Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Pawty that Went to the Dogs

Last weekend, our training facility hosted a party for the dogs and their humans.  Eddie and I attended, though I left my camera at home.  All photos in this post are courtesy of Bev Maahs and Cowichan Canine Behaviour and Training.  There are more photos on their facebook page, which you can reach from their website.

Our first challenge was to get Eddie into the church hall where the party was being held - stairs!  Cement stairs, which are Eddie's scariest kind!  There was a ramp, of course, for accessibility, but it started right beside the stairs so Eddie's reaction was to attempt to bolt as soon as we came near.  Even high value treats were refused.  So, I put him back in the car and went into the party by myself.

Ten minutes later,  I returned to the car, walked him back to the stairs/ramp, and just stood there staring into space and chatting with other arrivals. After a while, his flat ears came back up a bit, his hunched body was no longer belly crawling on the ground, the the rain of treats dropping down were being noticed and eaten.  I backed up the ramp about an inch at a time, and soon he was putting his front paws on it.  More gazing, more chatting, more treats, more inching up the ramp,  and the back paws were on - and, wonder of wonders, he suddenly trotted up the ramp like he'd been doing it all his life.  He hunkered down again when we came to a turn in the ramp, but still made it into the hall.  Yay, Eddie!

And we were just in time for the games.  You remember Christmas Party games, don't you?  Musical Chairs, Egg and Spoon Race?   Of course, at a Christmas Party for the dogs, there are slightly different rules:

Egg and spoon relay race:  Participants (dogs and humans) line up in two equal lines.  Humans have their dogs leashed and the loop on the end of the leash is slipped over the owner's wrist.  About ten feet in front of each line, the leader places a chair.  Another ten feet further, places a second chair.  Leader brings out a carton of eggs, cracks one to show it is raw, and hands a spoon and egg to the first person int he team.  Participant must carry the egg on the spoon  using the hand that has the leash looped around it. Dog must demonstrate loose leash walking by walking with owner around the first chair (if not using treats) or the farthest chair (if using treats) without the human dropping the egg. You can't hold the egg onto the spoon with your hand! (In actuality our eggs were boiled, but we thought they were raw until yours truly dropped the first one! And no, it wasn't Eddie's fault. His loose leash walking is stellar. My hands are not) .  This game is also good for testing your dog's ability to "Leave It" as the egg tumbles to the floor.  Eddie did that well - others got the egg almost before it hit the floor!

Musical chairs:  Chairs are placed in circle facing outward - one fewer chair than humans.  Humans walk with their dogs clockwise around the circle of chairs while the music is playing.  When the music stops, the human must first get the dog to sit before the human sits in a chair. If the dog stands back up, the human has to stand back up as well, and someone else can steal the chair as long as their dog is sitting. When all chairs are taken, leader counts to ten - any dog breaking the sit before then means the round is still on and the chairless person can try to claim the chair. Once the round is complete, the person who didn't get a chair is 'out' and a chair is removed for the next round. Continue until there are two people/dogs and one chair - the winner is the person to claim that chair after getting their dog to sit (and stay in a sit).

Musical Chairs with Dogs
All photos courtesy of Bev Maahs
Cowichan Canine Behaviour and Training

Musical Chairs with dogs
At the end of the pawty, we were all called outside and watched as Santa came down the road with a Bernese Mountain dog pulling a cart full of presents for the dogs!

When there's no snow for the sleigh,
Santa has to improvise!

Eddie says hello to Santa and his reindog

Eddie got a gift from Santa ....and not a moment too soon.  Eddie is now on Santa's Naughty List because Thursday stole my lunch from the dining room table when I got up to answer the phone.  How the heck does an 18" dog, who doesn't hop onto chairs, reach a plate on a dining table top?  From the way Allie flew out of the room like greased lightening, I suspect she may have had a paw in it.  But she's already on Santa's Naughty List for repeatedly - and I mean REPEATEDLY - tearing apart the Christmas centrepiece I made for the coffee table and flinging the artificial flowers and greens and cones all over the living room.

Riley is still on Santa's Nice List.  Don't screw it up, Riley, you have only two more sleeps until Santa comes.

1 comment:

georgia little pea said...

Whoever dreamed up the doggy version of the games should be commended. They sound so fun! I bet everyone was rolling on the floor by the time they were over (I mean the humans).

YAY for Eddie, getting up that ramp. I see more stairs and elevator training in his future. He's come such a long way with his training though, hasn't he? Do you really think he's formed a pact with A CAT? Hmmm.

Have a happy Christmas Jean, Eddie, Allie and Riley! I hope you get exactly the holiday you love and enjoy. Big snuggly hugs from Georgia and me! X