Jun 292017
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!
Jun 272017
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!

Jun 242017

Today was a very busy day!  We started off with more training — it takes a lot of work to train a dog!

Then we talked about challenges we and the dogs might be facing in our training and what we can do to help overcome those challenges.

We talked about generalizing behaviors, which is how you relate “tricks” like “sit” and “down” to real life as you move them out of the training area and into the real world.

Last night we made tug toys for the dogs as “homework”, and today we played with them!

We worked outside and started to add an “automatic sit” whenever we stopped walking.

Over lunch we talked about having a fundraiser for a charity, who we could raise money for and the sorts of things that might contribute to a charity.

After lunch — more training!  And then FINALLY a field trip — we took the dogs to Twistee Treat and had a public outing in the shade.  The manager even came out to take a photo of everyone!

We can’t wait to see what Monday brings!

Jun 222017
Today we worked more with the dogs, increasing distance, duration, and distraction and working with the pedestal. Then we worked on our reflexes by trying to catch a piece of paper against a wall with a stick. (We need to work more on our reflexes…)
We went for our first walk outside, which was very hard, as there were lots of distractions and also it was very hot. At the end we were all very tired and it was a great time to let some of the dogs, carefully, off-leash in a fenced in area so they could run at full speed and explore. They loved it! Then we took a long lunch break in the air conditioning and the dogs napped.
After lunch, we worked on training some more, and then we FINALLY got our puppies into the pool! It’s good for puppies to learn to swim because it builds confidence as well as increases physical ability. It’s good for humans to swim because it is HOT outside! After the puppies were done, we put them back in with the air conditioning and then WE went swimming!
Jun 212017

Today was a very busy day. It started with a potty break and then went right into crate exercises, and then loose leash walking — outdoors! Being outdoors is always harder than indoors, because there’s so much more to distract the dogs.

After lunch all the puppies got baths and nail trims. Then we made “Adopt Me!” bandannas while the puppies dried off. Once everybody was beautiful and pretty, we took our formal photos for the dogs’ web pages!

At the end of the day we learned about successive approximations by “training” a bicycle to move while steering it only with pieces of string. We weren’t quite as good at “training” the bicycle as we were at training our dogs, but we learned a lot.  We can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

Jun 212017

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.

Jun 242016

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!


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.