Pet Partners does not permit full costumes on animals for Halloween but I had an idea about what to do for Benny. Over the year we have worked with Julian, Benny had always been the perfect therapy dog. He is calm, quiet, steady. He never jumped or ran or barked. He sits or lies down and waits for Julian to ask something of him. He is the perfect gentleman.
People have actually asked me if Benny is a “real dog.” But he knew when his vest was on he was working and was not to do real dog things.
But for Halloween I decided he would meet with Julian as a “real dog.” I wanted to show Julian how when we removed his vest, he knew he could play and be a fun dog. I also wanted to have Benny moving around a lot in anticipation of the Autism Speaks Walk on Saturday. Even though they request “no dogs on the walk,” people always seem to show up with dogs. And not always well mannered dogs. So should Julian come across a barking, jumpy dog I wanted him to be able to deal with it.
So Benny was our “demo” dog!
As soon as Julian unbuckled his vest and we took out Benny’s favorite toys, he was in play mode. He wanted to “go get” and then “bring” and then drop it.” Julian learned to give those three commands and a game of Fetch was started.
Per Pet Partners regulations, Benny was always on a leash but he was able to run a bit to get the toy and bring it back. He never barked (oh well!) but he twirled and showed Julian how he plays by himself. Benny can throw the toy a distance away, then run to get it and do this over and over! This was one of our most fun sessions ever and Benny thoroughly enjoyed showing Julian how a safe dog plays and has fun.
Julian got the hang of it quickly and when we had played for the hour, I told Julian I brought a special treat for Benny. We normally do not give him treats when working but this was such a special day. I brought one of his favorite cookies with me.
I showed Julian how Benny has to Wait and Watch before he gets the treat. He has to be Down for thirty seconds and look at me. Julian did the counting and both boys were at their best. This helped Julian hold his focus as well. He had to really concentrate to follow what we were doing with Benny and help Benny Pay Attention. Then Julian gave Benny some water and we walked outside together.
What a grand Halloween it was. And I think on Saturday if unruly dogs are around, at least one little boy on the walk will be able to cope.