Today we went on an outing, but this time we took the dogs with us! We loaded up in the Dog Bus and scooted over to Waterford Lakes to start generalizing the skills we have worked on this week to the real world. After a great time training we took seats on the patio of Panera Bread with our dogs to lunch. We work on teaching the dogs not to beg for food, as well as reinforcing laying down and relaxing, all very important skills to know.
In the afternoon we cooled our paws and went swimming! Some of the dogs are really starting to enjoy swim time and are uncovering a hidden love!
Today started with some strong foundation training! Basic commands like finding the Heel position, sitting and starting to learn how to walk on a loose leash. These are all considered basic commands but knowing these few skills will greatly increase the likelihood of a dog staying in a home. Learning commands are not a “fix all” solution for problematic dog behaviors; however, having a window open into communicating with your dog can absolutely help.
In the afternoon, while the kids and dogs take a break from training our friend Mari from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) came to visit bringing with her a trainee, Dreyfus. Mari discussed with the kids the differences between Emotional Support Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs and how to be responsible when making the choice to label your dog one of those if they truly are not. Then we were given a demonstration of some of the skills that Dreyfus knows such as opening doors, closing drawers and picking up different shaped objects.
Day two is going to be an intense training day! Yesterday afternoon the youths spent time with each dog deciding which one would be right for them. So today starts the bonding and training process of camp.
The children choose the dogs based on the strengths and weaknesses we discuss with them and sometimes physical characteristics come into play too! The dog’s personality compared to the child’s personality also plays a role in the decision. The youths will build a relationship with the shelter dogs and help them grow to be wonderful companion pets one day! Let’s get started!!!
Today Camp Doglando went to Orange County Animal Services and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. This is an important start to camp; it contributes to the kids’ understanding on the issues of pet overpopulation, how and why dogs end up in the shelter, what happens to them if they are not adopted, the difference between Animal Services and the Pet Alliance, and evaluating our environment to understand its impact on nurturing appropriate behavior.
As we begin camp with our rescue dogs it is important to think about what issues found the dogs in this situation. Was it an owner who was moving and did not consider their dog in the move? An owner who underestimated their dog’s activity needs? Was it a dog who “could not be housebroken”? Or was it a dog who was “too difficult to train”?
Many things could land a dog in a rescue, some through no fault of their own. These are all important issues to ask of yourself before deciding to find a dog that can fit into your family for its whole lifetime. Opt to Adopt, and make sure you make an educated decision when choosing the breed that is right for you.