the early processes of training. Their method distributed pressure throughout the chest rather than solely on the neck.

So, when we walked Riagan, we used a horse lead draped over her right shoulder and collected up on the other side. It was a sort of chest halter--when she'd move forward out of the heel position, I'd pull her whole body back by my side.

Today was the first day I switched to the choke collar. Half of her walk was with the chest halter--the other half solely with the collar alone. The collar, therefore, was not the main method--it was only a reminder to come back.

It only took Riagan a couple of reminders, after that, she could be called back verbally with a very gentle, "Riagan, heel," and no pressure to the neck or chest. She walked with a slack lead the whole way--even past barking dogs and loud trucks.

All and all, she has had very little walking training of any sort since we're cautioned not to over-walk young hounds. But as she enters her sixth month and we are, more and more, in public on a leash--and she is, more and more, leviathan, there is a particular need to walk nicely and not yank mama's arm off. (No yanking here).

Which leads me to my overall conclusion (and Wolfhound owners will not be surprised by this)--

Wolfhounds are SMART.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wolfhounds Love Kitties

Don't wake the sleeping Giant! She's only six months, but watch out when she's full grown. Note to coyotes: avoid our property!

We have a Wolfhound who loves her Kitty Sisters. Here she is running with her puppy sister, Maggie, to the barn to see the rest of her family.

Kitty: What big paws you have...

Wolfhound: All the better to pet you with.

Kitty: What a big nose you have...

Wolfhound: All the better to tickle you with.

Kitty: What a long tail you have....

Wolfhound: All the better for you to chase and play with...

Kitty: My, what big jaws you have.

Wolfhound: All the better to kiss you with.

Note to Coyotes: Wolfhounds love kitties.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Irish Wolfhound in The Washington State Governor's Mansion: Archival Photos

(Old article on Irish Wolfhounds--Governor Daniel J. Evans of Washington and his dog Peggy. Click on picture to read larger image. Peggy with Gov. Evans and family below)

Riagan is almost six months now and looking more and more like a pony. Her appetite has also increased.

More and more, she ventures out towards the horses (probably in search of horse manure--her new favorite thing), but she is very cautious. They tend to ignore her. I researched this whole thing about dogs preferring to eat manure--and, apparently, it's perfectly normal. Just try to keep them away from it--you can't. Riagan seems to like it more than our Lab, Maggie. I have no idea why.

We are still having the issue with her jumping on people when they arrive. I don't think it's abnormal for dogs to do this when they're super excited about guests, but she's too big to allow it to happen. We've taken to keeping her on her leash when guests arrive, letting her say hello politey, then taking her off to our bedroom until she settles down a bit.

They say most IWs don't bark, but Riagan does. I think she's learned it from Maggie. If she sees something going on up the road or neighboring property, she begins to bark--very deep--not very loud--as she remains in the "sit" position. She doesn't always do it, but occasionly does.

Her teeth came in great with the upper canines and lower canines clearing the gum line nicely and allowing the jaw to sit nicely when closed. She didn't have any crowding. A good bite with a dog like an Irish Wolfhound--who have a very long, narrow jaw, is an awesome genetic trait, and one which I'm very thankful she has.

The conformation of her legs is also quite nice--they don't bow in our out when looking at her from the back. This gives her beautiful forward movement.

Almost to month 6 and time for the Rabies shot!