Monday, February 1, 2010

Canine Learning Experience Allentown PA

This past weekend Melissa and I traveled to Allentown PA to attend the Canine Learning Experience. Kudos to the Lehigh Vally Kennel for organizing such a wonderful educational event for the public. Not only was there demonstrations on service dog training but also demos on search and rescue, puppy manners, an obedience and rally match, eye clinics and tattoo clinics. Many breed clubs had educational booths where the public could meet different breeds and see the dogs at different stages of development. That St. Bernard pup may seem very appealing at 3 months of age....but you may think twice about acquiring one once you see the size of an adult....and realize that dog may not even fit into your car! Or you may never have thought about having one, but meeting a mature adult and talking to the knowledgeable owners you realize you do have the space, the time and it is the dog for you.

Melissa has been to training workshops with me, she has been to busy hotels.....but this was more crowded then anything she had experienced. I took advantage of a new and different place to practice some of her skills, one of which was 'take a bow'.

The public were allowed to bring their own was a learning experience for everyone. Some owners did not realize that their dogs should not pull them to greet other dogs. By human standards having a stranger rush up to you, would be rude, and so it is with dogs. The patience and knowledgeable people at the breeds booths, along with those presenting, helped the new dog owners about dog-dog etiquette.

Melissa saw different breeds...some she had never seen before. Some had wrinkly faces, some were very large. Some she preferred to pass with several feet between them rather then pass inches from their face. I did not insist she walk past anything scary. She is learning about just how big and different the world can be. I wanted this to be a fun experience for her.

Melissa at times found herself face to face not only with one exuberant dark faced dog but several. Whoa....Borzoi greet slowly, until they get to know another dog. This was too much for Melissa, she didn't understand why other dogs didn't follow dog etiquette as she has known it. She would stop and not want to walk another step towards the unfamiliar dog. No problem. We either walked another way, or I asked if we could have some space to walk through. Melissa nibbled some freeze-dried turkey heart as she walked by. A dog who is so over-whelmed may stop eating, I am glad Melissa was still comfortable to walk with me and nibble her favorite treat. I did resort to carrying her through one very crowded area. Melissa was face level to all the people...she enjoyed being up close and greeting. Everyone was very helpful and understanding of the young puppies.

By noon the building was full with spectators. We gave the puppies a break; fed them a light lunch and then they both took naps in their ex-pens. Another learning experience for puppies...being able to eat and sleep in different venues.

There were six Borzoi representing the Borzoi Club of Delaware Valley. Two 5 month old pups, several adult females and males.

The public was able to see the size difference between a male and female....which can be a difference of 20 to 30 pounds.

The booth was decorated with scenes from Russia crafted by Ariel Duncan, a slide presentation of Borzoi doing various activities played continuously for the public to enjoy and learn more about our breed.

Educational materials were available such as Borzoi magazines and the books Being Borzoi and Forever Borzoi. The latter is in the final running for the Dog Writers Association of America annual award. Joy Windle is the force behind both books. We will know mid-month if Being Borzoi wins the top award! Good Luck Joy!

It was a fun day, great to visit with old friends and meet some new. What did Melissa think of the long day? She was ready to take another nap.


  1. It had been 12 years since my last K-9 LE at Allentown, and I was very happy to be able to participate again. Melissa was a real treat, as was the other pup, Valerie's Pablo. As might be expected, I'm a fan of "education" in all its forms and this was a nice, fairly laid-back model. Again, many thanks for brining Melissa. And more thanks for your good wishes for success at DWAA for FOREVER BORZOI.

  2. I was impressed with the amount of educational opportunities available to the public. The Club did a wonderful job putting it all together. Everyone involved was so friendly and helpful the entire day.

    Fingers crossed for the finals at DWAA.