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NEWSLETTER 2014: Vol.2

Training an Italian Greyhound

You may recall reading my first story on adopting Ralphie, the Italian Greyhound, in the last edition of the 24PetWatch Newsletter. If you never had the chance to read it, click here to get caught up! For those of you who read about how I came to own my newest furry friend, I’m here to update you on the progress I’ve made training Ralphie in Flyball. When I adopted Ralphie from the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA in December of 2012, I knew that I was in for a lot of work. Ralphie is from the Sighthound family of dogs, not a breed best known for their work ethic.

As an active member of the dog sport community, I began training Ralphie in the dog sport of Flyball. His first few weeks went off without a hitch. He understood the basic techniques of the sport fairly quickly, his box turns (jumping on and off of a Flyball box) and recalls (jumping over a series of 4 jumps) were great! The next step was then adding “the ball”, a very important part of Flyball.

Seeing as Ralphie loved to play fetch with the ball, I assumed he would take to this next step very easily - boy was I wrong! He decided that not only did he not like the ball, he did not like doing his box turns anymore either. I have always advocated that if your dog starts to experience difficulty with an element of the chosen sport, revert back to the basics. Following my own advice, Ralphie and I went back a step, then another, and then another until we were back at the beginning. Together we focused on the fundamentals while I reinforced the basic techniques of the sport. Step by step, we began to re-learn the sport, improving our technique as we went along.

Whatever you do, never give up on your dog! Ralphie reminded me of that important lesson. It’s been a long ride, but well worth it. Ralphie can now successfully take the ball off the Flyball box while completing his box turn simultaneously. Ralphie has proven that if you do not give up on your dog, they will not give up on you.

Look forward to more updates on Ralphie’s training in the next edition of the 24PetWatch Newsletter.

In the meantime, you can follow his progress here:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Angela Decker, Director – Microchips and Pet Specialty Products, joined the 24PetWatch team over two years ago, and together with her trio of mixed breeds, Fidget, Hippie, and Fame, she is the 2010 and 2011 Multi Breed "CANAM" Champion and the 2011 Regular "CANAM" Champion in the sport of flyball. Angela and her dogs have achieved over 50 titles in Flyball, Obedience, Disc Dogs, Dock Dogs and Agility. Most recently, Angela adopted an Italian Greyhound named Ralphie Wiggum.