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!!!!
For this camp session we visited Paws in Motion’s agility training facility once again. For many of our campers, Paws in Motion has quickly become a favorite field trip location, and they have advanced in their agility training quite nicely. Some have started to master the Teeter Totter, DogWalk and Weavepoles which are quite advanced obstacles. For some of our campers, like Bo and Sofia, we can easily say that Agility can be counted among their favorite camp activities – they definitely seem to be naturals at it! For our newest campers, this was an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the equipment and learn to use their bodies. Its amazing to see some of our Giant Breed campers like Tiny, Branson, Kitty and Petta, learn to use their bodies and navigate the different pieces of equipment. Agility definitely helps teach them confidence and coordination!
The Paws In Motion facility is very nice and air conditioned, plus it offers a safe enclosed space for the dogs to play and romp. We decided to not only take advantage of the agility equipment, but also take the time to practice some manners and obedience training with the whole group of campers at once. We also took short one-on-one training breaks with each dog to work on specific issues that were unique to them. It was a wonderful and educational day. After all that training, the pups had a chance to play and socialize with each other. We decided to separate them into different groups, so we could work with them during the play sessions. A very important lesson for every dog, is to be able to respond to commands, even under high levels of arousal, and what is more arousing than playing with their fellow campers? We made sure to let them romp and wrestle, then step in and call them off to practice some sits, and downs, to make sure they could respond and lower their arousal levels.
All in all, a wonderful fun filled day! I think you will all enjoy the pictures and videos that Paulina has prepared. Finally, we would like to thank Tracy Hannah from Paws in Motion for allowing us use of her wonderful facility and equipment – Camp certainly wouldn’t be the same without it!!!
Our main training sessions today were at Kennedy Park in Coconut Grove. We used long leashes of 10 ft or more to work distance but still keep close control of the dog. The exercises we worked today were definitely more advanced, not yet real life but closer. We worked longer duration stays and eve a bit out of sight, with the dogs tethered to a bench while their class mates practiced Recalls around them. We had a Trainer working with the Stay group, while the rest worked the dogs on their Recalls one-on-one. Tethering the dogs and keeping them on a long line at first is not only done for safety but also so we don’t allow mistakes. Once you give the command to come, your dog doesn’t have another option except to come, even if they feel they’d rather go play with his-her buddies on the pack or check out some of the other people, dogs, and squirrells that are visiting the park. Excellent exercise as there is 100 guarantee they will come, they will be rewarded , and then they can go play again. Lots of fun and good things all around!
We will keep practicing this crucial command in every future session of Camp. The goal is that they can be off leash, playing with other dogs or distracted with other things, and then when we can call them, they should be ready to leave everything and come to us. We will make the exercises harder in stages, working up to our final goal as the dogs are successful, always keeping their safety as a priority.
We are currently on our 6th weekly session of our Fall Doggie Camp and it has been quite a success. Our campers have enjoyed a lot of training and exposure to many new experiences. They’ve made lots of new friends and have learned to behave well around other dogs and people and in busy public places. That’s what Doggie Camp is all about! Fall Camp has been such a success, in fact, that we are considering adding another group for those puppies and small dogs that missed out on this Fall session. Clients have seen pictures of camp on our Blog or have heard from friends and have expressed interest in the program but since the current group is full, we are evaluating the option of this new session.
This new session would be Wednesdays, starting on November 16. Camp is once a week, and campers stay with us from around 9am to 4pm going on field trips and practicing their manners. They also have supervised play time for socialization. The five sessions would go until December 14.
Camp typically goes rain or shine, so you can plan on the pups spending every Wednesday with us through December 14th. Please go to our website to see pictures of some our campers on the Doggie Camp page or at our weekly Blog (News). Its likely that this Camp Session will be specially geared towards young dogs and small breeds, so if you have any friends with pups or small dogs that might be interested, please feel free to share this email with them.
Camp is a tremendous socialization opportunity, and is wonderful for puppies that need to meet the outside world, dogs of all ages that need to learn to deal with new and strange environments, and of course, for those dogs that are in need of a fun social activity that will provide lots of fun mental and physical stimulation – with lots of training to round it all up!!! Its also a great way to supplement your training programs, if your dog is already working with us in private in-home sessions.
Camp will be $450 for 5 sessions which is the same as our regular in-home training sessions, but includes so much more!!! We will need to have confirmation of campers by Wednesday November 9th, so we can make the necessary plans and preparations. Spaces are limited, so please contact us as soon as possible to reserve space for your dog!
As soon as we receive confirmation, you will be sent an email with our Camp Registration form, so you can fill out and send with your payment at your earliest convenience.
In case you’d like to know more about our camp sessions or send the camp information along to your friends – here’s the link for our Doggie Camp:
paulina + sheyla + ludovic
Our fieldtrip this time was to the Cocowalk at Coconut Grove. Its a great place, always full of people, sights and of course, dogs! We visited some great new stores and had a blast walking the dogs around the mall. We played with them on the benches and fountains (not IN!) and just basically let them explore their surroundings and get comfortable. As usual, we got a lot of attention but having a giant breed dog with us certainly helped 😉 the dogs all behaved beautifully and endured the many photographs, and petting from strangers! Its amazing to see how much the dogs have improved, how many have gained confidence and trust around strangers in new environments and can tolerate and keep their leashes nice and loose even seeing strange dogs. We are loving every minute of our time with them!
We’d like to give a special thank you to the folks at Florida Running Company at Cocowalk for their nice warm welcome they gave the dogs at their store. They were very attentive and insisted on learning every dog’s name and breed! Thank You from all of us!
Please email us and tell us how your dogs are doing at home, how they like camp or what changes you see in them – or better yet, post a comment here or on our Facebook Page. I’m sure other campers would love to know!