Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Meeting the Public

Every year the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association has an information booth at the Washington Sportsmens show. I've been taking a turn in the booth for years. It's great socialization for the dogs, a wonderful opportunity to talk to people about responsible breeding and getting the best out of their dogs, in addition to promoting the PSLRA and recruiting new members.

This year it was hard to decide who to take. Dave chose Thomas - pretty easy decision there. I knew Kiss would schmooze and talk and relate to all those folks with chocolate Labs. Villa was harder to predict. She'd never been to a busy, noisy, crowded venue where all kinds of people want to touch the dogs. In the end, I chose Villa, and Kiss kept Clifford company at home.

I almost regretted bringing her as she lunged, lagged, dragged and pulled, wide eyed and panting, all the way to our booth on the second floor of the Pavilion building. She was the epitomy of the dog trainer's dog who isn't very well trained. gah! Well. Once we got to the booth and I got a chance to work her a little for clicks and cookies, she settled down... mostly.
We were there with our good friends Beth and Keith, and two of their dogs - Jazzy (black, 4 yo) and Chaos (yellow, 10 yo).

Most of the time, we had two dogs out and two resting in crates in the back of the booth. It is very intense for the dogs, and they appreciate a rest after 20 to 30 minutes. Besides, Thomas, Jazzy and Villa wanted to race each other 'round and 'round the booths. That would have been utter Chaos! heh...

This is a very popular event for parents and kids. This year the kids seemed much more polite than previous years. Most asked if they could pet the dogs, then were quite gentle.

We got to hear lots of stories from people about their departed and current Labradors. There is a reason Labradors are the number 1 AKC registered breed - they are wonderful dogs. The consensus from the crowd was that Villa was "cute" and Thomas has a "gorgeous head".

Most of the time it was so crowded at our booth, that I couldn't get photos, or had to get closeup.

We closed down the show on Friday evening, so I got a few clear photos as the crowds thinned out.

Villa was so good! I'd be holding the end of her leash and notice her ears go up and tail start wagging. She'd be looking down the aisle in front of us at someone, usually a young girl, sometimes an adult. They'd make eye contact and have to come in and stroke her head, scritch ears and sweet talk her. She really enjoyed it! She even moderated her wiggly waggly enthusiasm more than once to avoid knocking the very young kids over. Many dogs never learn that skill! Of course, she still knocks me cattywompus sometimes. I must not count.

I must say, I enjoy getting out and promoting Labradors, responsible dog ownership, showing off our dogs (and getting a chance to visit the other booths). I'm also glad when it's over.

Good dogs Villa, Thomas, Chaos and Jazzy!

- Franna


toastyyak said...

I find it just amazing (and way cool) when normally spazzo animals tone down with the people who can't take the energy/excess movement. And you're right - some individual animals never really learn it! Great dogs you've got there.

Christy said...

I miss my lab so much! He's been gone 4 years now.