The Dogs Go to the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

Today the dogs and I went to the MN State Fair to do some demonstrations with the Twin Cities Obedience Training Club. We had the 12-6 shift where obedience and agility demos were alternating every hour. Given that over 1.5million people come to the MN fair every year (no joke) and that it has the largest daily attendance in the U.S., I was just hoping that my dogs wouldn't go nuts with all the food and people everywhere.

For obedience I usually handled Vito and had Adam take Lance. I figured I could control the beast easier if he lost his mind and that Lance would be fine if he knew Adam had treats. But the two dogs did amazing! Both of them had almost perfect attention even as other dogs were losing it to the hidden cheese curds hiding in the grass. In the first round Lance forgot what he was doing, twice, as he was supposed to be retrieving his dumbell over the high jump. Basically Lance confidently flew over the jump and then paused as he looked around and had no clue how he got there. I was successfully able to direct Lance to his dumbbell and save some face :P Lance also did some great drop on recalls there and heeling.

mmm...me want cheese curds!

Vito also had really great attention during the demonstration. And surprisingly he maintained a "decent" heel position during the demos which were much much longer than the 10 steps that I usually ask him to heel for. The crowd was unable to distract Vito during the stays and he even retrieved his dumbbell for me minus me asking for a sit at the end since I didn't want to risk him levitating.
Wait, do I see a fried candy bar on a stick?!
During the agility portion Vito showed off his pivot on a box trick as they went through some of the foundational stuff we do with the dogs. He kept his front feet on the box nicely and pivoted his back end extremely fast around! Vito didn't run the courses at all, but between one of the demonstrations I took Vito out and worked with him on some of the equiptment. Apparently Vito is further along than I thought since he had zero problems following me on the small sequences and even did his very first serpantine with no problems!

Lance ran the agility courses, minus the weave poles, with a little more difficulty. The first time on the field Lance wasn't really with me but some how managed to take everything in the right oder. I have no clue how he was able to do so since I don't think he even looked at me. This was quite suprising since I thought Lance would be quite slow and sniffy when distracted. Instead Lance was in full gear and sprinted his way around the course. The second time through (about 2 hrs later) the course was changed and it was a bit harder. Lance really wasn't focused that well and right at the start almost took off back the tent. Lance missed several jumps completely but I just kept going. He definetely didn't do the serpantine part at all. Oh well, at least now I know where Lance is at in his agility! On the positive side he had a great performance on the full height teeter and didn't do a flying corgi on the dog walk!

Overall I'm extremely proud of how both dogs did. They met a lot of people and were extremely patient about being poked and proded every 2 seconds. For such a long day they had great work ethics and Vito didn't even freak out once :)

Mango  – ( September 2, 2009 at 4:54 AM )  

You must be so proud of your little angels. I feel better knowing that even Lance doesn't always get the weave poles. I tend to do a couple and the shoot out towards a more attractive obstacle. I hear I might get to learn the teeter totter this week.

I think Vito is very clever and will be ready for big dog agilities soon (momma says I might not even graduate myself again this week, uh oh).

Kisses,
Dexter

Honey the Great Dane  – ( September 12, 2009 at 7:12 PM )  

Wow - those public demo events can be so challenging for dogs to cope with - the noise, crowds, constant handling by strangers, having to perform under stress, etc....your two sound like they handled it so well! No wonder you're proud!!

Hsin-Yi

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