One of my clients recently had a “Salsa Party”. Not a party with just salsa dip, a Salsa dancing party. She had me come over and stay with her pup Blu while she was getting set up and while the party was going on.
For the two hours before the party even started, I wore Blu out. We first played in the yard for about half an hour. Blu has lots and lots of energy and LOVES to play fetch! She doesn’t always want to drop the toy, so I make sure I have another one ready to throw when she brings the first one back. I won’t throw it unless she drops the first toy; an exchange. She is getting better about dropping because she really, really, really wants to play and if she manages to get both toys, I refuse to play until she gives me at least one. (Also, I won’t chase her… which she really wants me to do.)
Then we went for an hour long walk. Since I’ve been learning training techniques from Blu’s trainer, Charmaine with Collins Canines, I worked on some of those with Blu. Blu’s a very clever and curious girl with the attention span of a gnat so getting her to focus is quite a challenge! She has some fear, so we worked on making the world a much less fearful place with lots of praise and hotdog pieces as rewards. We also worked on her pulling. We did the “stop & start” method, which is just like it sounds. As soon as she starts pulling, I stop. Once she stops pulling, I start walking. This makes for a very slow walk. But since she wasn’t quite as hyper because we started with romping in the yard, she only pulled for a short while then decided to walk with me. She was still sniffing everything along the way, but beside me instead of trying to get to things miles ahead of us.
Once we got back to Blu’s house, her mom was all decked out and looking lovely. I took Blu in for some water, but we still had some more time as the DJ had just arrived and things were still being set up. Since I didn’t want to take her on another walk and the backyard was getting all ready for the party, I got the long leash out and we played for another half hour in the driveway and the front yard. I could tell that Blu, the pup with endless amounts of energy, was getting tired. We went inside & up to her mom’s room where we were going to be hanging out during the majority of the party. We played a tiny game of fetch with a toy that was up there, but she fell asleep almost immediately.
She did have a few moments of waking up to a sudden noise downstairs a bit panicked, but I calmed her down and she fell back asleep. (And I got to work on some writing!) After about two hours, she woke on her own and needed to go out. Now her mom’s room is on the second floor, and while she has no problem getting up there, the stairs are steep and her mom usually carries her down. I decided to work on making the stairs less scary. I set hotdog bits on each stair and coaxed her down. It took about 15 minutes to get her to even start going down the stairs, but once she did, she made it all the way down.
We went out, she did her business and, since most everyone was sitting and talking, I decided it was a good time for her to meet the guests. Since part of her fears have to do with strangers, I led her around slowly while praising and let the party goers, who were willing, give her bits of hot dog. I continued to feed her treats too. She did so well!! By the last person, her tail was wagging and she was giving the offered hands lots of slobbery kisses. What a good girl!