Our test this weekend was a trip to the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St Paul) with our canine companion. The event was the Frozen Four hockey tournament. Monte has always loved hockey, sometimes too much. The energy at the Xcel Energy Center was electric, pun intended. Constantly aware of his surroundings, Monte was excited with all the action on the ice as we initially took our seats during pregame warm-ups.
My initial reaction was that we may have made a mistake. We had another ten hours to spend in the arena over the next few days. However, we seem to have had a breakthrough and Monte relaxed after a couple minutes and calmly laid his head on my foot. This was his required position during hockey action. He remained settled throughout the game, unless we were asked to let someone pass. Sitting on the aisle, we had ample opportunity to practice getting back into position. I was pleasantly surprised by his demeanor during the game and as he greeted fans between periods.
Other than a couple warning barks in our hotel room to alert us to loud noises, Monte handled the hotel experience. No issues with riding in packed elevators, hallway noises, or sounds of the city. Transportation was usually on foot, however Lisa opted to "practice" one bus ride to avoid a three mile walk back to the hotel after dinner. After walking all day, Monte enjoyed the ride too.
The greatest distraction, and only real issue were the pigeons. They are used to being feed by their primary predators (humans) and are generally slow to move which creates a seemingly easy target for our "bird" dog. Since the weather on Saturday was so nice, we spent over an hour in a park observing the pigeons and squirrels. Monte was calm, but I would definitely not say that the bird issue is resolved.
Overall, Monte behaved like the thirteen month old dog that he is, which is an improvement. Hopefully this is our breakthrough event. Only time will tell.