Puppy Development Series 2 – Exercise for the Little Guys

On July 15, 2015, Lancelot x Bridget had a litter of  borzoi puppies. The “Irish Airs” litter will be the subjects of a series of posts about early puppy development  here at Aria.  Watch them grow up and learn how you can use puppyhood experiences to help build confident, resourceful adult dogs that handle stressors well and are emotionally solid in a wide variety of situations.

Exercise for the Little Guys

When puppies are very young, their world is very small.
When puppies are very young, their world is very small.

When you are a nursing puppy, there’s very little to your entire universe. Your mother, your littermates, a small area, possible a few toys and textures to interact with.  Oh, and those magical two legged creatures called humans! Life is a cycle of eat, play, sleep and grow.  And that’s just fine – all is, as it should be.

At this age, your body and brain are growing very quickly that eat-sleep-play-grow is about all you can handle. But soon, wonderful new vistas will open to you!  Bigger pen, new and even more exciting toys, more humans, other dogs and even, yes… the great outdoors!

Rest up, little guys.  It’ll all be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 3, The Tricky Treats

Happy Howl-O-Ween!  Tonight is a lot of fun for people, but filled with some unique hazards for our beloved pets. This post will have a handy checklist of some of the scariest things to worry about for your dog (or cat) on Halloween and what to do about it if it comes up. 

A complete, REAL borzoi skeleton, seen at Nationals in Lawrence KS in 2016.                        Why? Because it’s Halloween, that’s why!


Rhett and Phantom both LOVED Halloween and couldn’t wait for it to begin!


“Hey Phantom – show ’em your game face! Grr!” People would remember him from year to year and ask to see his “smile.”

Not every dog loves Halloween.  It’s sad, but true.  For some, it’s nothing but a great time with snacks, excitement and friendly strangers, but for others? A nightmare of anxiety, potential hazards, opportunities to escape, and scary people wearing frightening costumes that make them look even scarier.

KNOW YOUR DOG. And take the appropriate precautions to give them the kind of safe, comfortable evening they need.  If this means kennel time away from the action, that’s what it means… if that means a Thundershirt and some anti-anxiety meds, that’s ok too.  Remember there are going to be lots of doors and gates left open, lots of strangers around – some of whom are guaranteed to NOT be dog savvy- and lots of chances for things to go wrong.  When in doubt, error on the side of caution.
Not every dog needs this kind of care.  Some just get over-excited, but are happy with the whole thing.  This can be a great once-in-a-year” kind of training opportunity, if you use it as such. Here’s a list of good things you can work on:


Rhett used to say, “I think they’re here! Can I answer the door?”
  • Leave It
  • Sit and Stay
  • Wait
  • Doorbell Desensitization
  • Greet Strangers
  • Trick Training – If you’ve never looked into clicker training, you might want to look into it. It’s positive reinforcement based and especially effective for dogs why are sensitive to negative corrections – like borzois and other sighthounds.

Whatever you do, do NOT leave your dog outside in the yard! Some dogs can find this highly agitating, and the opportunity for human mischief-makers to cause trouble is very high.  Whether or not they mean harm, it’s safer to keep your pet out of harms way – then you don’t have to worry about accidental poisoning, theft, teasing, or other unfortunate things. Also, please remember that there’s one thing every pet should wear on Halloween night – something more crucial than any costume – their ID!  Make sure every pet has current ID… and is wearing it!


Oh, there are SO many delicious things out there for pets to get a hold of!  Some are perfectly fine, many are fine – in moderation –  (key word here : MODERATION. Dogs aren’t good with moderation!).  Many things are flat out poisonous and dangerous for pets to ingest.  Here’s a rundown on the main offenders:

  • Chocolate: Yes, we all know how bad this one is, but did you know that the darker the chocolate, the greater the danger? It only takes 1 oz of dark baking chocolate to sicken a 50 lb dog, but with milk chocolate it could take up to 8 oz.  Play it safe… keep ALL chocolate out of reach. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, agitation, increased thirst, an elevated heart rate, and in severe cases, seizures. This is a medical emergency.  If you believe your dog has ingested chocolate, get to the vet right away!
  • Chocolate Covered Raisins: These tasty treats pass as semi-healthy (at least that’s what my sister says!) for people, but are double deadly for dogs. In addition to chocolate, which we all know about, raisins are their own kind of bad. Like all grape products, raisins cause kidney failure.  Vomiting, diarrhea and seizures result from ingestion.  If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate covered raisins, don’t wait… get to the vet!
  • Xylitol: One of the newer sugar-free sweeteners, xylitol most commonly found in sugar-free products like gum and breath mints, but it’s starting to crop up in unexpected places.  The scariest?  Peanut butter!  That’s right – watch out for this very deadly additive in anything with peanut butter, especially “reduced calorie” items. Xylitol is perfectly safe for humans, but deadly for dogs and cats in very small doses.  It works it’s lethal one-two punch by first lowering the animals blood sugar to dangerous levels and liver failure. Symptoms appear within minutes of ingestion – and they are severe. Expect trouble standing, seizures, and lethargy. If you even suspect your pet has eaten your mints or gum with xylitol, do NOT wait.  This is a life threatening situation! With treatment, your pet may pull through, but many suffer permanent liver damage. As far as it’s appearance in peanut butter? I can’t speak for anyone else, but no peanut butter comes into my house unless I have personally checked the label myself.
  • Empty Candy Wrappers: You’d be surprised at some of the things dogs will eat… or, maybe not.  To us, a big wad of empty wrappers isn’t appealing in the slightest, but some dogs just can’t resist.  Wrappers still smell yummy, but they don’t digest, and can cause a wad that can bloat the tummy or cause an intestinal impaction.  Better to just keep them like a mummy… under “wraps!”  (Ok, ok… at least *I* think I’m funny!)
  • Sugar-Based Candies: Candy corn is kind of controversial among humans, but few dogs will debate, or even think twice before gobbling it down… and this can be a big, BIG mistake.  While not usually fatal, sugary candies can wreak havoc on a dog’s insulin system, pancreas and cause vomiting, diarrhea, and horrible HORRIBLE gas. Seriously.  Keep this out of reach.
  • Hard candies: Choking hazard or inhalation hazard.  Enough said.


…And “Weird Stuff” Eaters!

In addition to candy, pets have lots of other things they can ingest over the holiday that are NOT good for them. Beads, pumpkins, corn, foil, glow sticks, candles, fake grass, “Hawaiian” leis and skirts… you name it, it’s out there and available to play with or eat. Some of these things are dangerous on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, don’t  be afraid to call your vet, or a poison control hotline.  Halloween is a busy night for the hotlines.  They’ll be staffed, but you may have to wait.

Numbers for Help:

Pet Poison Helpline 1-800-213-6680. In order to provide this critical service, please be advised that they charge a $59 per incident fee, payable by credit card. This fee covers the initial consultation as well as all follow-up calls associated with the management of the case. http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com

The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) is your best resource for any animal poison-related emergency, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you think your pet may have ingested a potentially poisonous substance, call (888426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied to your credit card. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control
Pro Tip: Borzois are liars.
They SAY they will guard your candy from rogue Trick-Or-Treaters, but they are NOT reliable. They accept bribes and don’t enforce the “one piece per kid” rule.

Remember: It’s always, Always, ALWAYS better to have prepared and prevented the problem than to try to do damage control later. Be safe, have fun, and help your pets have the best night that they can!



-C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.


Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 2 -Coloring Page

Happy Howl-O-Ween 2017!  To quote Vincent Price… “The midnight hour is close at hand…”
Well, your markers and crayons better be, too! Because here’s a Halloween themed coloring page, featuring Barnabas (the undisputed Aria King of Halloween) and his batch of “bitty bitches.” These are the girls from Aria’s latest Van Morrison litter, whelped back in August. 

Happy Howl-O-Ween From Barnabas and the “Bitty Bitches” of the 2017 Van Morrison litter

You’re welcome to share, print, color and have fun with this coloring page, as long as you share artist credit when you do (me!  -Chelle Griffith) If you feel like showing off how you colored them, I’d love to see them and will share my favorites on Facebook.  So, not a contest exactly, but you do get braggin’ rights… Email these puppies to me by sending them to info@ariaborzoi.com

Barnabas, surrounded by adoring fans…

In case you’re curious about our models, Barnabas (Bronze GCH Aria Zorya Dark Shadows “Barnabus”) JUST celebrated his 9th birthday last weekend,  (Don’t tell him – he thinks he’s 2!) and celebrated by living it up with his adoring puppy minions.  This is definitely a case of art imitating life! 😀 “Big B” is the chief borzoi babysitter at Aria, and has been the big snuggly role model for a couple generations of Aria pups.  

Up next… Stay tuned for a list of the scariest things your dog could eat on Halloween, and what to do about it if they do – complete with poison control hotlines.  

  • -C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, Aria hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.


Happy HOWL-O-WEEN ! – Part 1, Storytime

Happy Howl-O-Ween!  We’re going to have a little fun here, to kick off the Halloween festivities. Believe it or not, Aria Hounds start prepping for their favorite holiday when they’re still in the whelping box. Aria Hounds “Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts.”  How do we do that?  Well, be patient… there’s more to come on that later!  If you hang in there to the end of this post, it’s story time. I will thrill and chill you with a terrifying tale called: “Pizza, Puppies, and The Zombie Apocalypse.”  (Otherwise known as “The Day Chelle was Sorta Weird and Scared The Pizza Delivery Guy.”)

Hey, you work with what you got. 😀

At the stroke of midnight tonight, we’ll have a “Happy Howl-O-Ween” Coloring page to share, featuring Freckles, Bandit, Two-Spot, Oreo and Minnie – some of our current batch of puppy cuties as coloring-page models, along with their Uncle Barnabas, the undisputed Aria King of Halloween. (He JUST celebrated his 9th birthday, and celebrated by living it up with his adoring puppy minions!  Free to print out that coloring page, have fun with it, share it to any borzoi lovers you like and color the heck out of it and share it around (as long as you give artist credit (-me! 😉 -Chelle). We’d love to see how people decide to color these in, so send us your pictures and we’ll share our favorites on Facebook! Show off your coloring by sending them to info@ariaborzoi.com

And finally, tomorrow on the big day, we’ll be talking about the tricky part of the Trick or Treats – The Treats that are dangerous for our pets, and the Tricks you can use to keep them safe while you have a HOWLIN’ good time! Stay tuned for a list and a handy list of hotlines and a countdown of the scariest things your dog can eat on Halloween.  

And now, for our story…

“Pizza, Puppies, and The Zombie Apocalypse”

Barnabas waits… for PIZZA

It was a hot day in late July when the pizza guy got the call. Somewhere, hidden by a tangle of trees, wild bamboo, and a maze of dusty roads that seemed to wind in to themselves for an eternity, someone had issued a cry for help.  

They needed… a PIZZA!    (Dun… dun… DUNNNN!) 

It was a terrifying, harrowing journey, as his trusty Honda Civic coughed along the twisty road.  Neither his GPS or Google Maps seemed adequate to the task of finding the place, but eventually his car carried him up the hill to where the lonely house – surrounded by a formidable, spiky iron fence – stood all alone.  A grey, stone, beast-like statue grimaced at him, as he rumbled up to park his car in the abandoned driveway.  

As his driver’s side door creaked open, several lanky, gaunt and savage looking monsters appeared on the hill to leer down at him. They eyed him, licking their chops in anticipation.  

The Hounds on the Hill

Was it the pizza they hungered for, or his very SOUL?  


 Gathering his courage, he reached in to retrieve the pouch that held his precious cargo.  Who knew what horrors he must face to deliver it to it’s rightful owner? Would he be safe?  What would become of him?  Searching for answers, he turned to the gate, and discovered a note.  

“Come on in. Shut the gate behind you.  The dog is friendly.  Knock LOUD.”  Frowning at the cryptic message, he did as the note commanded, scratching his head as he approached the house, noticing the door was slightly ajar.  Of course, he thought, It’d be good to have a dog, with all those scary monsters up on the hill.  It was then, that he heard the first groan.

At first, he was certain it was the wind.  Of course, it was the wind!  he told himself.  There are no real zombies in Texas, in July, in the real world.  That’d just be ridic-

That was when he heard the chainsaw, and the answering scream.  

He froze in his tracks, his hand an inch away from the door.  It sounded like HELL had come to live in that stylish Weatherford acreage!  The Zombie Apocalypse had begun, in Texas, in July, in the real world.  And just when he could take no more, two things happened at once…

The door was nosed open by the biggest, hairiest black BEAST of a dog he’d ever seen… AND… The opening bars of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” began to play, just as a chubby lady, dressed in shorts and a tank top with the “Poop” emoji, danced out from the hallway, then froze in place, to stare at him in shock.  

She grinned, cheeks flushing with embarrassment.  “I thought the door was latched.  Sorry about that,” she yelled, turning down the music and gesturing him in as the huge dog tried to snuffle his pizza carrier.  Oddly enough, the music quit, but the Zombie Apocalypse sound effects continued.  She turned those down, too.   “Sorry about the noise, too. The puppies are the right age to desensitize to scary noises, so… Zombie Apocalypse it is. Barnabas, don’t be a dork. He’s not gonna give you any pizza. Leave the guy alone.”

His eyes followed the woman’s gesture, and across the room, in a wire pen, a litter of adorable puppies bumbled around, biting, tumbling and falling all over each other.  Feeling a nudge to his ribs, he looked down, and the enormous monster dog was tilting his head to the side, grinning, and trying to be cute… as if he were just some regular old lapdog, and not a fearsome beast that could reach a man’s armpit with his nose, without having to raise his front feet off the floor.  

I can has Pizza?

Soon after, the pizza guy fled – with dog drool on his pants, and a decent tip in his pocket.  All in a day’s work when you’re saving the world… one pizza at a time!


  • C.T. (Chelle) Griffith, hound hugger, pizza guy terrorizer and very bad dancer.


Adoption Spotlight – “Freckles”

“Freckles” – Available to a Show, Performance or Companion Home 

If you’ve been looking for a promising bitch for conformation, coursing and general companionship, you’ve got to check out Freckles. She’s speedy, athletic and correct, all wrapped up in a polka-dotted package.  Seriously – look at all that ticking!

Freckles at 11 Weeks
Here’s her 11 week front.

On August 4th 2017, Seamus x Melody had a litter of gorgeous, sweet and healthy borzoi puppies.  

Like all the dogs born here at Aria, puppies from this 2017 “Van Morrison” litter begin life with all the advantages we can give them.  Intensive pedigree research, as well as temperament testing and health screenings are all crucial parts of our breeding program, and all our litters receive the “SuperDog” puppy development exercises used by the US Army. You can read about the exercises in an upcoming blog post we have planned soon.

Here’s her 8 week photo

We strive to breed borzoi that excel in their lives, whether that be in the show ring, the field, as a beloved family pet, or (as most of our dogs) some combination of all of the above!

This is Freckles.

Freckles shows a lot of potential in both coursing/performance and also in conformation, but also possesses a confident, people pleasing personality.  If you’d like to see a pedigree or find out any more,  check out our puppy adoption questionnaire, here —> LINK TO QUESTIONNAIRE

To see our other available puppies and dogs, go to our available dogs page, here —> AVAILABLE DOGS AND PUPPIES



The stalk, before the POUNCE!

The US Army SuperDog Program – Bio-Sensor Exercises

Bio-Sensor Exercises Can Help Make SuperDogs

They may not look like much at this stage, but from 3-16 days old, these little jellybeans are hardwired to develop neural pathways like crazy! Exposure to the right kind of stimuli at this stage can pay off, big time, in the future.

A couple weeks ago, we did a post on the Bio-Sensor and scent exercises we do here at Aria with the young puppies. Developed by the US Army, the SuperDog program is designed to stimulate a pup’s neurological and physical development when coupled with a healthy, natural environment and loving human leadership. There’s only a small window of time in a puppy’s development -from day 3 through day 16- where these exercises are the most effective, so it’s important to plan ahead and get them on the calendar so your little guys don’t miss out.  It’s amazing to see how these exercises can not only maximize their potential as performance dogs later in life, but also give you some idea of the individual temperament of each puppy early on in their life. This aids in making better placement choices, when it comes time to send them to their permanent homes.  If you’d like to see a video on the process, one is available here. 

Our article on the BioSensor and Scent exercises from a couple weeks ago is available here —> ARTICLE  and back in July of 2016 we did another blog post going into detail on exactly what we were doing, and when, with the 2017 Firesongs litter.  You can see that post here —> ARTICLE

For an even more detailed approach, there’s a great article in a 2015 issue of The Canine Chronicle you can find here —> ARTICLE


Zen says: “Of course, MY puppies were all Super!”

I hope this is as interesting to all of you as it was to me.  It made for fascinating reading as I was looking after Zen’s litter of neonates that month, and made me rethink some of my previously held notions about how dogs absorb information.

– Chelle