July 3, 2017by doglando0

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!

Ella and Colton - AS6J1659
Sophia and Harry - AS6J1846
Chloe and Jack - AS6J1833
Rylan and Tanner - AS6J1681
Addison and Xena - AS6J1835
Mary and Gracie - AS6J1737
Ashley and AnnaLesa - AS6J1815
Carlyn and Girl - AS6J1650
Tess - AS6J1736
Audrey and Harry - AS6J1666
Lynsey - AS6J1790
Peyton and Lynsey - AS6J1809
Alyssa and Chance - AS6J1687
Ayla and Softie - AS6J1694

June 30, 2017by doglando0

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!

Peyton Lynsey Victor Chloe and Jack - AS6J0948
Chloe and Jack - AS6J1639
Addison and Xena - AS6J0928
Ayla and Softie - AS6J1076
Alyssa and Chance - AS6J0827
Peyton and Lynsey - AS6J1259
Carlyn and Girl - AS6J0637
Victor and Softie - AS6J1100
Ella and Colton - AS6J1295
Ashley and AnnaLesa - AS6J1610
Lynsey - AS6J0905
Audrey and Harry - AS6J1065
Rylan and Tanner - AS6J1457
Mary and Gracie - AS6J0890

June 29, 2017by doglando0
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.
When we got back we did cleanup and then had some quiet time. Looking forward to another eventful day tomorrow!
Carlyn and Girl - AS6J0466
Chloe and Jack - AS6J0030
Ella and Colton - AS6J0581
Mary and Gracie - AS6J0088
Mari and Trenton - AS6J0389
Ashley and AnnaLesa - AS6J0451
Peyton and Lynsey - AS6J0035
Rylan and Tanner - AS6J0415
Jack and Xena - AS6J0532
Alyssa and Chance - AS6J0461
Audrey and Harry - AS6J0050
Ayla and Softie - AS6J0462
Addison and Xena - AS6J0436
Mari and Trenton - AS6J0366

June 27, 2017by doglando0
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.
After we were done with that, we did chores and took a nap — just in time for it to rain!
Sophia and Harry - AS6J8871
Chloe and Jack - AS6J9197
Carlyn and Girl - AS6J8822
Dominic and Harry - AS6J9319
Group - AS6J9236
AnnaLesa - AS6J9297
Ella and Colton - AS6J8828
Alyssa and Chance - AS6J9329
Janie from PRBJ - AS6J9237
Peyton and Lynsey - AS6J9292
Audrey and Harry - AS6J9155
Addison and Xena - AS6J9207
Ayla and Softie - AS6J9383
Group - AS6J9229
Ashley and AnnaLesa - AS6J8844

June 21, 2017by doglando0

Today we learned a lot about the mechanics of working with a dog.  You can’t just hand a dog a treat — you need to plan your whole motion, including how you present the treat, how you lure, signal, or cue the dog, where you place any obstacles or objects, and more.  If you are awkward or don’t do it right, the dog can become frustrated because treats are not being delivered fast enough, or properly, or even at all.

As a demonstration of this, we all tried to eat donuts off a string without using our hands, like dogs trying to take a treat from a handler.  The string wobbled, weaved, and bobbed, and we had a lot of trouble getting our reinforcers!  This really drives home how much we need to pay attention to when working with the dogs.

Afterward we worked on training with the “pedastool”, a platform the dogs need to climb on.  At the end of the day we had a visit from Rhyna, the head groomer at the Dirty Dog, who taught us how to make decorative collar bows!

Chloe - AS6J6399
Ayla - AS6J6299
Sophia - AS6J6353
Ella - AS6J6274
Rylan - AS6J6311
Alyssa - AS6J6304
Ashley - AS6J6282-cropped
Mary - AS6J6426
Addison - AS6J6294
Carlyn - AS6J6345
Peyton - AS6J6276

June 21, 2017by doglando0

Camp Doglando session I took off to a great start today with a fantastic group of campers and dogs!

Day One is always very full. We learn about Doglando, take a tour of everything, and learn what we will be doing for the next two weeks. We learn where everything is, where we can safely walk our dogs, and how to clean everything.  Taking care of a dog is a lot of work!

We went on a field trip today.  We visited a pet store and two different kinds of rescue so we could learn about how people who want a dog go about getting one.

When we got back, we took the dogs out to potty and worked with them a little on leash so we got to know them better.  Some dogs work better with some people  – we all have unique personalities.

At the end of the day, we chose our partners for the whole camp. This year we picked with no trouble at all.



June 24, 2016by doglando0

WP421873In the morning we packed up our things, tearfully left the puppies at Doglando (no pets allowed at the Zoo!) and went to the Brevard Zoo to see how people work with other animals.  We got to see meerkats and siamangs and even meet some giraffes on the Zoo’s giraffe-eye-level feeding platform.  Everybody got to feed a giraffe a lettuce leaf.  The giraffe’s head was almost as long as some of the campers were tall!

When we got home we went swimming very quickly one last time and then went to work cleaning out the barn for graduation which started promptly at 4:00.  Almost 50 people were there, including everybody’s parents and even members of the community interested in adopting the campers’ dogs.  For the graduation presentation every camper showed a video about his or her dog, and then all the campers got up, got their dogs, and demonstrated all the things we learned over the last two weeks.  Everybody did great, at door exercises, crate exercises, cone exercises, bed exercises and even at loose leash walking!  We have all learned so much!

At the end of the day we paused to say goodbye to our camp dogs.  These dogs come to us from local shelters (in this case, Pet Rescue by Judy) and for two weeks, the dogs think that this is their new life, and we are their new owners.  We are very sorry that we now have to make the dogs sad by sending them back to the shelter, but dogs who have been trained at Camp Doglando always eventually get adopted, and are never sent back to the shelter once they are adopted — they have great training and great manners and every single one of them is fantastic with kids, a wonderful pedigree to get them the best new homes and keep them there.

On the bright side, Bella’s new family was here today to take her home after graduation, and Steven’s family adopted Diesel, who also went home right then and there!  Five other dogs have meet and greets scheduled soon.  Success!

Ayla and Ella with lorikeet - WP421861
Eleana and Justin - AS6J2955
Ella and Hilde - AS6J2448
Kiera and Millenia - AS6J2461
Audrey and giraffe - WP421790
Dominic and Boris - AS6J2918
Sarah and Apollo - AS6J2743
Steven and Diesel - AS6J2616



June 23, 2016by doglando0

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!

Haylie and Bella - AS6J2308
Sarah and Apollo - AS6J2214
Dominic and Boris - AS6J2263
Ayla and Sugar Berry - AS6J2351
Katie and Ross - AS6J2286
Ralphie from CCI - AS6J2381


June 22, 2016by doglando0

First thing in the morning we worked on loose leash walking outside some more.  Then we went to the Bithlo-Christmas Neighborhood Center for Families to deliver the meals we made last night.  Campers brought hot meals and water to people who really needed them.  (Doglando works with the Bithlo center as part of Full Tummy, a program which delivers free dog and cat food to families in need.)

Afterward we drove to the Greenwood Urban Wetland to let the dogs be dogs and to have a picnic in the park.  Dogs who enjoyed the water were allowed to fetch sticks out of the lake while other dogs preferred to play on the shore and just watch.

At the end of the day everyone was so tired we had naptime!

Kayla and Natasha - AS6J1788
Dominic and Boris - AS6J2164
Boris and Natasha - AS6J1946
Ella and Hilde - AS6J1815
Justin and Bella - AS6J1740
Kiera and Millenia - AS6J1844
Ayla and Sugar Berry - AS6J2142
Steven and Diesel - AS6J2171


June 21, 2016by doglando0

In the morning today we worked on loose leash walking some more.  There is more room outside in which to work but there are also way more distractions outdoors!

After we worked on walking outside we went on a field trip to Panera Bread, which has an outdoor space where the dogs can learn.  We worked on pedestal exercises (climbing on and off a platform; staying on the platform until released) and then had lunch.  We even met some nice people who were interested in adopting some of the dogs!

At the end of the day it was back into the pool for more swimming.  Today we went in full circles around the pool and then each camper raced his or her dog to the ramp to get out!  (Mostly, the dogs won.)

We spent the evening making meals for the homeless, which we will deliver tomorrow.  Our fundraiser (we ended up having a bake sale instead of selling dog paintings) was a great success, earning $180 to buy food!  We made chicken, pasta, green beans, and corn, and the leftovers from our bake sale will go to the homeless too.