Jul 132017
 

This morning we worked hard on loose leash walking.  It is a complicated concept with a lot of parts.  Not only do you have to hold the leash carefully so it does not tangle the dog while still remaining loose, you must present your reinforcers promptly and in such a way that the dog can take them, all while moving faster than the dog and anticipating and guiding the dog’s movements.  It takes a while to get it right!

Afterward we practiced getting our dogs’ attention.  It is surprisingly difficult to get, and keep, a dog’s attention while there are other campers, other dogs, and loose kibble lying around.  This time, we tried to keep our dog’s attention for two minutes, armed with both a toy and kibble.  We got to try different toys and tactics to keep our dogs interested in us.

After lunch we took the dogs swimming — and this time we got to get into the pool with them!  We guided our puppies around the pool, helping them to build stamina and learn to move in the water.  We also made ourselves available to the puppies as a place of safety — they could swim to us and we would support them in the water.  Some of the puppies got a little overenthusiastic and tried to climb us like trees!  We had to remind them that it is not nice to use humans as jungle gyms.

While the puppies rested after swimming, we took a “field trip” to an ice cream shop!

In the afternoon we added hula hoops to crate exercises — allowing us to increase duration, distance, and distraction while giving the dogs a target (the hula hoop) to help focus them (and us).  Then we cleaned the barn, and had a little quiet naptime to round out an amazing day!

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 222016
 

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!

Jun 212016
 

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.

Jun 202016
 

Today we introduced loose leash walking.  The only rule (for the dog) is that the dog should be on the handler’s left side with the leash loose.  There are a lot of rules for the campers to learn in order to teach this one rule to the dog!  It is very complicated to teach even simple things when you cannot use spoken language to communicate.  The campers learned to guide the dogs with their bodies and with food lures, and the dogs (sometimes) learned how to respond to the campers’ movements and the pull of the leash.  (It’s okay, everybody — we all start learning at the beginning!)

In the afternoon we cooled off in the pool.  Now the puppies are learning to swim past the ramp and spend more time in the water.  The campers are learning how to guide the puppies around the pool.  At the end of the day we let the puppies rest on the dock and the humans spent time learning how to dive off the dock into the water and catch a dog toy on the way down!

Jun 172016
 

Today we had some fun on- and off-leash outside, with the campers and dogs learning to play with one another.  We added the “pedestal” to our training arsenal — this is a small raised platform the dog can learn to climb on and off of, and sit or lay down on.  In the afternoon, we brainstormed for a fundraiser to buy food to make meals for the homeless.  (To make 60+ meals, our grocery list started with 18 cans of corn and 18 cans of green beans!)  We decided to have the dogs make paintings we could sell, and everybody ran around covered with paint for a while.

Of course then we had to go swimming!  Today the dogs learned to swim a little further before getting out of the pool.  (This is how you learn to do things that are scary at first — take them in small increments.)  To help them feel safe in the water as they swam, the campers got in the pool with them, and supported their bodies as they learned how to move in the pool.

Jun 162016
 

Today the campers and dogs learned about interactive toys — toys that don’t just entertain the dog, but which require the human to be a full participant in the process.  Dogs and humans were meant to play together!  Everybody tried different types of toys — hiding toys which hid food, toys which made food hard to get, and a strange bell-looking thing which everybody just liked to chew on because it was made of wood.  (Okay, the dogs liked to chew on it — the campers, not so much!)

In the afternoon the puppies had their first swimming lesson!  Camp Doglando has a great, full-sized swimming pool, with a dock to dive off of and a rubber-covered ramp to get out with.  Campers gently placed their puppies in the water and guided them right to the ramp, so their first time in the pool was short and sweet!  Tomorrow will be much more exciting!

Jul 092015
 

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!

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