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Round of a-paws

32nd annual dog expo was full of fur and excitement in the air

A flat brush ran through Tessa’s long, golden locks with her son by her side as they both got gussied up for the 32nd annual dog expo. Amid the rowdiness of the crowd in Franceschi Hall at Redwood Acres dogs of all breeds and colors were gearing up to compete for their first or hundredth ribbon.

Tessa, a pure bred golden retriever, is under the ownership of Susan Hutchinson who has been breeding and training dogs since the 90s.

“I got my first golden back in 1990,” Hutchinson said. “I’m on my fifth generation of golden retrievers.”

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This is five generations worth of awards and photos, Susan Hutchinson’s life work displayed proudly on this table. | Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Having worked with this breed she has learned a thing or two about how she thinks is best to go about training your dog. Hutchinson has formed a close bond with each of her dogs and that was mainly through training them.

“I’m a firm believer in creating team work,” Hutchinson said. “The more you put in with your dog and create a team, the more you’re going to get out and more of an enjoyment you’re going to have.”

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4-year old Samoyed, Lala was having a rough day at the expo, no pun intended. She often gets anxious around crowds but this year she handled herself a bit better. | Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

She’s not the only one who’s been in this game for a while. Bayard Smith has been participating in dog shows and competitions since 1960 strictly with Scottish Deerhounds. Both Smith and his wife Kris work together with these dogs to train them to compete for agility mainly. Being a dog trainer and handler is no small feat, the Smiths have travelled far and wide for some competitions.

“We’ve travelled all over the country, we’ve been to Ohio, St. Louis, Albuquerque,” Smith said. “It’s usually a four to five day road trip.”

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This deerhound had quite the winning history. Owned by Kris and Bayard Smith, members of the North Coast Kennel Club. | Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Jamye Weseloh has a smooth collie, Cider, who is just eight months old. With her dog being so young she trains him frequently. Cider’s schedule is jam packed with different areas of training to do, especially since his mind is so elastic due to his young age.

“He’s learning nose work, he’s going to start herding lessons, he does obedience and he does show confirmation,” Weseloh said. “Every day we pick one of those and work on it and then later in the day we do another.”

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Australian shepherd, Josie just shy of 11 months was a bit skeptical of photos being taken but finally warmed up to the camera. | Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Cider isn’t the only one with a tight training schedule. All of these dogs are expected to be at their utmost tip top shape. Hutchinson and Smith train their dogs every day as well and the weeks leading up to a competition it starts to amp up and become stricter.

“We have them in agility, obedience training, barn hunt and our youngest is in scent work,” Hutchinson said.

Not many owners shared that their dog had been involved in barn hunt so when Hutchinson brought it up she explained what it was for those of us who aren’t regular show goers.

“Rats are encapsulated in heavy casing and they have to find the rat underneath hay bails and then it’s up to the handler to recognize their signal if it’s an empty tube or if there’s bedding or a rat in it,” Hutchinson said.

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One can’t expect there to be a dog expo without any dog treats. All naturally sourced were these small to large sized knuckles for dogs to gnaw on. | Photo by Cassaundra Caudillo

Walking around the show grounds there were various dogs who were sleeping on plush beds with blankets and pillows. Well deserved rest after a long days work. Congratulations to all of the dogs who took home ribbons this past weekend.

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