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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!