Aliza whelped seven beautiful little pups – 2 boys and 5 girls- on 29 July 2020. They all found wonderful homes, the last pups leaving in early December 2020. Zoiboyz Nicky stayed here at the Zoiboyz. Meredith Mapes of Alaska took Zoiboyz Neal White Collar Criminal FunOnTheRun to be her first ever borzoi. Two pups went to New Mexico. Denise Ross claimed Zoiboyz Neeva and Alex Rougeux owns Nevada Fire. Sherita Tabner brought Zoiboyz Nimbus Rosehill to Texas. Linda Pocurull, who helped Aliza and me during whelping, owns Zoiboyz Ndora. Zoiboyz Nirvana’s new mom is Imogene Durand of Washington state. As we collect photos of the pups we’ll post here. First up is Nicky.
Each month I submit information pertaining to upcoming performance events that may be of interest to RMBC members. The information contains a lot of acronyms. What do they all mean? This will attempt to answer that for you.
First the format of the performance report:
Bold lettering is the type of performance event. Then in parenthesis the (website for further information)
The month is in italics.
Regular font is: Day(s) – Club, Location of the event
- ASFA Lure Coursing (www.asfa.org)
- 7 & 8 – CLCA, Falcon, CO
Now the acronyms:
Organizations & Titles:
AKC – American Kennel Club (Lure Coursing)
JC – Junior Courser
SC – Senior Courser
MC – Master Courser
LCX – Lure Courser Excellent
ASFA – American Sighthound Field Association (Lure Coursing)
FCH – Field Champion
LCM – Lure Courser of Merit
LGRA – Large Gazehound Racing Association (Straight Racing)
GRC – Gazehound Racing Champion
SGRC – Superior Gazehound Racing Champion
NOTRA – National Oval Track Racing Association (Oval Racing)
ORC – Oval Racing Champion
SORC – Supreme Oval Racing Champion
OFC – Open Field Coursing (Live Hunts)
NOFCA – National Open Field Coursing Association
CC – Coursing Champion
CM – Courser of Merit
TCC – The Coursing Conservancy
CMC – Coursing Mixed Champion
CBC – Coursing Breed Champion
NACA – North American Coursing Association
Clubs that hold all breed events, most likely to be seen in the Borzoi Banter:
AWFA – Albuquerque Whippet Fanciers Association, New Mexico
BCOA – Borzoi Club of America
CLCA – Colorado Lure Coursing Association, Colorado
CRRC – Colorado Rhodesian Ridgeback Club, Colorado
ESCA – Eastern Slope Coursing Association, New Mexico
GIT – Gazehounds in Texas, Texas
LSWC – Lone Star Whippet Club, Texas
RMBC – Rocky Mountain Borzoi Club, Colorado
RMCC – Rocky Mountain Coursing Club, Wyoming
RMIWA – Rocky Mountain Irish Wolfhound Association, Colorado
RTG – Rapid Transit Greyhounds, Oklahoma
RWRG – Reata Whippet Racing Group, Utah
SLASH – Saint Louis Area Sighthounds, Missouri
USRCC – Utah Sighthound Racing & Coursing Club, Utah
WGRA – WindyGlen Racing Association, Oklahoma
Flame suit on!
I too have read all these posts that were generated, with great interest and often dismay, after the “Grins Incident”. I have been introduced to this sport in an entirely different culture. I am not saying it is better or worse, just different. An owner questioned what went wrong. Responses ran the gambit from the very technical to the very whimsical. However, the responses that seemed to be generated the most were flames and those that talked about responsibility. I will never argue against the fact that the ultimate responsibility of the safety of our pets, whether they are couch potatoes, show, or performance pets, lies with the owner or handler. “Just pull your dog if you feel ~,” Easier said than done. In my observation, competition events of all kinds have three types of competitors.
1. Novices (beginners with no real knowledge about the capabilities of their animals) that we knowledgeable competitors have convinced to bring out their pets to try it.
2. Competitors of all experience levels that will do almost anything for that ribbon and title. 3. Those that fall somewhere in between 1 & 2. Most competitors fall in number 3, but it is those that fall into 1 & 2 that there must be rules to protect the safety of the pets.
What would be wrong making a rule that stated something like: if the on-site temperature reaches “x” degrees the trial will be stopped. (in Germany x = 90 degrees) If prelims have been run those will be the final standings if the prelims have not been run then either reschedule or cancel. If you are not willing to do this, make it mandatory to have an on-site vet with the intravenous capability and adequate cooldown/warming facilities, if the forecasted temps are in the dangerous range (high or low).
What would be wrong with a rule that stated: re-runs should have a minimum of “x” minutes between runs?
What would be wrong with a tiebreaker rule that prevented endless run-offs? I’ve seen some folks in all breeds willing to run their dogs into the ground for a placement.
A lot of folks will say we have enough rules and regulations. I often commented that the Germans had too many rules on the books for performance events. As with most rules, however, they have been developed because of some abuse of the system. As an example, you would not think that in an amateur event you would have people drugging their animals to either enhance performance or mask a medical condition. In Germany, 1 euro of every entry fee goes toward the cost of random drug testing. You’d be surprised at the amount of “respectable” folks they catch drugging their dogs. Most are not performance enhancement but pain meds, muscle relaxers, and antibiotic drugs to mask a medical problem.
The I.I. is not a local trial but “THE” ASFA event of the year. I, as a participant, expect it to be a large step above. I will take this moment to thank all those that worked so hard to put on each year’s events. I have been to only 2 and have been very impressed by the dedication and hard work that all you put these events on do. As in all major events, there should be someone or a group responsible for a lessons learned report. What worked? What did not work as planned? What failed? How do we correct the failures next time? How can we do it better? Then pass this on to the next people in charge in the form of and I.I. guidebook.
At this years I.I., I was a tenter. (great privacy, plenty of shade, and personal toilet) It worked well for me as it was a 10-minute walk to the water pool, then another 5 minutes to the field on Saturday. Then after the run 5 to 10 minutes to the water and 15 to 30 minutes back to the tenting area. This was perfect for me to observe the dogs as the adrenaline wore off and they started to return to normal. I take pulses before a run and every 5 minutes (if I can) after a run and analyze the return to normal time. I know what my boys are when fresh and healthy so I know when there are problems when it takes too long to return to normal. I could see how the heat was affecting them. One of them did well in the heat the other did not. If a second run-off for my hound on Saturday would have been required I would have forfeited. In the past, I have had a dog go into heat stress, heat stroke, heat exhaustion (one of those) and if it were not for an onsite river and onsite vet with the right equipment I would have lost him.
I would also advocate choosing 2 primary sites to hold the I.I. Somewhere central-east and central west and alternate each year. The time of the year is not as important. The Europeans hold their Oval Championship in June and Coursing Championship in September. Both timeframes present their problems pending location. Having a known location, familiarization of the site will help solve the unknowns plus provide better travel planning and accessibility for the participants.
I would have a limited entry where the top 10 from each region were invited (not free of charge) along with the previous years stake winners and then an open entry with qualification requirements similar to what we currently use, that would close when the predetermined entry number was reached. The organization of the event could be rotated by region.
So I have rattled on enough but hope to have put a little different perspective of thought to those of you who believe that we all have great judgment when in the heat of competition. It’s alright – he can run 1 more time. Just pull em – How about some guidelines that protect our dogs from us.
I want to remind the readers that I am not an expert in dog training, dog racing, canine health, canine growth, or canine nutrition. I will, however, be glad to share with the reading public, the training program that helped our borzoi to achieve the level of success that they have had.
I stated in Part I of this race training series (European Borzoi Fall 2000 No 13 October – December) that I would include borzoi, 7 months to 24 months, and would cover agility, strength training, more speed training, and introduction to racing. After re-evaluating how I want to approach this series, I have decided to change the order. In this article, I will write about, awareness, agility, strength, and speed and will concentrate on the age group of 7 to 15 months old. The 7 to 15 month age group is probably the most important period of your dog’s training and conditioning and may shape the racing style of your borzoi for the rest of its life. I cannot stress enough the importance of free play, especially with other dogs of similar age and size, in developing awareness, agility, strength, and speed. This is the single most important part of your borzoi’s training and social behavior.
Awareness of the body
At about 7 months old your borzoi puppy is still growing very fast. Now is the time to teach balance and confidence in their body. Believe it or not, many dogs are not very aware of their back legs or what they (the back legs) are doing. You can help to make them aware of their body. While you are spending personal time with your puppy, touch their hips, tail, rear end, and back legs often. Use a long strip of cloth to loosely wrap the rear legs a couple of times a week for ½ hour periods. A couple of times a week, take an old tee shirt and put it on the dog from the back end. Place the tail through the neck hole and the rear legs through the armholes. This is especially helpful for puppies that are fearful and shy. This will help your puppy to become fully aware of their body movement and gain awareness of what its own body feels like. I believe that a dog, which is fully aware of its own body, is confident.
A dog that is aware of its body, and has been given some concentrated agility exercises, might make the difference between a tragic collision or an effortless leap over an obstacle or another dog. You may think that with all the free play your puppy is doing, all the agility your borzoi will need is being learned on his or her own. This is partially true, but these tall lanky dogs can benefit from some additional training from you, the owner. Simple things, like going up and down steps, are things that need to be practiced. Setting up a solid table, between 50 and 60 cm high, and teaching your borzoi to jump up on top and stack will also be very helpful.
While formal agility sessions (the picture shows Ambassador’s father in a formal training session) would be beneficial, they are not necessary to achieve results. While on my daily walks, I look for obstacles that my ZoiBoyz can go over, under, or on. I have them practice walking on narrow flat surfaces, jumping over park benches, and going under fence wires. Let your imagination set the challenges. After a while, you will see your borzoi take on each obstacle you give him or her with joy. The more agility learned while young the better prepared they will be when they are adults.
With my first two borzois, I used the forest as an agility training ground. I did this at the age when the desire for them to wander far on their own was not yet a problem. I would have them walk on, and jump over stacks of lumber. They would dash around, not at high speed, among the trees and learn to turn, zig, and zag. Once they got too fast, bold and too confident in their abilities, we stopped this game. Beware; the forest can be a dangerous place to play. Wild animals, hunters, and several other pitfalls can be serious and dangerous problems.
Free play – again the single best possible exercise for your puppy, and like in agility, your borzoi may benefit from some special exercises. A lot of owners encourage their borzoi to stand up with their front legs on their shoulders or chest. This is actually a very good exercise for your borzoi. By learning to do it on command, you not only control “jumping up” by your dog, but are doing two very excellent exercises. These are stretching and strengthening the hindquarters. Taking this one step further, I hang a sock, or some old cloth from different heights in trees. It has become a game to leap up to bring down the sock. These exercises will strengthen the loin, stomach muscles, and rears legs. To aid in strengthening the front legs, neck and chest, a game of “Tug-of-War” is a fun game. Again that sock (Race Training part I), that they have come to love, is held while the puppy tries to take it away. You must be careful to exert only enough resistance to keep the dog from taking the sock. Pulling or jerking the sock may cause damage to developing teeth or jaw. Let us not forget free play.
One day you will watch your older borzoi puppy running and playing, and then all of a sudden he or she will take off and run faster than you have seen. I call this “finding turbo”. Borzois are not fast automatically. They have to learn to run at full speed in their classic double suspension gallop. The borzoi is one of the rare breeds that save a burst of speed for the kill. This feature can fool the inexperienced lure operator. Not all sighthounds can do this. Some borzoi never “find turbo”, but there are some things you can do to help. If you follow the advice on awareness and agility you have already increased your borzoi’s chance of finding turbo. They must have confidence in their ability to control their body or they will not – let it fly – so to speak.
Along with the common games like throwing a ball or a frisbee, for our long-nosed friends, one of the best and safest ways to teach your borzoi to run fast is going to any of the tracks or coursing sites and let them chase the lure in a controlled setting. If your dog has become crazy about chasing that sock of yours around, then the lure should make your dog interested very quickly. I will address lure training in more depth in another article. However, if at around 7 to 10 months old your borzoi shows interest in the lure let him/her do some straight sprints of 100 to 150 meters long. No more than two sprints in a session and they should be separated by at least 1 hour. A warm-up/cool-down period is recommended before/after each run. Warm-up and cool-down periods can be accomplished by brisk walking for 10 to 15 minutes. Offer plenty of water. During the warm-up/cool-down period pay close attention to the movement of your dog. If you suspect stiffness or pain, DO NOT LET YOU DOG RUN. Always be certain that your dog is pain-free before any sort of race training. If the dog connects pain to the race you may have a difficult time developing a confident and willing racer. Sprint training should be done no more than once per week. As your borzoi gets older and stronger we will change the distance and path of the lure, but for now, be patient. One other thing I want to bring up at this point is track type. If you are training on a sand track, be certain to wash the feet, especially good around the cuticle of each toe, after each run. Tiny sand particles can find there way into the nail and nail bed and can develop into an infection. The grass track poses a different danger. Stopping too quickly for any age borzoi, especially a young one, is very hard on the leg and shoulder joints. A sand track is soft and provides a cushion for the stop, but a grass track is hard and provides no cushioning. On a grass track, the lure operator should speed the lure ahead before stopping so that the borzoi will see that it is stopped and plan for his kill. A lure that is too close will cause the borzoi to overshoot his target causing a too abrupt stop and turn for the dog.
The bottom line to remember is, training should never become stressful, painful, or boring. Keep any sort of training fun, interesting, and challenging and you have a good chance of bringing the best out of your trusted companion. The better trained and prepared your potential racer is the better the chances of reducing serious injury, on and off the track.
The ZoiBoyz Racing Team
Tom, KC, and the Boyz
Ouragan des Princes de Kazan
Silkenswift Bonne Chance
Recent successes on race tracks throughout Europe, and a kind request by the publisher of this magazine, Evelyn Kirsch, prompted me to write about our race training program and techniques.
I am by no means an expert in dog training, dog racing, canine health, canine growth, or canine nutrition. I will, however, be glad to share with the reading public, the training program that helped our borzoi to achieve the level of success that they have had.
KC and I cannot take credit for the training techniques we use because it has been mostly „listening“ to experience that has guided us. Listening to those in the sport that have been successful, without being cruel and mistreating their animals. We listened to our competitors, listened to those with other breeds that race successfully, and listened to the breeders of our borzoi. We also gathered as much information about nutrition and growth conditioning as possible. Most of all, we tried to be always aware of the overall health and well being, mental and physical conditioning, of our potential racers, they are part of our family first and racers second.
My goal will be to write a series of articles for European Borzoi Magazine, that will cover the different phases of racing/coursing training. The training that you would give an 8-week old puppy is a lot different than for a 6-month-old, a 9-month-old, 1-year-old, and a licensed racer. This program will not be correct for every borzoi, but will simply describe our program and try to demonstrate the reasoning behind it.
First, however, what is a successful racer/courser? A successful racer/courser is a dog that consistently, over time, completes oval or coursing competitions, without interfering with competitors, staying focused, maintains conditioning that keeps the risk of injury to a minimum, and above all, loving the game. It does not require first-place finishes, titles, or record-breaking runs.
To have a successful racer, first and foremost, racing must be fun. Your borzoi will have to want the lure more than anything else. Noises, other dogs, other animals, muzzles, silks, the start box, and just about everything under the sun should be second to the lure. Many things can and will go wrong on the track or coursing field, but if the game is only to catch the lure then permanent bad results from the misfortunes might be avoided.
The first rule to keep racing fun, your borzoi must be fit and confident. A dog running in pain or nervous, cannot be having fun and will want to do it less or not at all. So how do we get our borzoi to want the lure more than anything else? Read on, and see what has worked for our ZoiBoyz.
Part 1 will deal primarily with puppies less than 28 weeks old. It is very important to be careful in these early weeks and months. Young borzoi needs a proper balance of nutrition, rest, and exercise. Too much of one and not enough of the others can adversely affect the bone development, that in our breed, it can take longer than two years, to complete. Bones that grow too fast can be too soft or not dense enough for a racing borzoi and lead to pain and injury-prone animals. I believe that genetics will determine the final size of your borzoi. Slower growth is better than fast growth because the bones will tend to be stronger and denser. Guidelines on what this balance should be are beyond the range of my knowledge. It is enough to say that each young borzoi will require a balance that is best for the individual.
Nothing is better for young borzoi than frequent, natural, and spontaneous play. Preferably in open areas with few hazards such as holes, narrow openings, low branches, to name just a few. Strength, agility, and confidence are gained from open field playtime. A young puppy will want about ten minutes of play every half hour, sleeping for the rest of the time. For most of us that are nearly impossible to provide unless we can provide a large, fenced, open area to roam and play in. If space is limited, make every attempt to get the puppies out 4 or 5 times a day for supervised play.
As soon as your borzoi has its eyes open and moving around and showing interest in objects around him, in addition to the natural playtimes, you can start encouraging the instinct to chase. An old sock on a piece of string is sufficient. Drag it around, individuals only, not around the entire litter. This is important. Each pup must have the success of catching their prey, in this case, a sock. If this is done, with the entire litter at once, the dominant ones will succeed and the others will learn to wait for the dominant one to finish. If a less dominant one reaches the sock first, the dominant one may take it away, possibly discouraging the lesser one‘s future desire to get there first. The domination ritual will happen enough in normal play and is the natural course of things, but for lure play, this should never happen. Ever see a dog, you know is fast, not pass a slower dog? The slower dog in front is probably a more dominant individual. Lure play should happen no more than twice a week and then put completely away from the pups. They will soon learn that when the lure comes out, the fun begins.
At about 4 months, the bones in your borzoi are a little stronger and should be stressed a little more. Care must still be taken not to overstress the young bones, but clinical studies have proven that lack of use, i.e. running, will result in less bone density, increasing the risk of injury during hard racing that occurs on the oval tracks. The sock can still be used, if there is anything left, for the next level of lure toy play. We used a plush toy snake with a bell in one end. We tied this to a 2-meter long pole, with about a 2-meter long string. A horse buggy whip works well for this. The reason for the long pole is to separate the human from the game. The 4-month-old borzoi should be only interested in the lure toy and not the human on the other end of the pole.
Again, lure play should be solo – one pup per session. Sessions should be only five minutes maximum and only once or twice a week. Make sure the pup catches the lure toy several times. Then put it away somewhere it cannot be retrieved accidentally.
Another excellent training exercise to begin at around 20 weeks is the „Come to Me“ game. This game will start building up the speed muscles. This can be done fairly easily with 2 people, a releaser and a catcher. Have one person, the releaser, stay with the dog. The other person, the catcher, should be the dogs favorite human, with the lure for added incentive. This person should walk about 100 meters away then call the dog’s name. Use lots of encouragement and start moving the lure toy around. The person with the dog should then release the dog, also with encouragement. If all goes well the dog will have enjoyed a 100-meter sprint with a reward at the end, i.e. the lure toy and lots of love and good words from the catcher. If the dog comes to the catcher instead of the lure that‘s ok, but do a quick playtime with the dog before petting and congratulating him. The idea here is to make the game a chase to the lure. Again, like with the lure toy training, only do this once or twice a week. One sprint is sufficient until the young borzoi is a little older and stronger. As your borzoi gets older and stronger, slight variations to this game can be very advantageous to conditioning, both mental and physical. I‘ll cover those variations in part 2. Part 2, will include borzoi 7 months to 24 months and will cover agility, strength training, more speed training, and introduction to racing. I‘ll also discuss choosing oval, coursing, or both. Tom Goucher and KC Thompson are proud to be owned by four very special borzois, they fondly call the ZoiBoyz. Silkenswift Ambassador – 2000 WM, 2000 EM, International Racing Champion Ouragan des Princes de Kazan – 1999 BW LRS, 2000 BRS, #2 2000 WM, #3 2000 EM Romaska‘s Aramis – Borzoi in training. Silkenswift Bonne Chance- Borzoi in training.
This article is also published in “European Borzoi – Der Barsoi in Europa” No 13 page 103
Our “E” litter girl that went to California. Thank You Nanci & Tom for the photos and taking such good care of this girl.
We are just thrilled at the new photos of Monte Carlo sent to us by his owners Rose & Aaron. This boy is loving life and is loved and adored by his humans.
Thank you Rose and Aaron for sharing these photos and being such a great home for this precious boy.