Friday, February 10, 2012

Dog-friendly Atlantic City, Part 2: The Bad

today i have the continuation of my little series, Dog-friendly Atlantic City: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.

if you missed Part 1: The Good, you can catch up here.

The Bad


side note: before i even get into the rest of the story about our trip, i need to digress. you may be asking yourself, "self, why in the hell did these people go to atlantic city for a weekend just to sit in the hotel room? that's pretty stupid." 

i realize how crazy that plan sounds, but it was a trip for my friend's birthday party, and the only way i could work out being able to attend was via a family outing. my awesome husband is awesome and awesomely offered to stay in the room with the dog while i went to my friend's dinner. end side note.

i previously mentioned that we cannot crate desmond, which means that we could not leave him in the room alone for any length of time. being trapped in the room meant that our meals came from room service. room service meant that, multiple times a day, a strange person would come knock on our door and enter with food. can you guess what that meant?

no, no. desmond didn't run off with anyone's waffles, but he did go bonkers in regards to the people, like he does when delivery folks come to our door at home. in a hotel room, we have no option other than to hold him back or run into the bathroom with him. either way, the guest is immediately freaked out by the crazy noises he's making and gusto with which he's trying to get to the person.

if you've been following along here--or have a leash-reactive dog yourself--you know that being held back makes things worse for desmond. he wants to greet them; they want to run away. not a fun time. we really need to work on desensitizing him to bells and knocks and arrivals. he always calms down pretty quickly once he is allowed to greet someone (like at home when guests come over), but we know it's not good enough. plus, he's still got his puppy nipping tendency, which we're having a hell of a time getting rid of. add it to the list of things we need to fix...

a new thing i'm trying at home is to bring desmond into a back room and play with him/shovel treats into his mouth whenever the doorbell rings in hopes that he'll start associating the bell with treats instead of OH MY GOD SOMEONE IS COMING OVER OH MY GOD WHO IS IT? WHO IS IT? WHO IS IT?

side note: in my Animal Behavior College classes, i learned that puppy nipping is the type of behavior that is usually seen only in very young puppies--not in almost-2-year-old dogs. when i read this section of the coursework, i actually got choked up and had to stop, because i started thinking about how much those jerkfaces who kept him in that cage messed him up and stunted his growth (physically, mentally, emotionally). i don't know if i'll ever get over what they did to him or how it's affecting him still. it's extremely upsetting on a near-daily basis. end side note.

part of the challenge of being trapped in the room was finding ways to entertain desmond. alas, we are no fools and we brought his current favorite ball to play with, and we were lucky to get a decent sized room with space for him to run. he is so fetch obsessed.

waiting for the toss

not dropping it

after the drop

stopping for a chew

more of his, "i must chew this before giving it back" routine

waiting for dad to pick up the ball

waggy tail

a break to see who that dog in the mirror is

so, fetch does keep him busy for a while and eventually tires him out. thank goodness, because we definitely had the need for a tired dog. more on that in part 3!

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also, here's my latest Examiner.com article. this one's about the WKC show and the new competing breeds, like one mr. alfie. this particular article made it to the examiner.com homepage, which was very exciting. it currently resides not on the main homepage but on the WKC show homepage. i'm not sure how long it will be there, but give a look-see. and in case it has since been banished to the archives, here it is in its permanent home: New breeds competing at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club show

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