Dog-friendly hotels provide an interesting training environment, and few hotels are as dog-friendly as the Ritz-Carlton at Bachelor Gulch in Beaver Creek, Colorado. (The hotel even has it’s own mascot Labrador, Bachelor.) Here are some of the challenges you’re certain to encounter with a cute dog in a nice hotel.
1. AGGRESSIVE PETTERS
These are the folks who fairly dive in on the poor (lucky) dog and, in no time, have him sprawled on his back like a cockroach receiving affection. Meanwhile, the handler hangs onto the leash and tries to pretend like he doesn’t notice what’s going on.
The Opportunity: Learn to identify these people from a distance and beat them to an interaction. Before they can close in, ask if they’d like to pet the dog. Then tell them the dog has to sit first and ask the Petter to try to use calming pets on the head and shoulder rather than going straight for the belly.
Or, you can just return the favor by heavily petting the stranger or his/her companion. I’ve never actually tried this, but I think you should.
2. EXTREME TEMPTATION
Small children, good food left about, and a constant stream of interesting strangers in close proximity—these all pose a stiff challenge to even the most focused dog.
The Opportunity: The lobby is a great place to practice some basic, leashed obedience commands like leave it, watch me, sit, and down.
3. LONG, EMPTY HALLWAYS
Late at night or after a few drinks, these can seem like a good place for some off-lead time. Hallways provide environmental cues (i.e. he can’t wander away) to stay close, even though the carpet smells of everyone who has passed in the last several days.
The Opportunity: Practice an off-lead heel with the added distraction of the smells. You’re still in a confined space where you can get hold of him quickly if you need to.
4. IN-ROOM TIME
There’s no end to the trouble a dog can cause in a hotel room.
The Opportunity: Crate training. Hopefully you’ve used a crate straight through from the first day you’ve had your dog. Crate training your dog is critical for any sort of travel, whether you’re in a car, on a plane, or in a hotel. When your dog is in the room, he should be in his crate. If he can stay without your closing the door, even better.
This article originally appeared on Outside K9, the former dog blog of Outside magazine, on April 17, 2009.