East Texas Dog Earns National Title - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/06/06-Mineola

East Texas Dog Earns National Title

It's an honor like no other. A dog owner in Mineola has no problems getting his dog to do what he tells him to. His golden retriever, Skater, is 2005's "top-scoring obedience champion" in the country. It's given for an entire year's worth of work.

The seven-year-old dog has won enough ribbons to fill three walls. Skater's owner, David Gannon, runs the "Top Obedience Training Academy" in Mineola, where he keeps newspaper clippings and other mementos of his dog's accomplishments.

For his latest title, Skater beat 500 other obedience champions. Not bad for a dog Gannon was told couldn't win. "People said this dog can't be a breed champion, because he doesn't look good enough," said Gannon. "Then they said, there's no way he's even a competitive dog in obedience and so I said, 'OK, but I'm going to do the best I can with him.'" And that, Gannon has done. Skater knows verbal commands and can also act on signals.

Gannon says he hopes to keep competing, and winning, for years to come. "We haven't won it all but we're trying," said Gannon.

Gannon used to spend about an hour a day training skater. Now, he only needs about 15 minutes a day.

Skater will go head to head against other obedience champions next week in Tampa at a two-day competition. He has also been chosen to be an alternate at the prestigious "Crufts International Obedience Show". That will be in England in March.

Oralia Ortega reporting, ortega@kltv.com

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