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!!!!