It took endless hours of training, beginning with 15 minutes a day before each meal.

The 15 minutes of training don’t stop until 12 obstacles are completed perfectly.

Through training efforts, Trap, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever who lives in Mineola, recently earned the American Kennel Club All Breed Top Obedience Dog of the Country Award of 2020, a trophy he and his owner, David Gannon, worked hard to achieve.

At Gannon’s age and at Trap’s age, it’s hard to win the award.

The duo is used to attending dog shows, usually twice a month. In each competition, basic exercises are tested in two classes, which each require a 200 score to win the class. To pass each class, Gannon trains Trap in multiple courses, including an agility course.

After learning he and Trap won the competition, Gannon said he was excited and proud that the hard work paid off.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the black tie celebration was canceled. As a result, Gannon was mailed the trophy they earned.

This was no easy feat. It was all accomplished by two things Gannon learned in life — precision and discipline, which have equaled obedience.

A Navy veteran, Gannon served 10 years as an aircraft pilot and served two tours in Vietnam. They were supposed to last six months each but turned into a year for each tour.

During his time in the Navy, Gannon said he learned discipline, something he now teaches Trap.

“The aviation business teaches you precision. It taught me what precision means, you get results when you use precision,” Gannon said.

Trap is named after the landing place of an aircraft carrier, which is normally called a trap.

Gannon also has his own studio, Top Dog Training Academy, where he holds classes each week to teach dogs to be obedient and to win championships.

Gannon opened the studio about 40 years ago when he joined the Tyler Obedience Club. There, he discovered there were not many people who train in advanced work in obedience training for competitions.

“In Tyler, they teach dogs not to jump on you, to wait to go through the doors and just basic pet manners. Here, I teach them how to do the exercises, and how to win,” Gannon said.

Two of Gannon’s students have recently finished the obedience trial championship, something Gannon said he is very proud of. The students attend his class every Wednesday.

Gannon’s students come from Shreveport, Louisiana, Dallas, Lindale and Tyler.

The Navy veteran does not charge for his classes. It’s something he does out of charity.

Gannon’s passion for training was discovered 50 years ago in Pensacola, Florida. His first two dogs were poodles.

When someone volunteered to give his dogs puppy lessons, he was inspired by their willingness to give time and effort. So he wanted to do the same.

“I have no clients. I make no money from doing this. I do not charge from this. I help the people who need help to be obedience competitors,” Gannon said. “I don’t take pet people in. If I did, I would charge them, but this is for competition obedience, precise stuff that really doesn’t apply to daily stuff.”

Since having his two pet Golden Retrievers, Trap and Bailey, he has taught them obstacle training, retrieving, tracking and field and swimming.

There are an endless amount of awards in Gannon’s training studio hung around the walls.

Last year, Trap and Gannon attended 40 shows even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. From those shows, Trap won about 30 awards, each of which are hung in the studio.

In two weeks, the duo will return to competition in Wilmington, Ohio, for the American Kennel Club National Obedience Championship.

If Trap wins the competition, there is a $2,500 prize. The top 10 will be recognized and the winner will take home the title.

“Only one in the country each year gets that, and I’ve never had it,” Gannon said.

Gannon said he is hopeful Trap will bring home the championship to Mineola.

“There’s just nothing like a trained dog,” he said.


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