Dog And Trainer Score High At Crufts - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

3/17/04-North of Mineola

Dog And Trainer Score High At Crufts

"Let's go to work. Let's go to work. Here we go!"

They traveled half way around the world and back. But Skater, the golden retriever, isn't feeling a bit jet-lagged. He's ready, like he always is, to make his owner, Dave Gannon, proud, and to show off some of the tricks he showed the judges in Birmingham, England.

"I was as nervous as I've ever, ever been, on the big stage with a loud roar from all the 21,000 dogs in the same building," Gannon said.

The rules at the Crufts International Obedience Show were a bit different from what the team is used to in the United States. But Skater had no problem catching on.

"I really think it was just all Skate carrying me through the whole thing," Gannon said.

Their first time at Crufts, Gannon and Skater retrieved and jumped their way to 10th place and took Team USA to 4th place overall.

"I really appreciate this dog," Gannon said. "He really gave me every bit that he had."

Even the routine that looks the easiest was no easy task. It's called "heeling."

"It's really a lot more difficult 'cause you figure, you can't even walk your dog down the street and have him stay anywhere near the heel work, heel area. He's going to be down, dragging you down, which is what skate does when he's not on command."

Gannon and Skater's work is far from over. They're continuing to train everyday, hoping to be invited again to the most prestigious dog show in the world.

There's no rest for the pair. They're already preparing for their next show in the Fort Worth area in a few days, but Gannon says this one is going to be a lot less stressful.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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