Great Greyhound Gathering 2016

RGT Logo 2016It’s nearly here! This year is the 10th Annual Great Greyhound Gathering and the Retired Greyhound Trust are promising to make it something very special. After its previous home at Nottingham Racecourse, the event is moving this year for the first time to the Kennel Club building at Stoneleigh, CV8 2TA. I think this is a great idea. Dixie and I were up at this building over Christmas for a Rally trial and we liked it a lot. It will ensure the event can be completely undercover if the weather is bad, while there is plenty of outdoor space around the building if we have sunshine. Because Stoneleigh is a permanent site, it’s got great access, lots of parking and good facilities.

If you’ve not been before, what can you expect? Greyhounds as far as the eye can see (plus lots of other sighthounds) – it really is the most wonderful sight to see literally hundreds of pointy nosed, graceful hounds everywhere. The RGT organise a dog show and you can enter online before the day (something I always recommend as a timesaver). There are classes just for greyhounds and others for all dogs.

The shopping is amazing and most years I treat it as a great way to kick off my Christmas shopping, especially for greyhound related gifts. The wonderful Nellie Doodles will be there, with Carolyn’s Canine Cavern, and this year there will be some new Nellie themed Christmas baubles that are making their debut at the event. Some (not an exhaustive list) of the stalls you can expect will be the Greyhounds4Me (with their wonderful sausage bobbing for the hounds!), Pink Fluffy Kitty, Dogs On Bikes and The Scarf Seller. There will be lots of stalls from RGT branches and you can usually expect to find nail clipping services.

New this year, renowned sighthound trainer Jim Greenwood will be giving a demonstration of training/working with your hound. If you follow Jim on social media, you’ll know he recently took on a gorgeous lurcher pup called Skye, and she’ll be taking part in the demos and you’ll get a chance to meet her. Jim’s training methods are all positive and he places a strong emphasis on having fun with your dog and training being based around play and working with your dog’s drives and preferences, rather than against them. I’ve attended a couple of his training events myself and it’s great to have the opportunity to work with a trainer with a deep understanding of how our hounds think and learn. Many rescues use Jim for events, workshops and so on, so if you are interested in this for your own rescue, go and have a chat. One of the nice things about Jim is that he is always willing to have a natter and offer advice if you have a training or behaviour issue – feel free to talk to him during the day on his stand where he’ll have a variety of training accessories, leads, clickers etc available. On a personal note, Jim kindly provided us with very useful pointers the day before we picked up Dixie and his advice has proved invaluable in getting us off to a great start together.

One of the things I find so fascinating about dog training is that the science behind it just keeps stacking up – this was a very interesting story this week which illustrates what many dog people already know, that our dogs can differentiate between intonations as well as individual cues/commands. Using positive intonations and words has an impact on the reward centre of our dogs’ brains – they feel pleasure when they are rewarded in a way that’s similar to how we respond when listening to our favourite music. It’s a powerful reminder of how our training and behaviour around our dogs can have deep emotional impacts.

We’ll be bringing at least a couple of the Milgi hounds with us on the day – please do come over and say hello. You’ll recognise them from their modelling duties on the website and if time permits, we’ll pop them in a couple of classes as well. On the stall, we’ll have our usual ranges of fleeces, quilted coats, bandanas, dog beds, raincoats, hi viz coats and blankets. You (or rather, your hound) are always welcome to try on any of our items and if you are interested in a particular coat, we can bring one for you to collect on the day. I’ve not been able to find out for definite if there is a cash machine on site, but we are always happy to take card payments (no minimum spend) and you can pay via PayPal too if you have the app on your smartphone. We’ll be showcasing some new items for you (so new, no photos at the time of writing!) Firstly we’ll have some gorgeous limited edition Christmas blankets using some lovely Riley Blake fabric from this year’s festive ranges. There will be a couple of samples with us and we strongly recommend early ordering especially if you’d like them personalised with a letter or shape of your choice. Secondly, we’ll have some new fleeces made from gorgeous Sherpa fleece – this is the shaggy, thick “lambswool” fleece that is popular for sweatshirts and hoodies and has a lovely texture. As always, our fleeces are lined with soft cosy cotton flannel and we think you’ll like the colours we’ve chosen for the coats – a rich red, purple plus a lovely understated olive green. We’ll have sample coats available on the day, and as always, anything ordered at a show for later delivery doesn’t incur any postage costs.

See you there!

Published: 6th September 2016