Next Sunday, 23rd June, will see thousands of greyhounds & their owners walking together all over the UK as part of the Great British Greyhound Walk – a fun annual event to bring greyhound lovers together & raise awareness of what wonderful pets these dogs make.
My doggy family & I helped organise & attended the first Edinburgh GBGW in 2011. I made some brightly coloured doggy bandanas for all the hounds on our walk to wear, photos of which caught the organisers’ (Greyhound Walks) eye & led to me being asked to make bandanas for ALL the dogs taking part across the UK in 2012, & again this year – a lot more than the original 20 I made back in 2011!
the pic that started it all: Max wearing his GBGW 2011 bandana
Earlier this year, bandana production began here at Max and Molly Designs, & this year I have handmade a total of four hundred and sixty three GBGW 2013 bandanas - that’s a whole lot of screen printing been going on!!
GBGW 2013 bandanas come in red & blue
This year the organisers of the GBGW are holding a ‘Bling My Bandana’ competition, in which hound owners are encouraged to get their creative juices flowing & customise their GBGW 2013 bandanas. So far I’ve seen all sorts of fancy neck wear that will be adorning greyhounds’ necks on the walk this year!
our own effort at blinging a bandana, modeled by the gorgeous Sandy
The lucky winner of the Bling My Bandana competition will receive a fabulous hamper filled with goodies for their hound, including a personalised hand printed bandana featuring their dog’s name along with any Max and Molly Designs image of their choice, which we are donating to the prize.
The dogs & I will be doing our own little local walk as part of this year’s Great British Greyhound Walk. I may not be able to walk far myself (having yesterday undergone surgery on my knee!) but we will set off from Cockenzie harbour (just across the road from our house) at 10am & see how far along the coast we get… Any sighthound pals of Molly, Sandy, Dennis & Gizzy are of course very welcome to join us =)
walking along the coast from Cockenzie harbour
Our walk will be dedicated to the memory of my beloved greyhound Max, who was the perfect ambassador for greyhounds as pets at the GBGW 2011 (& in everything he did) & sadly is no longer walks with us here on earth. xx
Ex racing/working sighthounds can lead pretty dull, restricted lives stuck at the end of a lead on two 20 minute walks a day &, whilst many are perfectly happy with this, I personally don’t feel it’s enough for my dogs – they are relatively young & fit & have bodies that need exercised & minds that need stimulated. My dogs’ sheer speed & propensity to chase coupled with their varying degree of comfort around other dogs may mean for some of them it’s not appropriate to meet these needs simply by running offlead with their pals at the beach or playing fetch in the park, but thinking ‘outside the box’ means that they don’t need to lose out…
I take my greyhound Molly to weekly agility classes. Over the past year Molly has learned to negotiate jumps (the easy part) & contacts (the not so easy part!) with ease & now flies round the course, her face beaming back at me & her tail wagging the whole time. Though the high value treats on offer at the end of the course are doubtless an added incentive for her, it’s clear to me that the activity in itself is a reward to her.
Last week we took part in our first agility ‘show’, & though we may not have won any trophies, Molly had an absolute ball zooming around the course, which meant that I did as well, naturally. Will we ever be agility champions? I seriously doubt it, but that’s not why we do it – the hour a week we spend doing agility is our time apart from my other dogs & distractions, a time for us to bond & enjoy something together.
I have recently started doing agility with my podenco Gizzy too, & he seems to enjoy it just as much as Molly. Who cares if sighthounds don’t traditionally take part in agility – it doesn’t mean they can’t have just as much fun doing it as any collie or spaniel!
As longtime readers of this blog will know, I’ve always enjoyed running with my dogs. This time last year I came across the Cani-Sports Edinburgh group, who introduced me to a novel way of running with your dog - canicross. In canicross dogs & humans run together & the dogs are actively encouraged to pull, wearing a special harness system (similar to that of sled pulling dogs) to enable them to do so. My greyhound Sandy & I took to this instantly, & before long I was running with my other greyhound Dennis & podenco Gizzy too!
canicross with Dennis, Sandy & Gizzy at Duncarron Valley November 2012
Unfortunately, on account of tearing a ligament in my knee, I’ve have recently been unable to run with my dogs in the way we all enjoy so much. However, my friends at Cani-Sports Edinburgh have very kindly made sure my dogs don’t suffer whilst I recover by running them regularly for me. (Now I’m just worried I won’t be able to keep up with them when I finally get back to running again!!) I have also been experimenting with bikejor, another cani-sport, in which the dogs are attached to a special arm on the front of a bike rather than directly to a human. Because my dogs already know basic mushing commands & are used to running out front in this way, transitioning to running them with a bike has been very easy & I’m delighted to say they all seem love it!
bikejor with Sandy & Dennis
Cycling with Dennis & Sandy attached & Gizzy free running
bikejoring with Sandy, Dennis & Gizzy
For dogs like Sandy & Dennis for whom off lead exercise is unfortunately not appropriate under normal circumstances, canisports are a fantastic way to use up their energy & get all those feel good endorphins pumping through their systems. As well as providing them with all the benefits that come from physical exercise, it also gives them something to focus on mentally, because in order to run safely they have had to learn to understand basic mushing commands indicating which in direction & at what speed to run & when to ignore distractions (e.g. chase-able things!). So just because sighthounds aren’t traditional sled pulling dogs doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy & benefit from taking part in cani-sports just as much as any husky or malamute!
myself running with Dennis, Sandy & Gizzy, & my friend Alana running with her greyhound Ronson
MY DOG RUNS FOR FUN! a print I made based on the above photograph
Sighthounds: Thinking Outside the Box
Both agility & cani-sports are activities that my dogs can safely participate in to meet both their mental & physical needs & which it turns out they not only enjoy doing but positively thrive on! The enjoyment my dogs get out of these activities whilst they are doing them is self evident – you need only see the sheer joy in their faces – but there are also knock on effects on their behaviour & well being in general – they are calmer, more focused &, well, simply happier dogs! What’s more, I think doing these activities together really gives my dogs & I a very special bond & a closeness which we may never otherwise have experienced. I encourage you to try thinking ‘outside the box’ about what might be fun & fulfilling for your dog, & not to necessarily be limited by preconceptions & stereotypes about what sighthounds are capable of/suited to. Have fun!
Can’t quite believe it’s been a whole year since we adopted our little Spanish podenco Gizzy! & what a year it’s been…
Lowlights include a broken leg & being on crate rest for months on end, but highlights include fully recovering from said injury, receiving the all clear on re-testing for leishmaniasis (Gizzy was positive for this Mediterranean disease when he arrived a year ago), becoming a little ‘turbo dog’ at canicross, excelling at doggy agility after only a few lessons, charming almost every person he’s met with his crazy podenco ways (& hopefully spreading the word about these great little Spanish dogs & their plight & inspiring more people to adopt them), making friends with almost every dog he’s met including the various fosters who have passed through his home here.
Yes it’s been a whirlwind of a year with our little ginger ninja dog, & we look forward to many more to come!
Gizzy’s first year with us in pics…
Happy one year anniversary Gizzy – love you to bits wee man!
Sighthounds love sighthounds – they seem to recognise each other for the uniquely superior form of dogs that they are(!) – & I never tire of seeing how much my four love one another, or of taking pictures of them snuggling up together! Here are a few of my recent favourites…
Sandy & Gizzy
Molly & Sandy
Sandy & Dennis
Gizzy & Molly
Gizzy & Sandy
Molly & Dennis
Gizzy & Dennis
& lastly, my favourite snuggling pic of all:
Gizzy & Sandy
I loved this one of my boys snuggling so much I thought I’d spread a little of the sighthound love & created this greeting card featuring the image:
My rescue greyhounds Sandy & Dennis have been ‘retired’ from the racing industry for over a year now, but every day we face the behavioural consequences of the lack of socialisation & deliberate nurturing of chase instinct/prey drive which they, like all racing greyhounds, will have experienced during their early lives. I love my boys to bits but it takes time & patience & a lot of work to counter the resultant fear, nervousness and aggression as they struggle to adapt to life outside racing kennels
Sandy has a ‘high prey drive’. This means that as well as automatically wanting to chase (& destroy) anything rabbit-like that we come across, he can sometimes be a little indiscriminate & want to do the same with other animals such as livestock, the neighbourhood cats, & even small, fast moving &/or fluffy dogs.
Sandy: watch out small furries!
Dennis is a bit of a troubled soul – he is a nervous & impulsive dog. This manifests itself in lots of ways such as fear of being handled, mistrust of new people & fear of novel objects/things including other dogs that are not greyhound-shaped.
Dennis: still learning how to be a pet
Behaviour Adjustment Training
Local canine behaviourist Lisa Hird, who we met at the end of last year, introduced me to a training philosophy called Behaviour Adjustment Training (BAT), which I am now using to help Sandy & Dennis (& any other dogs in my care) learn to live in a world where exposure to their fears/prey objects is pretty much mandatory.
BAT teaches owners to listen to what our dogs are telling us through their body language, & respond by meeting their needs through adjusting their environment. It teaches dogs to communicate calmly & appropriately, without resorting to aggressive/’unacceptable’ behaviours (such as lunging, snapping, barking etc.) &, importantly to me, it is kind & force free. For more information about how BAT works I recommend you go to Grisha’s website & I highly recommend her book, Behavior Adjustment Training: BAT for Aggression, Frustration and Fear in Dogs.
I see the potential for BAT to play a big role in dealing with the behavioural challenges inherent in sighthound rescue. After only one month of practicing BAT I feel like I know my dogs so much better than I did before & am already noticing significant improvements in Sandy & Dennis s’ behaviour. However, in the meantime I am still walking 2 dogs who it would really be better all round if other dogs didn’t come running up to their faces to greet…
The Yellow Dog Project
By using leads, head collars/haltis & muzzles I am doing my utmost to be a responsible dog owner & ensure that nothing should come to harm whilst I am in the process of working through my boys’ issues. (I am very hopefully that with BAT over time we will be able to safely dispense with the head collars & muzzles.) However sadly not all fellow dog owners respect that & feel it is acceptable for their own out of control off lead dog to rush up to us because ‘It’s OK, they’re friendly!’ (How many times have I heard that one?!) I know this sets back my dogs’ behaviour a whole lot, & I can’t imagine it does much for the other dog’s general well being either.
Dennis out for a walk
I was really encouraged to learn of the Yellow Dog Project, promoting the idea that some dogs need space (for whatever reason). The campaign started in Sweden but has now spread to many other countries, including UK, & is very simple: By tying a yellow ribbon (or some other yellow indicator) to a dog’s lead, an owner can show other dog owners that their dog needs some space.
Now yellow ribbons probably aren’t going to get through to the idiot dog owners who see me approaching with a dog who is clearly leaded, muzzled & wearing a head collar & let their little fluffy run up regardless, nor are they an excuse for people with dogs who may harm other dogs to strut around with them uncontrolled/unmuzzled, but it’s a start – a common code, which with time will hopefully increase awareness & maybe even change common practice. So Sandy & Dennis wear their yellow ribbons on their leads whenever we go out for walks.
If you have a dog who needs space why not join the campaign? You can obtain free yellow ribbons from the Yellow Dog UK website (with a small charge to cover postage & packaging NB message them if you’d like more than one & they will happily send at no additional cost). We’ve also created some special yellow dog bandanas & treat pouches to tie in with the Yellow Dog Project.
The bandanas can be seen from further away than a ribbon (& have fun designs on them too!) & the treats pouch can handily be clipped to the top of a lead, making it both easily accessible to you for treating your dog (for good behaviour of course!) & easily visible to other dog owners. Bandanas & treats pouches can be purchased via our Etsy shop. (If you would prefer one of our other designs printed on a bandana, or even have an idea of your own for what you’d like to see, just get in touch!)
It’s been 4 years since we adopted our beautiful greyhound girl Molly! Molly is the perfect greyhound – a fantastic role model for her more wayward ‘brothers’ & a brilliant ambassadog for greyhound rescue, & a welcoming friend to any hounds who enter our home.
I’ve put together a wee video montage of her ‘best bits’ from the past year, set to the music of her very own ‘theme tune’: Molly, I Love Your Way!
Happy 4th Molly-versary, I hope we have many more happy years together my cheeky wee princess. xxx
It has been a year since we said goodbye. Not a single day has passed when I haven’t thought of you & I have wished so many times that I could hold you & bury my face in your sweet, earthy-smelling fur just one more time.
The house is fuller than it has ever been with dogs, yet somehow still feels empty without you here. In the wake of your departure we adopted not one but three more dogs! It took that many to realise we could never replace you – no matter how many dogs I let into my heart, no-one would ever fill the hole that you have left there – it was silly of us to ever think we could.
I wonder what you would make of the new siblings we adopted for your Molly? They have provided comfort & company for her, & for us too, but I know she still misses you, we all do. You were her ‘big brother’, the one who showed her what to do, she learned by your example. She’s ‘in charge’ now, keeping the unruly three in line when they get out of it! They are not always easy dogs, & often hard work, but you have inspired us to persevere in the face of adversity, knowing that the joys that come with sighthound rescue far outweigh the problems. You taught us so much, & now we are building on that knowledge & experience to provide a safe & loving home to dogs who would otherwise not have one.
A whole calendar of events have passed without you being there to share them – Christmas time, our camping holiday, your Gotcha day, our 1st wedding anniversary, the Great British Greyhound Walk, my birthday, can collections, fundraising events & greyhound gatherings – you have been dearly missed at them all, & always will be. Your new brothers are learning the ropes of modelling my silly doggy creations, but will never attain the high standards you did with your cheeky willingness to strike any pose in return for a treat & a cuddle!
I talk about you often, recounting how you made us laugh with your antics & how we learned so much from you about greyhounds & dogs in general. I comfort others who have lost their much loved pets, & reassure them that in time the happy memories will prevail over the sadness. & whenever it all gets a bit too much & I question why I’m doing this – why I put myself through the emotional rollercoaster that is involvement in greyhound rescue & rehoming, why I persist in educating the ignorant & contribute as best I can to the exposure & ultimately demise of the racing industry – I only need think of you & it all becomes clear.
Each print that I make of your image, each card that I write with your photograph on, each dog that I help to rehome, I smile & think of you & the times we shared. & whenever I see a rainbow in the sky I shed a tear because I know that somewhere, somehow, we are still connected & that everything is going to be OK.
Love you forever Max.
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
It’s been 6 months now since we adopted our little Spanish podenco Gizzy. Sadly for 4 of these months the wee guy has had to be rested after he fell & broke one of his front legs in 2 places back in April this year, but I’m happy to say he has made a full recovery & is now very much back on his feet again, & starting to enjoy a bit of freedom off lead too.
Gizzy on crate rest with his broken leg
We always knew when we adopted a podenco that we were accepting a real challenge when it came to recall training, even compared to the greyhounds we know & love. Podencos are very primitive dogs & have been selected over thousands of years to be the best any dog can be at one specific function: hunting. We don’t think Gizzy had ever been used for hunting in Spain (thankfully) given that he was picked up as a stray at such an early age (2 months), however his hunting instinct is still alive & kicking! Unlike greyhounds (& other sighthounds) who hunt primarily by sight, these little hunting specialists are multi sensory hounds, using a combination of their superior sight, hearing & scenting abilities to track down prey. Hence the challenge when it comes to recall…
Gizzy in hunting mode (there was a hare in the field)
There will always be places where it is inappropriate to let Gizzy off lead, for his own safety, but with time, patience, a long line, a harness a falconry bell & really high value treats, we have managed to train sufficient recall that he is now able to enjoy the freedom of being off lead on a regular basis on some of our walks. His recall is a work in progress, & always will be I think, but we have come a long way in 6 months, especially considering for 4 of those he was more or less housebound, & I’m really proud of my boy.
So I thought I would share some of the training methods that have worked for us, in the hope that they might help others who have adopted one of these amazing little dogs, or any dog really that you are struggling with recall issues with. (NB I do not recommend holding onto the end of a long line if you are using it to train larger/heavier, faster sighthounds e.g. greyhounds – the speeds at which these dogs can accelerate from a standing start are so great you are extremely likely to cause injury to both your dog & yourself, though leaving it trailing may still be an option depending on circumstances.) Though I have a large interest in dog & animal behaviour in general & read widely on the subject, applying what I learn to my own dogs, I do not profess to be any kind of expert, & these tips are purely based on what has worked for Gizzy & I. Nevertheless, I hope you find them useful…
How to train a podenco (or primitive hunting dog) to recall
What you will need:
Time. Short, frequent training sessions are best, training for longer will overstretch your dog’s attention span & they will stop co-operating, always try & stop while the going’s good rather than waiting for your dog to show you they are tired.
Patience. If you find yourself getting frustrated stop training & wait until you are in a more positive frame of mind, dogs pick up on frustration & it will have a detrimental effect on their training. Never punish your dog for failure to comply, only reward for showing the behaviour you are looking for. There is no end point to recall training, it is something you will have to work at for the rest of your dog’s life.
A long line. Our one is a 10 metre length of nylon webbing, if it doesn’t have a handle loop at the end then tie a knot so you have something to hold into, in fact it can be useful to tie a series of knots at various lengths along the line so you easily catch it without it slipping through your hands (& burning them – ouch!)
A harness. This is to attach the long line to. You do not want to risk injuring your dog’s neck by attaching it to their collar, make sure the harness fits securely & that your dog cannot escape from it (check & check again – I have been amazed at how dogs can manage to slip harnesses which to me looked perfectly secure, & podencos can be little houdinis!)
A falconry bell. Attach this to the harness too. This has 2 functions: 1. It allows you to hear where your dog is if they ever disappear out of sight e.g. into the undergrowth 2. It warns any wild animals e.g. birds, rabbits, deer etc of your dog’s presence & hopefully wards them away.
Really high value treats. What is high value for one dog may not be for another. I tend to use cubes of cheese with Gizzy, though sometimes pieces of cooked chicken, smoked sausage, liver cake etc for a bit of variety. Find what your dog loves & use that, but think bigger than just dry dog biscuits, you need to something that is going to compete with your dog’s urge to hunt so you may need to bring out the big guns here! As a vegan I don’t enjoy buying & handling meats & cheeses, but I’m afraid rabbit food just ain’t gonna work here
harness: check, long line: check, falconry bell: check
What to do:
1. Choose your recall command. It doesn’t matter what it is – most people use either ‘come’ or ‘here’ but you can say ‘bananas’ if you like, it just has to be a word/sound (you can use a whistle if you like) that you reserve solely for the purpose of calling your dog to you.
2. Start in the house/garden, if you have other dogs/pets shut them out of the way for now, arm yourself with copious quantities of high value treats, pop the harness on your dog & attach the long line, keep hold of the end of the line & let them go do their own thing, then call them using your recall command. It helps to use a high pitched, squeaky voice & to gesture with your hands, either patting your thighs or holding your arms open in front of you (as if you were going to give someone a big hug – hopefully your dog when they come to you!). You can also step backwards or even run away from them a little to try & entice them to chase you. If they come towards you straight away that’s brilliant, praise them profusely to let them know they’re getting it right & as soon as they arrive at you give them a/some treats before sending them off again back to whatever they were doing. The reward you are giving them is not just the praise & treats, it’s being allowed to continue doing whatever it was they were up to before they came to you, that’s important. You won’t always be able to send them back to what they were doing (e.g. when it’s inappropriate or dangerous) but the majority of the time you should be aiming to do this. If your dog is particularly toy orientated (Gizzy is not) then you can also reward with a game of tug, a throw of a toy or whatever they enjoy. If they don’t come straight away, use the long line to reel them in towards you, praising them as you do so. Try not to repeat the command too many times – you want them to learn that this is something you only have to say once & then they do it.
2. Once your dog is consistently coming without you having to reel them in inside/in your garden, repeat all of the above but introduce some distractions e.g. other family members or dogs being present, some toys they are able to go play with in the garden, some treats lying around (make sure they are not as high value as the training treats you are using e.g. maybe just dry dog biscuits or something like that). You can put the falconry bell on your dog at this point to get them used to the sound of it if you like – be warned though the noise will get extremely irritating if they wear it all the time so maybe just put it on whenever you’re practicing recall! Try & practice most days, vary the times/situations when you call them & always ensure you follow through with your request by reeling them in on the long line if they don’t come on their own. Always reward them with praise & treats (& letting them go back to what they were doing if appropriate).
3. Once they are coming of their own accord every time you call them inside/in the garden despite distractions you are ready to progress to outdoor training. Start somewhere with as few distractions as possible e.g. no other dogs, no wild animals, maybe concrete or short grass rather than lots of trees/bushes to sniff etc. It does not need to be enclosed, because you are not yet going to drop the long line. Practice all of the above. If your dog is repeatedly too distracted to come to you of their own accord (i.e. you have to reel them in on the line to enforce the recall) then stop & take a break/try a different environment, go back a step to somewhere with less distractions.
4. Once your dog is coming back even when there are distractions outdoors you are ready to try dropping the long line. Make sure you do this in a securely enclosed area (NB some podencos can jump 6 feet high & they are very adept at digging under & slipping through small spaces so do take this into consideration when choosing your place!) & make sure you attach the falconry bell to your dog’s harness now, just in case they do manage to escape somehow. Practice as above but without holding onto the end of the long line, leaving it trailing behind your dog. Try not to let the distance between you & your dog get such that you aren’t able to step on/pick up the long line to enforce their recall at any point should they ignore you when you call them. This being the first burst of ‘freedom’ your dog has had in a long while you may regress a few steps backwards before you make progress again with your recalls. Remember not to call your dog to you if you don’t think they are going to come – either give up & try again another time or just let them enjoy the freedom in the enclosed area until they tire themselves out. Gradually introduce more & more distractions within the enclosed area during your training, such as other dogs & people.
5. Once your dog comes back every time you call them within the enclosed area even with distractions without you having to step on/catch their long line, you can progress to trying dropping the long line in non-enclosed areas. Pick somewhere relatively enclosed to start though, without too many places your dog could escape off too if they reach the end of their line & you don’t catch it in time, & certainly away from any roads/traffic. Practice often. Never just call your dog to you whenever you are going to put them back on lead or end the fun they are having. 99% of the time you recall them you should be letting them go back to enjoying whatever it was they were doing before you called them. Your treats & praise can’t realistically compete with the pleasures they experience from exploring their environment, so you have to make access to these pleasures part of the reward for coming back to you.
the unmistakable jingle of that falconry bell!
This is the stage we have reached with Gizzy now – he can be off lead in some (but not all) environments with his trailing long line (& falconry bell) attached. Most of the time he comes when called but when he doesn’t I step on the line & use it to reel him in to enforce the recall. He will never be perfect – my praise, cuddles & treats are never going to trump the thrill of following a really enticing scent or chasing a rabbit, but with awareness of where these types of distractions are likely to crop up or not I now feel confident to let my wee one have freedom a lot of the time. & the long line is my life line for when he slips up – even if I can’t get to it in time to stand on it/grab it, it inevitably catches or tangles on something along the way, allowing me to go & retrieve my wee munchkin & whisk him to safety. The falconry bell is a further safety net, for if he gets far enough into the undergrowth that I can’t see him & the line still hasn’t caught on anything (or maybe it has but I can’t see it), allowing me to locate my dog even then. It’s not a full proof system I’m sure, but it’s the best one I have come up with & one that I am happy to use.
If your dog is not interested in the treats you have, try switching them for something else. It also helps to conduct your training sessions before you feed your dog a meal, or to delay their meal until after you have trained, thus making sure they are hungry! If your dog is not coming back to you & is too far away from you for you to retrieve them via their longline, don’t repeatedly call them (once you are sure they have heard you), try running away from them to entice them to chase you, crouching down, hiding behind something, digging in the ground (seriously – I have a podenco-owning friend who does this, & it works!). If you have followed all the preceding steps then this shouldn’t happen often, & when it does all you have to do is wait it out until your dog eventually returns to you, safe in the knowledge that they are not going to come to harm (or cause others harm) in the environment you have chosen to allow them off lead in. & remember to reward them when they do eventually come back, even if it is the last thing you feel like doing! Most important of all, remember that off lead exercise is not the be all & end all for dogs. It is nice to be able to let your dog have some of that freedom, but it is more important to ensure they are safe.
Gizzy enjoying freedom with his trailing long line
Good luck! If you have any experience or tips regarding recall training for podencos/primitive hunting breeds that you would like to share please post in the comments below – I’d be really interested to hear & learn from others’ experiences.
For a couple of months now, Sandy & I have been attending a canicross group that meets at Dalkeith Country Park just outside Edinburgh each Monday night, & lately Dennis has been joining us too! Each week a group of us meet with our dogs of all shapes & sizes (including pointers, malamutes, huskies, german shepherds, boxers, spaniels, terriers & greyhounds – sorry if I missed anyone’s dog out!) & run round the park together – it’s great fun for everyone
In between times Sandy, Dennis & I go running together about 2-3 times a week, mostly along the sea front where there’s lots of cool air for the dogs (& nice views for me!). The boys make a great team (even if Sandy is the main pulling force!) & run together beautifully, plus they are clearly loving every minute of it! For Sandy, who does not get off lead in public places, & Dennis, who can only be off lead in certain circumstances, it’s a fantastic way to use up their energy & get all those feel good endorphins pumping through their systems. Plus, it has given me the confidence to start running again, which is benefiting my health & well being too
Note that I’m running in one of my own hand printed vests! It features an image of Molly running on the front & the text ‘born to run’ on the back & is available in various sizes & colour combinations to purchase from my Etsy shop.
In canicross dogs & humans run together & the dogs are actively encouraged to pull, wearing a special harness system (similar to that of sled pulling dogs) to enable them to do so. At present Sandy & Dennis are running in standard walking harnesses, which are not really ideal but do the job seeing as we are just beginners & not reaching great speeds/covering great distances yet…
SnowPaw store are running an Olympic Photo Competition, the winner of which will get their choice of either a Bikejor Kit or a Canicross Kit (up to the value of £90) from their website. In honour of the Olympic games currently underway in London, entrants had to submit a photo of their dog showing off their olympic skills! We REALLY want to win so that Sandy & Dennis can run with proper equipment. In fact we want to win sooo bad the boys’ Dad has even entered too!
Please help us win by voting for one or both of our entries:
My entry - ‘Relay’, an action shot of Sandy running with his greyhound pals Ronson & Carlos at Dalkeith Country Park (I hope you’re impressed that I managed to take this whilst running attached to a sighthound AND not fall flat on my face in the mud!!)
Martin’s entry - ‘Freestyle Diving’, Dennis in for a dip at Port Seton (He does love a wee swim in the morning our Dennis!)
You can vote for either or both pics. Unfortunately I think you have to have a Facebook account to vote BUT you can vote once every 24 hours from now until the competition ends (August 12th)!
Max was adopted from RGT Borders in 2008 & sadly we lost him to cancer in 2011. He was my first greyhound & will always hold a special place in my heart. We adopted Molly from Gracehounds in 2008. She & Max were perfect companions, but these days she enjoys joining in the fun with our newer family members (& keeping them in line).
Sandy & Dennis are littermates who we fostered for Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary shortly after losing Max in 2011. With Molly's approval, it wasn't long before we adopted this pair. Virtually inseparable, these two are our very own 'chuckle brothers'.
Gizzy is a podenco andaluz who was rescued in Spain by SOS Animals UK & brought over to the UK by Scottish Greyhound Sanctuary in 2012. We fostered this wee rascal for less than a week before realising we couldn't part with him. Our little ginger nut is more work than all the greyhounds put together.