- Camp Day Ten – Encore and Graduation
The last day of camp is always bittersweet. We have some of our most memorable moments, because the dogs are by now used to working with us and trust us to help them through strange spaces, and we can do things like visit public beaches or — as we did today — visit senior care homes and interact with the residents. Imagine trying to do this on Day One, with the dogs fresh out of the shelter! But today everyone was happy, peaceful, and enjoying receiving kibble from complete strangers.
We also visited Full Tummy (without the dogs), to meet the people and animals who benefited from our bake sale fundraiser.
Then we showed off everything we’d learned in the last two weeks in our graduation ceremony! Despite rain bucketing down and rattling off the barn roof, everyone did very well, both dogs and kids. We’re always so happy to see how everyone has grown and changed in only two weeks.
Afterwards came the sad part — we had to say goodbye. Some of the dogs, including Xena and Harry, were adopted right out of the graduation ceremony! Some of the dogs, including Girl, had meet-and-greets scheduled after graduation. Anyone who did not get adopted does not need to worry — Pet Rescue by Judy is there for them until they do find their forever home, which will be EASY with all the work our campers have done with them!
It’s hard to say goodbye to the campers, too. We all learn so much from each other. Hopefully we will see you all next year!
- Camp Day Nine – Kings Landing
Today started off with some more work on “down” (adding distance, duration, and distraction) and recalls, as well as some loose leash walking along Colonial Drive. However, we stopped by 10:30 am because the big hit of the day was canoeing/kayaking, with the dogs, at Kings Landing!
After an hour long bus ride we loaded up, three to a canoe, with either two or three dogs with us. There were some people with us who did this trip last year and remembered how to canoe with a dog, and there were some new people who had never even canoed before. Everybody worked together and now we all know how it works!
Kings Landing has a big open space with clear water, a sandy bottom, and a rope swing that you can grab onto and let go and land right in the deepest part of the pool. It also has about a mile long loop of quiet river along which you can canoe and occasionally see wildlife. Everybody at least tried the rope swing, or jumping off the dock, and everybody ran around in the sandy area with their dogs. The larger dogs seem to like the water most — poor AnnaLesa, with her short little legs, did not like being in the water as almost everywhere was over her head!
Many campers took the chance to canoe around the little loop and saw some alligators and turtles and fish and all sorts of birds from the safety of their boats.
On the way home, we stopped at Twistee Treat (for one bus) and McDonald’s (for the other) and everybody got some ice cream. The dogs slept almost the entire way home — what a day!
Tonight we have a SLEEPOVER…and tomorrow morning, graduation day, starts promptly at eight!
- Camp Day Eight – CCI and Greenwood Today started off with some work on the recall — we went out in the Tree Tops area with the dogs on a long line, one or two at a time, and practiced recalls with them. Then we went out and walked along Colonial Drive for a bit, getting better at working through distractions.After that we reviewed our homework, and talked about learned helplessness and how that can affect training.Just before lunch, Mari and Trenton from Canine Companions for Independence stopped by, and we got to learn about how they train hearing alert dogs for the hearing impaired. Trenton alerted Mari to all sorts of noises, including an alarm sound he’d never heard before, and correctly led her to what was making the noise!After lunch we hopped on the bus and rode to Greenwood Park, where we practiced recalls — a little bit — mostly we just ran around and had fun. Some of the dogs were more willing to go into the lake than others — some were just content hanging out peacefully with their human in the quiet.
- Camp Doglando Day Seven – Panera and Lowe’s Today was another busy day. We reviewed previous training and then added “down” on the pedestal, duration for sit/stay, and more finesse on loose leash walking.We walked all the way down the driveway and walked up and down on Colonial Blvd (on the sidewalk!), getting the dogs used to the sound and feel of traffic and then walking in tight formation with other dogs.Afterward, we learned about how stimuli in the environment can affect how well we work with our dogs, and how well our dogs work with us.Then we went to Panera Bread for lunch outside with the dogs! We did a little training there, but mostly we ate lunch and said hello to a lot of nice people who were interested in meeting our dogs. We always refer them to Pet Rescue by Judy!After Panera we visited Lowe’s to expose the dogs to another new environment. We walked around in the lumber department (which was pretty empty) and then moved over to appliances and let the dogs get used to the sound, smell and feel of stove and fridge doors that open, drawers that slide, and anything else we could get to move.
- Camp Day Six – Ocean Sun Brewery Today we worked a lot on training. One of our goals is to generalize some of our dogs’ skills to real life — “sit” is great in the training room, but how can it be useful when the dog is living with us at home?As part of that training, we spent some time outside today and took the dogs way out to the end of the driveway, so they could see and experience traffic (safely!).We also visited Ocean Sun Brewery. The brewery was closed at the time, so no actual brewing was involved, but we got to walk around in an unusual environment and let the dogs experience new sights, sounds and smells so they will feel comfortable going places with their humans in the future.We got a visit today from Miss Janie, who volunteers with Pet Rescue by Judy. She told us a lot about the adoption process and let us know that some of our dogs have potential adopters, and some have meet-and-greets lined up for graduation day! Fingers crossed!At the end of the day we went swimming, this time with both kids and dogs in the pool! It was a lot more work than it looks like — the humans had to do almost all the work of steering and directing the dogs and helping them to learn that they were safe in the water, and explore how to use their bodies to move in water.