Sydney’s first Dog Lovers Show

On a sunny day in early November 2014, Sydney saw its first official Dog Lovers Show. We sent Eleanor Langley to check it all out.

08 Nov 2015 By Zookie Comments

On a sunny day in early November 2014, Sydney saw its first official Dog Lovers Show. It's about time, we say, and boasting three days of four-legged fun—the Dog Lovers Show did not disappoint. Hordern Pavilion and the Royal Hall of Industries were transformed into a bustling haven of stalls, pooches and arena spectaculars.

There were stalls offering everything from treats, toys, dog grooming and odour-neutralisers to canine couture and professional pooch photography. Free samples and goodie bags were handed out left, right and centre, but it wasn't just pet lovers and pooches that were having fun—kids looked like they were having a pawsome time at the doggy face painting booth.

Over at the Rose Hip Vital Arena, members of the Farmer Dave Dog Centre were hard at work demonstrating how to build trusting dog/owner relationships through trick training. The stars of the show were thee rehabilitated rescue dogs that formed the Muttley Crew. Mocha the Kelpie was saved from being putdown, and her partner in crime, Ginger, was rescued from a puppy farm. The pair were joined by a German Spitz named Pablo, "the cheekiest dog in showbiz".

The trio performed rollovers, jumped through hoops, and usually did what they were told. Farmer Dave stressed to the audience that even when things went wrong—as they often did—positive reinforcement was important to show that the dogs have nothing to fear. Training is all about increments, by working your way up in stages the trick is actually do-able.

The Muttley Crew ended their show with the race that stops the world. For at least three seconds. The Small Dog Race was a 20 yard hurdle dash. No whips, no drugs, no betting. Just pure fun.

Over at the Celebrity Vet Stage, Dr. Katrina Warren and the Wonderdogs was giving a talk about puppy training. Recognisable from Harry's Practice, Katrina was joined by the equally famous Flynn, who has appeared on multiple Australian TV commercials over the past six years. Flynn was accompanied by three fellow collies—Trick, Dart and Hugo. While Katrina spoke on the importance of keeping training sessions short and always ending on a happy note, the Wonderdogs were showing off the results of such efforts.

Later in the day, the Today Show's Dr. Josie Gollan and her Dalmatian, Pi, spoke about choosing the best dog for you. And if you were still a little unsure, then folks could always visit the Perfect Match booth which helped you discover the dog breeds most compatible with your lifestyle.

Outside in the sunshine, a giant swimming pool, stage and ramp had been carefully erected for Dock Dogs Australia. A simple sport for any pooch over the age of seven months, the competing dogs take it in turns. Their owner throws a toy in the pool and the excited canine jumps in after it. The dog who jumps the furthest is the winner.

The Dog Lovers Show was proud to have the Dock Dogs Southern Hemisphere champion. Blaze is a high-flying mutt who holds the record of 27.7 feet, making him one of the top five Dock Dogs in the world.

The crowds gathered around the pool to watch Blaze and Nadia (a New Zealand Pitbull) battle it out for the top spot. Nadia's bellyflops cooled off crowd members brave enough to stand in the splash zone.

Back at the arena, Farmer Dave was setting up the Canine Sport Triathlon with Alice the white dingo (yes, that's a thing. There's one in Berlin Zoo). First was Scent Sport. Nine identical backpacks littered the arena floor, inside one of them was a q-tip dipped in anise. The dog has three minutes to find it. Dogs have an impeccable sense of smell but it is ultimately up to the owner to trust the dog and read its body language in order to announce which bag has the q-tip.

The crowd was then reunited with the Dock Dogs champions, Blaze and Nadia who were about to put an extra spring in their step as they attempted K9 High Jump. As Blaze and Nadia leapt over the hurdle and onto the raise platform, the crowd cheered louder with every panel that was added to the jump. From 6 feet to 7 feet, and then a stunning 7.6 feet - the highest the K9 team had ever attempted. Blaze looked like he wasn't too sure but had a championship title to uphold and made it over. With the crowd holding their breath, the final panel was added. The high jump now towered over the excited canines. Blaze needed a bit of a boost to make it over the top, and Nadia only just scraped by.

Sydney's first Dog Lovers Show proved to be a fun outing for dog lovers of all ages and the team at Zookie can't wait to see what they come up with next year.


08 Nov 2015 By Zookie Comments

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