Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Teller's Canadian Adventure

Teller is now 11 months old (on December 6th) and is becoming quite the show dog - and he seems to enjoy every minute of it. How he can be so wild and bouncy all of the time yet he can stand like a champion when the judge goes over him in the ring. Thanksgiving weekenend we were in Montreal (making three day trips between home and Montreal - about 2.5 hours each way - longer with border delays). I was up and driving during hours I generally choose not to recognize as legitimate waking hours, I even saw the same border patrol man at the Canadian border every morning! The show was at the Olympic stadium - what a HUGE place!! In addition to being a dog show, it was a pet expo event for the public. There were two bouncy castles (one right next to the grooming area and the other next to the obedience rings), ponies (yes, real live ponies) just outside the breed rings, snakes, rabbits, fish, birds, hamsters...you name it - and all of the accessories that go with all of those critters. It was a mad house - so loud, so chaotic - a lot of dogs didn't handle the building very well at all. I left Murphy at home with my parents each morning and while he was pouty about it....but he would have been so stressed up there in that building.

This was Teller's first weekend going into the ring with a handler - Graeme came highly recommended to me by a few people and while the first day was a little bumpy - Teller totally warmed up to him and worked really really well for him. They had 6 rings of conformation two rings of obedience, flyball and agility - Like I said - utter chaos!

I thought the ponies were going to be an issue for Teller - I also thought the bouncy castles would be an issue - I needn't have worried - honestly - Teller continues to shock and amaze me, every step of the way. I brought him over to the ponies and he looked at them and then looked at me with the funniest "yeah so?" look. The ponies winnied and he just looked at them - again, what's the big deal mom? So we moved on to the bunnies - no biggie there either. Birds were interesting, but no more so than the throngs of people milling about. He seemed to enjoy watching agility, but basically took everything in and nothing phased him. So I brought him over to the handler's setup to drop him off and went over to sit in the stadium seats near the breed rings. From where I was seated I could see the handler's setup and the rings - the grooming area happened to be setup 10-15' away from one of the bounce castles. Teller is getting groomed on the table, they had 2-3 dogs going at any given time and each member of the team moved from dog to dog - everyone who worked on Teller ended up giving him a smooch on the nose - though I didn't see them kissing the other dogs :-)

As I watch the castle inflate (and the walls flop all over the place) I notice that some of the other dogs aren't handling the moving castle very well - Teller was between people and just sat there on the table, watching the castle and watching the other dogs freak out. He never flinched. My brave boy. Saturday just as they were heading into the ring the loud-speaker came on screeching something in french - almost all of the dogs freaked out at the screeching - I leapt out of my seat - but again, Teller didn't care. Teller rocked the ring - he was 2nd out of 6 on Saturday - really moving nicely, stacking nicely.

Sunday we got robbed - the judge was AWFUL and put up the red dogs - Teller was 4th of 6...Teller worked his best on Sunday (figuring the handler thing out) and was really brilliant - and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom - he really was super - and we had so many nice compliments on him all weekend. The folks up there really seemed to like him: his temperment and personality - loved that he did what he was asked to do - once he figured out what the expectations were he just got better and better. The tail was an interesting development - when he's happy it goes up - when he's really happy...well, let's just say that it looks like a big bushy white peace flag in the air. Teller really liked all of the folks on the team as a matter of note - as he stood with me holding the leash he's looking up at Graeme - smiling and doing his best standing still wiggle. So different from my Mama's boy Murphy who would never ever work with someone else he didn't know. Just a different dog I guess. Teller makes everything look so easy - he really really really wants to work and I find myself asking for things I haven't taught him and more often than not he does them...a right finish (sitting in front come around behind me and sit in heel position)? OK mom - and he does it - I swear I've never taught him to do that!

In Murphy's world, he is really enjoying his work as a therapy dog - now that we're not trialing every weekend, we've been trying to get to nursing homes twice a month - and then he's been reading with kids when it doesn't conflict with something else we have committed to. Therapy work is really his forte.

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