Author Archives: Sheyla
We started by polishing our leash walking skills with lots of new distractions at the walking circle next to the Aventura Mall. Baby strollers, joggers, bikers, construction and traffic sounds made for some new environmental stimuli. A short 20 minute walk was good to get the initial jumpinness and excitement out of the way.
From there, we went to the Bark Park at East Greynolds Park down at Biscayne Blvd. It was a LOT of fun, and the Campers got to chase each ther around, wrestle and practice some basic behaviors in smaller Training Teams. We worked on Recalls (as shown on our Collar Games homework from last week), Sits and Downs and even started on some Stays. It’s always good to keep training fun and short, so training at the park allowed us to do some impromptu practices while they played, then more formal work and play sessions.
After play breaks, it was time for some “real life” experiences. We headed to Bal Harbor Shops with the Campers, so we could walk around the stores, socialize them, and do some short training sessions. The Campers were a SENSATION! People would stop us to pet them and take pictures. We entered the Nieman Marcus store and were trated like royalty! All the Sales Clerks had to stop and compliment the pups. It was a lot of practice and GREAT socialization. They got to see the Koi fish and turtles swimming in the water fountains, admired the Holiday decorations, sat calmly by us while we “rested” on a bench, and of course pose for several pictures! Many of the mall spaces were under construction, so they go to see workers carrying equipment and listen to the hammering and banging nearby.
All in all, a wonderful experience for all!
Train & Romp at the Millers!
For our third Camp session we were generously invited to work with the Campers in a very nice and secure yard belonging to one of our students: Debbie Miller and her Boxers Sam & Delilah. The place is very spacious, with lots of grass, walks and even a pool! There we were able to let the dogs romp and play first thing in the morning so they could meet two new friends: Snowy the 4 month old Maltese boy and Leelah the 3 month old Bermese Mountain Dog.
After play time, we set up a few crates and took turns working and training with each Camper at their level on different exercises according to their particular needs. We were able to film and document our training so you will soon be getting new homework videos on things like crate training, sit and down stays, settle or place, door manners and even food bowl manners. The Campers all had a chance to rest in the crates and practice being quiet and relaxed in them.
After the intense training sessions (with short potty breaks interspersed) the dogs were mentally and physically tired so it was time for another romp and play session to unwind!
The Petsmart Experience!
From the Millers we headed to Petsmart for a fun Shopping visit! The pups were admired by shoppers and store personnel and got lots of attention, treats and even petting from strangers. The store was buzzing, so they were in the pressense of lots of people and strange dogs. They all got rides on the shopping carts and walks on the isles among all the distractions. Once we got staged in one of the isles, Paulina was official “Shopper” charged with getting the dogs acquainted with the unfamiliar surroundings and walking them around the isles, while Sheyla was the “Cart Wrangler” in charge of keeping the Campers calmed and sitting inside the carts 😀
It was a very busy day, full of fun, learning, new sights and experiences – exactly what Adventure Camp is all about!!!
For today’s Camp Adventure we took the dogs to an off leash dog park, to burn some energy, socialize and romp with their fellow campers, and then do some much needed one-on-one training. We let all six campers roam free, and they quickly went into a fast paced game of chase and tag. It was great to see how some of our shier campers are starting to enjoy their play times and socializing with the pack. That’s what camp is all about! We worked with each dog on some of their basic behaviors like sits and downs, and some of our more advanced campers got to practice their stays, and go to mats. We also did some one-on-one work on their loose leash walking – rewarding them for walking on our left side, keeping a loose leash, and encouraging them to sit at our left when we stopped moving.
From there, we took the dogs to a playground so they could practice what they had worked last week with Liane out in the real world with kids who weren’t necessarily doggie-savvy. It went WONDERFULLY! The playground came to a complete stop as all the parents brought the toddlers to meet and socialized with the Campers. The dogs took it all in very well, and we were very happy to see their polite responses and how even those who had been a bit unsure or shy last week, were happy to take in all the attention. A great experience for both kids and dogs!!!
For lunch break, we took the dogs to Miami Squeeze Juice Bar, where they got to hang out at the terrace and experience the sounds of traffic and people nearby . They did great and even took a potty break near the adjacent railroad tracks. We are making sure the younger Campers, get lots of potty opportunities, and so far, everyone has been clean in the crates in the car, and have been happy to use the grass areas for their business. We also try to consistently give them a group cue to “Go Potty” when we stop at a good spot, and reward and praise those that do their business, so they learn that will be their command to “use the facilities” 🙂
Our last stop of the day was out at the Hollywood strip mall. We walked around the shops and restaurants with the Campers, getting lots of compliments from the people there. We made a longer stop at a playground area for a final training session, so we could take some footage for your homework videos. We worked on the different stages of the “Sit” and “Down” according to the level each Camper could work at. Please take a look at these Homework Videos, and try and experiment with your dog and practice these two commands. Keep training sessions short, 5 minutes at the most, and always end in a positive note. And don’t forget to send us feedback on how your training is going and how the Campers are doing at home!
After a quick morning greet and workout, we loaded up our Campers and headed over to Brickell Road Area to do some training and sightseeing. We walked the dogs calmly around shoppers, café tables, and along the sidewalk. They all got quite a bit of practice for walking on leash, and a lot of exposure to strangers and different sights. Stores are setting up the Christmas decorations and preparing for the big Thanksgiving sales, so the area was buzzing! The dogs behaved wonderfully and didn’t seem at all fazed by any of the new sights. Crossing the street, or walking between tables with a well mannered dog is no problem and no one seemed to mind the dogs’ presence at all!
After our training fieldtrip we headed on to Key Biscayne for a beautiful and fun beach day. The day was sunny and bright, and the waters were calm and clear – a PERFECT beach day! The dogs got to walk in the shore, play in the sand, practice some training and manners in a new environment and even behave in the presence of many strange dogs and people. We took a minute for our picnic lunch, so the dogs got to practice settling by themselves while we ate – a BIG distraction! Many of our campers showed quite a talent for swimming, and others were VERY enthusiastic if not too graceful! It was a fun and educational day for them, and we hope they went home exhausted 😀
Were your dogs happy and tired after their first camp day? Were they well behaved? One of the most well-known “dogmas” of dog training is that “A TIRED dog is a GOOD dog!” and we always see proof of that with our campers!
Please share with us how your dogs are doing at home, especially any changes you noticed on their behavior that might be related to camp. We would love to hear your comments. How is your dog when he/she arrives home after a camp day? How does he/she do during the week?
To introduce all our campers and friends from today, here they are in order of appearance:
Bentley the Beagle Mix; Hobbie the Terrier Mix; Ares the Yorkie Mix; Lego the Golden Doodle; Max the Cocker Spaniel; Sky the American Eskimo; Kohengi the Chinese Crested; and finally, Diva & Dude the Cocker Poodle Twins!
Camp today was very busy. The Campers got to meet and interact with one another, plus, they met the members of our Dog Connection Team: Paulina De Velasco and her husband Ludovic Teurbane, as well as Sheyla Gutierrez and her husband Dennis Martinez. We also had a visit from a very dog savvy two year old and her pregnant mother (who also happened to be one of our photographers for today!), which was a great socialization experience for many of our campers. Some were initially unsure with this new experience, but all were happily taking treats from them and very well behaved around them by the time they left. They also got to experience their first “real world” walks and training sessions with their fellow Campers, practiced some much needed handling and grooming – and of course, played, played, played! Many got their first introduction to clicker training (some used objects to interact with, while others learned a few behaviors) and response to commands. Training sessions were kept short and fun, and in between they got a chance to interact with each other and with us.
Some things we were paying special attention to today:
Initial Greeting – dog language consists mainly of body language cues and while most dogs are born with an understanding of this language, too much contact with humans (who depend mainly on verbal language) and too little contact with their own kind, can cause dogs to loose fluency. This is why it is so important to expose dogs to other dogs, and why we always supervise greetings and play time, to make sure everyone is being polite and learning proper manners.
Handling – Today we took particular care in touching the dogs all over, holding ears, tails, paws, carrying them in our arms and hugging them. We wanted to see how our Campers reacted to handling and identify any problem areas that we might want to focus on during camp. We will continue to practice handling them, and add elements of grooming to this routine as Camp progresses. We are also looking to work on biting and mouthing, particularly in response to our handling, since most of the younger Campers have been teething and getting a bit mouthy.
Clicker & Obstacle Maneuvering – we introduced the sound of the clicker and let our campers explore different objects, surfaces and obstacles. The purpose of this was not only to get them acquainted with the clicker, but also to work on their confidence, balance and coordination.
Obedience – we started assessing the level of training our campers have and how they respond to commands when in the presence of distractions. For those with no previous training, we started working on Sits and Downs, as well as Loose Leash Walking. Others got a review of their basic behaviors around other dogs and new people. We walked all of them around the neighborhood in teams, to assess how noise sensitive and nervous around new environments they each were, in preparation for busier public places that would be more stimulating.
Socialization – we paid close attention to how our campers reacted to their first introduction to us, and each other, especially to those people they had never met. We took advantage of having baby Lien with us, who at the tender age of two is very used to handling dogs and great at training them! For those Campers who share their homes with children, Lien offered us a chance to see them in “action” and assess any potential problems we could work with. For Campers who were not used to children, this offered a unique opportunity for a positive exposure to them.
It was a wonderful, fun-filled day and we enjoyed it thoroughly – we hope our Campers did too!!!!