Friday, October 1, 2010

Dinner with the Dogs

Sixteen dogs, over 25 people, countless dishes of delicious food - do you think it's possible for all of that to be in one room without mishaps?

We think so. In fact, we know so.

On Wednesday evening, we held our annual Dinner with the Dogs. Puppy raisers and the dogs-in-training met in the big conference room at Keystone Children & Family Services so the dogs could practice table manners during a meal. We hold a potluck-style dinner in the conference room rather than go to a restaurant so we have more control over the environment and can set the dogs up for success.

The food was delicious, and the dogs did a wonderful job! During the meal, you wouldn't have known that there were 16 dogs in the room. The dogs lay under the table and practiced becoming "invisible." Even the young puppies did a great job - which in turn means that their puppy raisers are doing great!

When we're teaching table manners, we often wear our treat pouches or keep a cup of kibble at the table, so we can reward the dog for good behavior. If the dog is in a nice, quiet down-stay, we will reinforce that behavior by giving him a treat. Because there were so many other distractions at our Dinner with the Dogs (smell of food, lots of people and dogs), our puppy raisers used power treats like cheese whiz, chicken, and hot dogs.

Check out these photos of some of the dogs and their table manners:

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