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 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 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!

Jun 152016
 

Now that the dogs have the basics down, it’s time to work on the “three D’s” — distance, duration, and distraction.  The dogs can “sit” — now they have to sit for longer times (duration), sit while the handler is further and further away (distance) and sit even if someone has dropped kibble on the ground next to them (distraction)!  Not every dog is great at this at first, but we are all learning!

Everybody did so well today that we went on our first field trip with the dogs — to Twistee Treat!  Everybody had a great time and enjoyed their ice cream — even the dogs, who got “Pup Cups” of their own to enjoy, topped with a dog treat.

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Jun 142016
 

Today introduced the basics of training.  Dogs and campers learned to do “crate exercises”, which is a fancy term for learning to come out of the crate politely, carefully, and only when asked.  Campers introduced the dogs to the language of learning — treats! — and brought them homemade tug toys made from old shirts so they would not be lonely in their crates.  Dogs and campers both learned about crate exercises, “sit”, “shake”, and “down”.  The dogs had their first bath, too!  We also learned about how working together with everybody else creates a web of responsibility — when one of us drops our part of the web, the whole thing falls apart!

A few lucky dogs even got to go home with their campers tonight!