The Irish Wolfhound Society of Ireland had its Event and Information Day on Sunday, 28th January 2007, and WHAT a day it turned out to be.
The day dawned clear, crisp and bright (Anne really does have uncanny connections) and the turnout of hounds and people was very gratifying – nearly forty people and their many hounds made for a good crowd and very lively atmosphere. We had the use of a huge indoor hall for talks, demonstrations and refreshments, but the first event of Coursing was held outside. Very few, if any, of the hounds had had any experience in lure coursing and standing on the sidelines watching their individual reactions was worth the effort of travelling all on its own. Several of them turned around and walked away, others, like my own Nikki, cantered half-heartedly after the lure because the other dog was following it, she saw my car out of the corner of her eye, and headed straight for it, at right angles to the track. This happened the second time as well, but third time lucky she ran all the way to the straw bales. The smile on her face was such a reward. Other hounds were absolute naturals and several of the runs were textbook stuff. The overall winner was Ika and Ulli’s Jade with Paula’s Ella a close second. Thank you, Heidi, for organising the lure and runner. Thanks also to the many volunteers who acted as slippers (Tony & Velda), handlers and stewards, and special thanks to Jim for keeping the books and getting the right dogs to the start. Our photographer was Ika and I really look forward to seeing the action photos.
We adjourned to the hall for a welcome coffee and sandwiches after which Ulli Peiler held us rooted to our seats with practical demonstrations of training and valuable insights into the minds of our canine companions. Fascinating stuff, thank you Ulli! Two 15 weeks old wolfhound puppies for whom it was the first day on a lead and in public and a Labrador puppy enjoyed the special attention they got from Ulli and strutted their stuff around the ring like pros after only a few moments, on and off the lead, to great applause from the audience. Some volunteers and their hounds came into the ring to apply Ulli’s advice and it was indeed heart-warming to see how well the hounds responded and co-operated happily with their owner. It clearly is so much more fun for both owner and hound when we understand each other. We certainly will ask Ulli to come back for another training session to teach us more. If you are interested in motivational and positive training methods and want to continue with this approach send us your comments via the feedback form. Who knows, this might even be the start of an Obedience Group with a difference.
Then Jim Behan took us through the steps of grooming the Irish Wolfhound; how to emphasise the good points of your hound and how to camouflage the not-so-good points with the clever use of hand stripping and combing. He succeeded in the process by turning a fireside companion into a prince fit for the show ring. You are a wizard Jim, thank you. We now know the secret behind the fantastic Bearnabui coats; a comb, a brush, two fingers, a good eye for construction, and lots and lots of elbow grease!
The representative of the Countryside Alliance Ireland talked about the benefits of the public liability insurance they offer for members at a very reasonable rate and the Society decided to become a group member. If you are interested in more information, please contact us via our feedback form on this website or go direct to www.caireland.org. As a member of the Irish Wolfhound Society of Ireland you can avail of a special discount.
Brian Jones, DVM, the well-known “greyhound vet” with a veterinary practice in Newry, explained the intricacies of Artificial Insemination and the importation of frozen semen, a procedure that is becoming more and more interesting for breeders these days. He answered many questions from the audience regarding the right timing for a mating, be it natural or via AI, and advised on the benefits and costs of Progesterone testing. He spoke about the general care for the bitch in season and in whelp and also covered possible reasons for conception failure. Apparently infections of the bitch with Canine Herpes Virus is more widespread than we assume and if this is not tested for and appropriately treated it will lead to absorption, stillbirths or loss of some or even all puppies.
A huge vote of thanks goes to our President, Anne O’Keeffe, for the royal spread she laid before us at the end of the day. I am sure that like me, many folks had a problem fastening their seat belts for the trip home that night.
I know that I cannot wait for the next get-together and many in attendance on Sunday echo my view.