Yesterday was a blast. I made the short jog up the freeway to his breeder's house with him, where we spent the day getting a grooming seminar. I was expecting just a general show grooming info session with some practice, but our breeder went above and beyond, further assuring me that I made the best choice possible in who to get a puppy from (the fact that she is 15 minutes away is an added bonus, of course). Nino's littermate brother was also there with his owner, and we each took our own dog and went over the standard with a fine tooth comb (down to leg angulation and body proportions), assessing our dog's strengths and weaknesses, not only so that we could present them accordingly, but so that we knew what to look for when it comes to potentially breeding down the line.
We then bathed our dogs one at a time, learning a wonderful way to bathe on show days (who knew that show day baths should be different?) Then we blow-dried and "styled" to accentuate their strengths and soften any weaknesses. The most impressive thing to me was the fact that we didn't end up altering our dog in any way. No backcombing, shaping, or crazy products necessary, just a small amount of hairspray in a slicked to hold their hair out of their eyes. Our breeder taught us how to trim their feet as is mentioned in the standard, and let me tell you, it's a good thing Nino is out until January because I messed up both of his front paws
I'm amazed that we got Nino looking so much like a winning show dog using nothing but shampoo, conditioner, run of the mill grooming spray, and a hair dryer. It just goes to show that the crazy amounts of spraying, teasing, flat-ironing, and god knows what else isn't necessary to make a dog ring ready.
It was also incredibly fun to see Nino interacting with his family. I have made a couple short visits with Nino in tow, but we were there for 5 hours yesterday, and he got to spend time with his granddam, both his dam and his sire, his half-sister, his littermate, and a full-sister, as well as the senior Golden Retriever who acted as a grandma to him. Good times ensued. Havs are so fun to watch as they play, there's something so deliberate and gentle about it
I tried to get a good group picture, but with 8 dogs running around, it wasn't easy. The photo with all of the black and white is Nino (bottom right), half-sister (bottom left), full-sister (top left), and mom. Other group photo is grandma golden (in a small dog bed without a single body part outside of it), grandma Hav, and little sister.