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Taking part in a WCSS demo at the Game Fair by David Chilvers

I have been part of the WCSS demo team at the game fairs and country shows for the past few years, always with an older, more experienced dog. This year however I had 6 month old Ice with me as well as Hebe the older girl.

Taking a puppy into a demo ring opens up a whole new set of challenges, scent, lack of cover and numerous distractions from the crowd, noises and various food items dropped in the ring are heightened further for a puppy. I was also conscious that Ice is still a puppy and everything we do needs to be fun, she has to think she is playing when she is actually learning. Each day presented its challenges, but we learnt together as the weekend went on and got our act together by the final day.

Friday was a whole new world for Ice, all our training at home is in a very quiet controlled environment, so to take her in the ring at the biggest game fair there was a risk. She did well, distractions were there but she coped well and responded to my interventions. The short demo consisted of using tennis balls to excite her and sending her for small retrieves which in the whole went well although I think a spectators burger may have been more interesting than me at one point. Day two saw us working in the centre of the ring and close to her brother Rye who was also doing similar great crowd pleasing work. This time they spotted each other and did what puppies do best, chase each other round and round and play fight. Although not the demonstration we were looking for the crowed loved to see puppies being puppies and having fun. By day three she was coming to grips with the environment and performed fantastically, some short hunting around my feet searching for a tennis ball and a few short retrieved delivered with gusto and a waggy tail was the perfect way to finish Ice’s first time in a demo ring.

By David Chilvers

Photo by Denise Barstow

Photo by Heidrun Humphries

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