March 02, 2009

Cobo Hall weekend

Very tired pup! But he did a great job raising funds for DSA.
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This past weekend was a very busy one!! Dazzle and I drove to Detroit on Friday and checked into our free room at the beautiful Ritz hotel. All of the staff was wonderful and welcoming the entire weekend. The Ritz Dearborn allows dogs and I highly recommend it if you need to be in that area!
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Saturday started early and we went to Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit for a HUGE dog show where we were in the Dog Scouts of America booth to help raise funds for DSA and tell people about the organization. Dazzle did great with all the crowds, noises and commotion. Our booth was right under the track for the "People Mover" (a rail system to get people around downtown, like a small train.) It sounded like a plane flying over about to land on the roof when one went past! He never even reacted to it. We rode it on Sunday, more about that below. The first thing we did after getting settled in, was to make a round of the vendors! I wanted to get that out of the way before I got too sore. Lots of great booths with plenty to see. We were stopped several times by people wanting to meet Dazzle and inquire about his breed. He was soaking up the love :-)
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Doing the whole body wiggle while meeting some kids:

Back in the booth, he played/wrestled with a few of the other dogs there. Then he put his training from earlier in the week to good use. He raised over $50, mostly $1 at a time! Joanne and Jill took some short video of him working for me:

video

I was borrowing Lonnie's wheelchair because it was the most comfortable chair and it kept me off my feet, thus saving my knees/back/neck from feeling worse than they did by the end of the weekend. Dazzle wore his Dog Scout uniform on Saturday but Sunday, when the video and photos were taken, he refused to wear it so I let him work "naked" :-)
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Saturday night, we ate at Frisch's but it was REALLY cold in there. Even Dazzle, who was laying on the cold tile floor with 2 other service dogs, was shivering. But everyone at the table was having fun catching up on what has been happening since we last got together. LOTS of laughs and fun. I put my coat over him to try to warm him up a bit and once he realized it was warmer, he laid back down and went to sleep. I cranked up the heat when I got back in the van for our ride home though! That evening we had a board meeting for DSA in my room and Dazzle mostly slept in his crate while the other dogs (other than 1 young border collie) were crashed out around the room. :-)
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He is starting to feel his age/hormones though. He growled a couple of times at the other dogs that got too close to "his" water bowl (that wasn't really his, but he had just gotten a drink out of it) and in the hotel room when they got close to his crate. I'm hoping my reaction to his behavior will help put an end to that. I'm going to re-read the book called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson though :-)
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After a short night of tossing and turning, Sunday was check-out day. I packed up all our stuff and loaded the van. Thank God for the cart that let me roll everything rather than have to carry it! Back at Cobo Hall, I dropped off our stuff in the booth and then went up to the people mover level to take Dazzle for a ride on that. He was a bit off balance at first with it's stops and starts, but then learned to balance himself. He was taking treats a bit hard, but other than that, there were no signs of stress. He was looking around, tail and ears were up and he was just sniffing whenever the doors opened at the various stops. I was very pleased with his comfort with such a strange experience for him. It was just like a train with the track clicking sounds, screetching of the tracks (very loud at times) and the feeling of it's movement. We rode the whole loop around downtown and back to Cobo Hall.
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After a trip outside, we went back to the booth to start more fundraising and promotion of DSA. Dazzle raised a total of $183 during the weekend! A great start toward his Community Service badge. He did get rather worn out though and took a nap in a tent Lonnie brought as a prop. It was way too small for him, but he seemed to really love it. I had brought his large rectangle crate made of the same super lightweight material and style, but he wanted to be in the small square tent :-)
I enjoyed watching the Malinois working in the next ring for the Michigan Search and Rescue team. They had a big set-up to demo their dogs abilities. Dazzle spent some time watching them too, but was able to focus on me when I needed him to do so.
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Things that really distracted him were balls being bounced by people going by the booth (someone was selling tennis balls the size of a basket ball!) and when some of the other people in our booth were working on retrieve training in the booth behind us. I had to ask them to stop so Dazzle could continue to take money. There was also, near the end, a child about 10 years old that ran up to him in a way that every footfall was slapping against the concrete floor. That spooked him and he didn't trust that kid. He did bark at him a couple times too. I had the kid give him several treats on a flat hand and had him drop his dollar donation on the floor instead because Dazzle wouldn't take it from his hand. He was fine with the kid's brother and all other kids after that though. So I think it was an isolated incident. There were other times when I thought he might react (various sounds or actions) and he took them completely in stride! So I think he did a fantastic job with such long days in a crazy environment!
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I drove back home Sunday night, but had to stop and take a short nap a few times. I hadn't slept well in the hotel and was quite tired and sore from the activities all weekend. Dazzle slept the whole 5 hours home and was ready to play by the time we got there. I checked my email for anything urgent then went to bed.
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This morning I took him and Buster in for their Chiropractic adjustments. Both did well, though Dazzle was very wiggly and gave the vet a workout :-) He's 47 pounds now. He did need the adjustment, so I'll continue with them every couple months at least till he's finished growing, then we'll see how he's doing and how often he needs adjusted. The vet said his jaw and head needed a good bit of adjustment. I figure it's because of all the ball flattening he does and all the high speed retrieves he does when I throw the ball across the yard.
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I had been waiting for his new harness to arrive before I left on Friday, but ended up leaving before it arrived because I wanted to get to Detroit at a decent hour. I did get some photos of him in his new harness today though. I colored the grass again and sent the photo to the company where I bought it. Who knows, maybe he can be an example for their website! It's a really nice "V" front harness called a Yurkiw named after the officer that designed it for tracking/protection. I like it for a service harness and the company put heavy-duty velcro on the back of the patches they sell so I could add them to the harness. I originally ordered a Med. size, but it was too big and I returned it for the small he's wearing. I also think I need to loosen the strap between his legs so the chest piece can be a bit higher.