Training a Greyhound
Well, my little treasure is totally better now. Every day we discovered some new facet of his character. What astonished us the most, especially compared with a Doberman, was his paradoxical nature. For example, the pain threshold. On the one hand the dog was ready to run at breakneck speed, not caring about anything – even cut paws. On the other hand... I won’t even mention such banalities as clipping claws. What is so amazing about dogs' yelps during the procedure?

But here is one incident which astounded me. Returning from a walk I go over to the fence (about 50 cm high). The dogs are on the leashes. I let them go forward so that they can jump. They jump synchronically (just like horses). Foma having forgotten about the leash flips over and lands on his back. In falling he touches Atlon’s tail. Oh, my gosh!

“Help, murder, a poor Greyhound’s being killed!!!”
I climb over the fence and shout, trying to silence the yelling dog, “Shut up, you idiot!”
Bystanders are shocked. “Why are you shouting at him, he hurt himself!” “He wasn't the one that fell down.”

“Then why is he squealing?”

Just my point. Why is he squealing? Meanwhile, the Doberman is sniffing at a nearby bush.
Yet still the question of what this dog was good at left me no peace. It’s obvious that a Greyhound is a fast runner. It’s also obvious that he can eat all he gets and ask for more (as it turned out later on this doesn’t apply to all of them) and can take up a surprising amount of space on the couch. But what else can he do?

So we began the usual training. The dog looks at me like at a half-wit but obeys. Why shouldn’t he sit down considering he gets sausage for it. The only problem was getting him to fetch. He refused to understand why he should pick up some dirty stick or another useless thing. And really, why should he? I’ve got the Doberman to carry potatoes from the shops and fetch cigarettes from the table.

Atlon mastered the agility obstacles required for OKD (the Russian version of obedience training) by watching the Doberman and trying to understand how anyone could find this fun. I think he understood...

Once we came to the dog training facility in Sokolniki. Being only human, I decided to show off. Beginners were circling the area with their German Shepherds, Riesenschnauzers, Rottweilers. It is the first lesson so neither the owners nor the dogs can understand what the dog trainer wants them to do. The trainer himself can’t understand where such novices come from. I step away from the crowd, clip off the leash and begin training the dog. We finish the sit-stand-down exercises and move on to the obstacles. Atlon climbs up the ladder, looks aroung thoughtfully, then... jumps! Everyone gasps but the dog lands on all four paws, shakes himself and thoughtfully approaches me. This is why we call him Murzik (a typical Russian name for a cat).

By Natalia Osvenskaya,
Translated by Xenia Wagner.