I've continued my research and found there to be a testing center about 10 minutes away. Fees for the test seem to vary from $5 to $15. I emailed the center and requested information on their fees and such that will likely determine how and when Ferg and I will head over to testing to make sure no money is wasted. There are a lot of other questions I have, as the official guide says that the evaluator may allow the dog to retry if a single item is not passed on the test. We'll see if this place is so generous. Hopefully they even get back to me.
Tomorrow, we shall practice down-staying on a long line, as well as recall and being left with a stranger (probably my dear friend, Sarah, whom Ferg has only had the pleasure of meeting a few times). As I've said before, if what happens is according to plan, Ferguson is usually fine with it, so it will just be a matter of introducing him to "the plan."
In other news, Ferguson and I have recently started the sport of roller blading together. Before anyone gets worried (yes, I am aware I have a potential 40 mph running machine with me), I am still able to correct Ferguson with ease, and always have been blading on the sidewalk next to grass, should I ever need to dead-weight him to stop him from running (also, with the laws of physics, if he ever started to suddenly run at a crazy speed burst, the increase would be too much too fast, and he would feel the jerk of my weight against him, and as soon as Ferg feels tension, he immediately stops what he is doing). I've bladed with other dogs much more difficult than Ferguson. He took to it very naturally, stays out of the way of the blades, and is very sensitive to any tension felt on the leash (as usual). Today was our second go-around, and he has already learned to be enthusiastic about the blades when I get them out. We were able to go for our full mile loop, but just barely...we were both quite tired after the experience, probably me more than him, as he never did more than trot along next to me.
What was wonderful though, was how exhausted Ferguson was afterwards, and how little he cared if I came or went room to room. He was perfectly content to lounge in his crate, maybe only opening his eyes if I came or went. He was not winded after our experience and did not excessively pant, but there was no doubt that he was done for the day. I know and knew of course, that it is never a good idea or fair to leave an unexercised dog alone, but the blading brought Ferguson to a new level of tiredness that our usual mile walks haven't brought out in him. I think we'll start implementing this in our alone training from now on, whenever I need to ask him to stay alone for more than an hour at a time.
Because the blading did so much, I even splurged and FINALLY bought the special bicycle attachment I'd seen years ago and longed to try. The item has very high ratings, and looks to be well-made and safe, with springing action to produce gradual tension if the dog pulls, not allowing them to jerk suddenly in another direction. Originally, I figured I would just wait and purchase it when I have a more active dog, as Ferguson really does not NEED this item as other dogs do. However, my plan for Eric's birthday is to buy him a bike, so if the item could help us exhaust Ferguson when we move and are trying to help him adjust (not kill him with running, just have him at a light jog and train him slowly to increase distance), I think it will be worth the money. Additionally, I can use it with all my future dogs I'm destined to have, but it can't hurt to have Ferguson use it every once in a while. I also love to bike ride, and it would be great to have him able to come along with me :).
My only concern is the message I'm potentially spreading to the world about greyhounds. To everyone: Trust me, it's more for me than him! He's just here for the company!!!! He's a real couch potato, I promise!!!
So, Ferguson and I are rising athletes. But, we are going to do it together, slowly, steadily, and safely, (yes, I wear big stupid bulky knee pads and wrist guards when we blade). I am kind of really excited about the bicycle leash, as I won't get quite as winded or sore. I'll be sure Ferguson doesn't have to do more than trot as well to keep it fun and appealing to him. I do think he likes a bit of challenge though ^_^. At least, that would contend with what Cesar Millan says in his most recent book I'm currently reading.
More to come tomorrow, I'm sure ^_^;.