18 August 2013
Amber at Discover Dogs 2012
Amber at this year's Discover Dogs 2013!
It's been a year since Amber's first visit to Discover Dogs 2012, she was around 8 months + and it was her very first dog event! We could still remember how curious, excited and happy Amber was at that time, sure there might have been some complications and also certain things we may not like about the event, but ultimately we still had a memorable and fun time hanging around and looking at other dogs which is why we had decided to attend this year's event again!
We had already planned to take a cab at the taxi stand near our place and we had a horrible experience! The queue wasn't long (about 10 people), we waited for 20 minutes and there were still 8 people left! Tried calling a few different services and there were literally no cabs around our area, Amber was getting uncomfortable too, panting and fidgeting about in the carrier. We wanted to reach expo at 11am but reached at 11:40am instead, we were supposed to meet Toffee there. Don't understand what is it with cabs nowadays, whether we have a dog or not, they seemed to be choosing people and timing now, would just put busy or even ignore passengers when they flag for cabs. Some even stop and ask where we are going, if they do not like our destination or if it doesn't fit their liking, they'd just drive away. There are even cabs who asked us if we knew the way, if not they would just show an unhappy face and drive off without saying anything, as if we are the driver!
no queue at this point of time
Back to the event, the admission price this year was slightly different, in a good way. Same thing, $8 for owners and $1 for each dog. The only difference was that there were no more nonsense like $4 after 4pm (the tickets pricing for last year), oh and another thing, we also got to enjoy discounts for booking weeks earlier at only $6 per person and $1 for each dog.
Toffee (left) and Amber (right)
The first impression we got from the event was okay, pretty similar to Discover Dogs 2012 in terms of size and layout. Amber was initially excited but doing rather well after 5 minutes, we did not let her interact with any people or dog and she was back to her calm self in no time. We met Toffee and he wore a really cool outfit - Paul Frank shirt and blue jeans! Thinking back since the first day we met him when he was still a little puppy, Toffee had grown really well, but his mind was still a little puppy, it was absolutely heartwarming to see him grow. Toffee was imitating barks, whining a little and kind of nervous, this was his first dog event and we could understand the behavior, he actually reminded us of Amber when she first came last year. Both Toffee and Amber's way of showing excitement is different but their characteristics are very similar - they both love dogs and people a lot, they are also very playful! Even though we tell people that most dogs that came from pet stores are easily fearful, Toffee proved otherwise, that was because he was trained and socialized well as a puppy which helped a lot.
We then browsed the sale booths and saw offers on Zeal brand treats, the guy who was promoting the products explained to us each of the treats, the benefits and use of every one of them. He even let Amber try some of the milk that Zeal was selling, Amber loved it but she was pretty rude, after trying once she pawed at the guy for more milk, he gave it to her, we then asked her to wait before drinking, the guy was impressed, saying that Amber was well taught. After enjoying the good service from the guy, we bought a couple of treats, it was a good deal, lamb ears which cost $16 outside was sold at only $10! We also bought some liver and puffs at discounted rates.
Along the stretch of booths, we also saw Orijen, but the discounted price was even worst than the rates at most online pet stores, we did not buy anything from them. Other than treats stores, there were also grooming booths set up nearby, we did not see any customers at all. All we could say was that businesses at this year's event was pretty bad compared to last year.
(picture just for reference purpose)
After which, we browsed through another stretch of booths that are mostly made up of animal shelters, there were obviously new shelter names appearing, these shelters were already set up in Singapore for quite some time but they didn't make a name for themselves till now. The thing is that I do not understand why shelters wouldn't think of teaming up into a big group, instead they are separated into smaller groups, wouldn't teaming up make them stronger? Most were doing exactly the same thing, to educate others about unwanted pets and then helping them to find a new home, or to collect donations for temporary shelters. My honest opinion - other than money, striving to be the leader of the group and also disagreement, we could not think of better reasons for them not to form into a bigger team, might need more time and research to find out more.
We then brought Amber and Toffee to the agility area, there was a free trial session and we signed up both of them! Upon entering the agility area, Amber was hesitating to jump over the obstacle on the first try. Toffee was doing really well on his first attempt, he jumped over confidently and so Amber followed behind. A lady guided us and taught us how to proceed with the different obstacles, Amber was jumping well after on the second and third attempt so we proceeded to the pole area where dogs had to go in and out of each individual poles, both of them did pretty well too! Then the lady recommended us to try letting Amber jump through the ring buoy, Amber hesitated for a few tries and succeeded finally! The lady praised Amber a lot and we were so happy to hear that, Toffee was doing great too, after our encouragement he actually passed the ring buoy obstacle, we could see that both of them were having fun. Then came the ramp and Amber had absolutely no trouble with the height. Finally, the last obstacle was the tunnel, it looked scary and would wobble when dogs are inside. Amber took 3 tries before succeeding, and after that she just went in and out of the tunnel without hesitation! It was really great experiencing agility trials, we had planned to let Amber participate in courses but it was too far, at west coast when we are actually staying in the east, hopefully one day we can enroll her in one of these agility schools.
During our stroll at the event, couple of dog lovers actually walked over and tried patting Toffee and Amber, we had discussed with Toffee's owner about his state, whereby he is nervous and gets excited easily, with people's attention like hugs and pats would only distract his training. While trying our best to explain our intentions, most understood but there was some that ignored our request and kept saying that the dogs loved them because of their looks, or they have a dog at home or whatever, LOL. Toffee managed to settle down during the end of the event, which was a great improvement in my opinion, because he loves to imitate barks, having him in a dog event can help him to overcome them more easily!
A family suddenly approached us halfway through the event, asking if Amber was fearful, we replied no and she asked us a few more questions, saying that their dog was afraid of everything. They initially thought that their dog was afraid because it was it's first time attending an event this big, I pointed Toffee to them, told them about Toffee's age and explained that it was not the age that makes a dog fearful, it was how owners bring up their dog. We are sure Toffee would've been proud of himself if he understood!
Amber was doing exceptionally well at the event considering the obstacle we had to overcome regarding her rebellious behavior recently, we carried her a couple of times and she nearly fell asleep. We had also wanted to get her some Chris Christensen's brushes and comb but too bad it wasn't available there, which is why we replaced the purchase with yummy Zeal treats.
We really hope that there would be more events like this in the near future, it is obvious that dog events are decreasing over the years even though dog owners are increasing. We hope that you guys can start bringing your dog out, socialize them, have fun at events, buy stuffs! It is okay if your dog is fearful or has other behavior issues, the more you bring them out, the better they will become! Feel free to even talk to us if you see us, we would be more than happy to give you tips :)
We want to take this chance to thank everyone that participated in the event. It was nice having Toffee around, his family even offered us a ride and we are very grateful!
Also to thank those who said hi to us, especially owners who had trained with us, it was great seeing you guys and your dogs, we truly hope to see you guys again at other dog events in future too.
Enjoy your companion, enjoy the process - the training, the outings, the affections, share useful information with your dog buddies and we are sure that the country will be a better place for our furkids!