Wednesday, January 26, 2011


MAXMOM here...

After getting permission from the principal at our local primary school, Toby and I set off to go on his first school visit and to walk around and interact with the childen on the premises. On arrival we discovered that their annual inter-house swimming gala was in progress.

Toby was about to experience a ‘baptism of fire’. Indeed this was the perfect opportunity to ‘test’ my young Golden pup and to assess his response to the noise and the very hyped–up environment. I personally felt a twinge of nervousness. I had no idea how Toby would react!

I parked the car in the busy street, grabbed my bag and opened up the back for Toby to jump out and join me. I’ve taught him already to wait for my instruction before he ventures out of the car. Whenever we travel to new venues like this, it is interesting to watch Toby’s momentary confusion at the moment I open the boot.
 “Where am I? What’s this, Mom?” he seems to say.

Soon, he is his tail-wagging self and on my command, hops out of the car.

Another habit of his is to give two distinctive barks of greeting/announcement as I close the door of the boot.
“Yep, I’m here! I’m ready! What are we doing today, Mom?”
Our arrival coincided with the exit of some of the first graders from the main gate at the school. They’d obviously been the first to swim their races in the gala and were allowed to be collected by their parents. The street was therefore full of these little ones and Toby and I weren’t given half a chance before some of them descended upon us. My old experiences of training Maxdog in similar environments proved very valuable. This was the moment of Toby’s test...

A little girl by the name of “Tegan” was one of the first on the scene with her mother. “Can I touch the doggie?”she asked excitedly.

If you have any problems seeing this video, you can view it by clicking


I’ve learned through these interactions with children that it is wise to put a dog in a ‘down stay’ position and only allow the child to interact with the dog when the dog itself is settled. Toby dropped to the floor obediently and I then allowed their interaction to happen naturally. One has always got to be cautious with children and animals (for the various obvious reasons). This was no different today as this was be one of Toby's first serious interactions with children.

“Tegan” was euphoric. Her mother told me that they didn’t have a dog at home. I must say, I was inwardly tearful as I watched the two of them interact. Toby is a natural! It is more than obvious that he is going to adore children! I hesitate to say this, but he is even better than Maxdog was at this stage of his young life. He’s gentle and aware of my commands whilst interacting with them. You will notice all this on the video of him and Tegan.

After meeting Tegan, we ventured down to the swimming pool itself. The gala was in full progress.
It was extremely noisy – Loud announcements were coming over the public address system, there were shots being fired by the starter gun, children screaming, singing and cheering. There were hundreds of people milling around. Toby was often surrounded by children who hugged him, patted him and asked me endless questions.

We stayed at the school for about an hour. Toby was extremely comfortable with all the goings on around him.  Quite frankly, he was having the time of his life! I’ve learned over the years that  one must be conscious of the length of time which you are requiring your dog to 'work' and should restrict it to under one hour - especially when it's their first experience. When the hour was over, I made a point of retreating fast. This we did and Toby left with a positive experience overall. We came home for a fun game of fetch in our own swimming pool

All in all, I am truly delighted with Toby's response to his first school visit.  I reel reassured that our task in training him up for "ANNIE" is well within our reach.
And I mustn't forget to say a special “THANK YOU” to “TEGAN” for helping Toby with his first steps on this journey.
We have 119 days to go.
Sending lotsaluv to you all,



Bouncing Bertie said...

Toby pal, gotta warn you about one of the pitfalls involved in working with young children, especially pretty little girls.

The danger is that they might 'out-cute' you!!

Toodle pip!

Becky Andrews said...

Toby and Maxmom - great work!

MySpecialDoggies said...

Caryl - you are truly blessed to have such a wonderful doggie like Toby. He's a natural!

Great job Toby

Nadine & Neeli
Angel doggie Apples (1994-2010)

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hi Caryl! I enjoyed hearing Toby 'talk' and you and Tegan 'talk' too!! It's a very sweet video! I love how Toby is so relaxed and taking it all in stride! It's also a credit to you to know when 'it's enough,' and ending the visit.

I do know what you mean about dogs and kids--Most of our dogs I would and do trust with them. However our girl Sheba who came to us at a year old came from a home with 4 young children--Something no doubt happened because she is very, very nervous around them, so I don't allow her around kids--I just can't take that chance and only allow her to interact with adults, which she just adores...

verobirdie said...

Such a good boy! and the way he looks at you, pure adoration :-)

Pip said...

What an adventure you had, Toby!! I hope you had fun, I suspect you'll be getting a lot of attention.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Oh Toby what a fun day! We love those little munchkins.
Benny & Lily

♥I am Holly♥ said...

What a lovely adventure! Watching the video was delightful! Toby is so beautiful and so very smart! Lots of love, Holly and mom

Rob said...

Well done Toby.

The Heartbeats said...

Of course Toby might be better at some things than Max. Who do you think is whispering hints in his ear? Anyway, precious video and Toby does watch you adoringly.

This Annie thing is going to be a piece of cake!

Mamma Heartbeat

Angel Ginger Jasper said...

What a darling and what a treasure Toby is. I think Max will be looking and will be so proud.. Toby you are gorgeous.. Hugs GJ xx

Mrs. JP said...

Bravo, BRAVO!!! Toby acted like he goes there daily. What a charmer he was with Tegan. I'm so glad that she got him to "talk." I bet she is still talking about him. I just love your Toby,,,he's gonna be a natural on stage and I think you are having fun too!

Sheila and Bob said...

Yep, Toby is going to do very well,you can see it in his laid back manner,
The video is just priceless.

Sheila & Bob

Homer said...

Tobeeee!!! We love the video! You are such a good boy! I agree with Mrs. JP that Tegan is still talking about you! Awww...


sprinkles said...

I love your accent! (Maxmom's, not Toby's!)

The Bumpass Hounds said...

Hey Toby and Maxmom,
GReat outing and social interaction. Patience is a virtue. Our Jubal is like that.

Pepsi the Lazy Bum said...

That's a great adventure you had there, Toby! I love how you talk to Toby, Maxmom! GReat video!

PeeS: King Toffee, I'm sure I have much to learn from you, Your Majesty!


Cheyenne -Millie said...

Good Job Toby! We think you are a really nice wolfie! We hope you continue to enjoy interaction with children!

Milo and Alfie Marshall said...

We loved the video. We cold see how sweet and yet slightly unsure Tegan was, when Toby barked. She coped very well ~ and Toby, well he was a super-star!
What a wonderful positive thing to do, because both the children and Toby benefitted. That can only be good.

Martine said...

Dear Caryl,
Your video is so sweet. Both Toby and the little girl are gorgeous. It's great to hear you and Toby talk.
Hugs from Alsace.

KB said...

Wow, your video was great! Toby is so calm and knows his "stuff" so well! I'm amazed at his self-control at such a young age - no doubt lots of that comes from your hard work with him! It also is the influence of all that you learned with Max. I think that each dog trains us to be better prepared for our next dog... So, in theory, they just keep getting better behaved with each generation!

Tweedles -- that's me said...

Tobys interaction is so beautiful.
It gives me chills to see how calm he is.

Scout 'n Freyja said...

Toby was the PURR-fect young gentle-dog - did we expect anything less? Of course, little Miss Tegan - well, she can come home with me any day! What a special sweetie pie!