In an effort to socialize Neko to strange people and dogs (no insults intended!) I decided to take him to a dog show. As it was going to be his longest car ride so far (2hrs), I gathered up all the requisite trip "things": vaccination record, food, water, security Bunny... and headed on down the highway.
This was a small show located at a cattle auction site. I parked the car under a tree and we procceded down the gravel road leading to the main arena. Talk about excited! The smells, the voices, the various "dog" sounds.... Ooooo! His head was up, ears perked, tail waving like a flag and I swear he was actually prancing in anticipation. Then we got to the main arena....
Well, through the wide cattle shute we went and as we got to the other side, Neko had his first look at how MANY dogs he had been hearing. He went from "Mr.Confidence" to "where can I get away...?" in a matter of seconds. I walked him over to a table outside an unused ring which he promptly skittered under.
We had been there a few minutes, when a friend came over to greet us. Neko LOVES people and hopped up to be petted. A couple good pats on his side, and we were all standing in a cloud of fur! He must have lost half his coat right then and we (humans) were having trouble with dog hair up the nose. Poor Neko!
Shortly after that several other people came over to pet him. He decided that this show thing wasn't so bad after all and finally relaxed. By the time the Mals were in the ring, he was back to being excited about the whole affair. But that presented it's own problems.... so he spent a good deal of time "woowoooing" and me telling him "shush"! He was particularly hard to handle when he spied his mother and one of his kennel mates. He did meet them after the show and made quite a spectacle of himself trying to play until he finally fell asleep on the arena floor.
All in all it was a good first experience. Neko likes dog shows, not so much for all the dogs (since he can't play with them), but for the people! Oh, how he loves all that excitement, petting, & FOOD! As for being in the ring, he does much better than me... He does seem to know the difference between conformation classes (sometimes difficult to handle) and being in a real showring (where he behaves well). And yes, he has gotten a few ribbons and trinkets.... now if I can only figure out how to get the points!
Poor Neko is usually a little "pooped out" after being in a show and socializing, which allows me to browse the shops with a well-behaved dog. He has a habit of belly-flopping on a floor to nap with all four legs spread out like a "dog-skin" rug. Many people walking past the booths are surprised to find that the "rug" is really a dog! It's definately an icebreaker when he lays there rolling only his head from side to side on the floor or gets up to do one of his many "mooching" routines. Maybe I should charge the shopkeepers for every passerby that he collects?
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