Jun 232016
 

Today we worked on loose leash walking some more (it’s very hard!).  Then we added some new tricks — “bed exercises”, which emphasize the dog lying down on a dog bed while the handler works on distance, duration, and distraction; “door exercises”, where the campers learn how to teach the puppies to go through a door politely; and “cone exercises”, or “around”, which teaches the dogs to move away from the handler, go around an object, and come back.  We thought about how tricks like this might be used in the real world — you will hardly ever have to go around a traffic cone while out for a walk, but what if your dog got his leash wrapped around a tree and you could just say “around” and he’d walk away from you, go around the tree, and come back, with his leash now unwrapped?  Cool!

At the end of the day we had a visit from Mary with Canine Companions for Independence, who taught us about how CCI “socializes”, or raises, their puppies to be incredible service dogs.  We got to meet Ralphie, a real service-dog-in-training!

Jun 132016
 

This first day of camp is always full of information and wiggling dogs.  The dogs are in the barn ready when the campers arrive in the morning and immediately need care!  New campers learn quickly how to grab treats, leash a dog, and get that dog outside to potty.  Then the crates need cleaning, and everything needs to be organized!  Campers spend the day learning the rules of camp and then working with each dog so that they can find a dog that suits them.

We went on field trips to Petland, Orange County Animal Services, and the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando so that campers could see how people get pets, why people give their pets away, and what happens to pets who cannot find homes.  We underscored the importance of picking the right pet, not just based on looks but also on needs — both the humans’ needs and the dogs’ needs.  Then the campers and the dogs picked the right partners for each other!  Camp is officially underway!

Campers learn to walk dogs and walk each dog to get to know each other better.

Campers learn to walk dogs and walk each dog to get to know each other better.