It’s the Christmas Party season, and that goes for dogs as well as humans. On Wednesday night the Glasgow Dog Training Club held its party for puppies and beginners, so it was going to be a big night for “Big Les” (as Biggles is now known in the park!) and a quiet night in for Beanie.
We knew there’d be a fancy dress competition and with a name like Biggles, there was only ever one choice of outfit for our little boy!
We got a tip-off about the flying jacket from Kirby’s Mum (available in various sizes from PetPlanet), and we already had the cap from an old toy. He seemed to like the jacket, but I think the cap cramped his style a bit.
Still he didn’t mind it so much when he won third place and a big bag of Puppy Markies in the fancy dress, despite some stiff competition from his Beagle chum Tara.
She’s even got a poo bag stashed in her pocket – now that’s thinking ahead!
After the fancy dress was over it was time for games! Perennial favorite “pass the parcel” put in an appearance, except in this case every layer of wrapping had a tasty treat in it so nearly every dog came away with something. The lucky winner – Tara – got a whole box full of gravy bones. I think Biggles was a little jealous..
but he needn’t have been, because Musical
Chairs Sits was up next, and he was about to win some more treats of his own.
He flew through the first few rounds of Musical Sits with ease, which was not surprising. His concentration seems to be better than Beanie’s was at the same age, and for that reason he’s already made a big impression in the puppy class even though he’s only been going a few weeks. If you’ve got a treat in your hand, you’ve got his full attention!
As more players were eliminated, the sits were replaced by downs, but still our little boy was “in the zone”. He almost went cross-eyed trying to keep the treat in focus.
When only three pups were left one more round was held to decide the winner, but this time a sit-down-sit-stand-down-stand had to be performed. I have to admit I doubted that Biggles could pull it off, but he did, and finished first to claim his second prize of the night. What a clever boy!
He didn’t fare so well in the next event though – party tricks. We haven’t got round to teaching tricks to either Beanie or Biggles as yet. We did buy a book containing 101 tricks, but so far the only time it’s seen use was when Beanie ate the front cover. Maybe if she’d eaten up to page fifty she’d have a decent repertoire. As it was, the competition was won by solid performances of old classics such as rollover and give-a-paw:
Happily Biggles still got a little bag of treats for being a good sport!
The true highlight of the evening though was a visit from Santa Claus. I guess he’s going to be so busy dishing out presents for the kids on Christmas Eve that he had to schedule pets in a couple of weeks earlier.
Biggles wasn’t fazed by the bright red outfit or big bushy beard in the slightest. He marched confidently up to Santa and politely took his present – a soft, squeaky dinosaur.
The evening ended with a big raffle draw with some super prizes:
The very next day, it was Beanie’s turn to party. We’d got her a Santa costume for the fancy dress, and it seemed a little unimaginative compared to some of the others:
Tess wore a superb Snow Man outfit..
..although it was kind of let down by the pants
Nevertheless, Beanie dialled up her cuteness enough to get third place and bag of tasty Burns food.
She came very close to winning the obedience competition too. She was up against a number of dogs from the Advanced class, but she gave Susan her full attention..
..and almost made it through to the final round. In fact it was human error that scuppered her chances. The remaining dogs were set the challenge of staying in a down while the handlers ran back to their seats and performed a recall. With all the running going on around her Beanie almost broke out of her down, but Susan repeated the down command from across the room and Beanie went straight back into the down position. Unfortunately, neither of us had understood that the recall was to be performed as soon as the handler was seated. Little Beanie obediently stayed put while the other dogs ran back to their owners, and when Susan realized our mistake and called Beanie she leaped to her feet and sprinted across the floor..
..but even she wasn’t quite fast enough catch the other dogs. She was out, but she’d had a good time and plenty of treats and that’s what counts.
Unfortunately the next event posed the ultimate challenge for our little girl. A red disk was placed in the middle of the floor with a tasty piece of sausage on it. Handlers had to recall their dogs across the sausage without any illicit nibblings. What a nightmare! Asking a Beagle to run over a sausage without eating it is like asking Superman to cross a room filled with green Kryptonite.
Must.. not.. eat.. forbidden sausage!
She really did her best, but a sausage is a sausage, and Beagle’s gotta do what a Beagle’s gotta do.
The shutter on my camera was set to 1/160 of a second for that shot, and 1/160 of a second later the sausage was in Beanie’s stomach. Of course, looking at it from a Beagle’s point of view, Beanie was the one with the brains. After all, a sausage in the tummy is worth ten in the fridge.
Before long Santa stopped by for another visit, and I noted that club official George had exited the room mere moments before Santa’s arrival. The same thing had happened the previous night. Just coincidence?
Is this Santa’s secret identity?
Regardless, the appearance of Santa provoked an entirely different reaction from the older dogs in the intermediate and advanced classes versus the pups from the previous evening. There was a lot of barking, and as the dogs were brought up to receive their presents many of them – including Beanie – were a little unsure about Mr. Claus. A piece of sausage and a nice toy quickly changed that of course.
The initial reaction to Santa was ample proof that all those books that stress the importance of the “socialization window” early in a pup’s life have got it right. Having said that, if you get your pup outside of the festive season you might feel a bit silly donning the red coat and white beard just to head off any Santaphobia.
As before, the evening ended with a raffle draw and buffet. The club staff should be really proud of themselves – both evenings were superb fun for dogs and owners alike :)
See more pictures from the Glasgow Dog Training Club Christmas Parties on their blog. You’ll find many more pictures from those two fantastic evenings at the links below: