For our training and field trip 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 ! For many of our campers this was their first time at the beach!! Some 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 us
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!
Graduation Day is here – WOW! Time DOES fly when you are having fun!
At Dog Connection, we find ourselves as usual feeling conflicting emotions on this our last day of this Camp Series. We feel happy because the dogs had so much fun, proud that they have all learned so much and improved so notably, but we also feel a little sad because we know we’ll miss our outings and seeing them on a regular basis. It really is a lot of work planning and putting into practice each Camp session, but the rewards we get from each and every one far outweigh it. So this is not really a goodbye but a see you later, as we’re already starting plans for our next series – after a short break for the Holidays!
We would like to give a HUGE thank you to Rosemary and Pedro – Bella’s owners- for the DELICIOUS breakfast basket they sent us yesterday! It ended up being breakfast, lunch and takeout for all 5 of our Camp Counselors!!!! Also, thanks to Dana – Diva and Dude’s owner – for the wonderful treats – everyone enjoyed them. Again, THANK YOU, you really didn’t have to, but boy did we appreciate it 😉
Another HUGE thank you goes to Megan and the Webber Family – Bo and Sofia’s owners – for having us and all 17 campers for a fun filled day at their home and some swimming in their pool. We are really grateful for your hospitality and lucky to have such a wonderful place to celebrate our last Camp Session! We think the pictures speak for themselves, and the tired dogs we sent home yestersday will be further proof of how much fun was had. The Campers had a wonderful time romping loose in the fenced in yard, swimming in the pool and going through their obedience practice. We hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed spending the day with your dogs.
Finally, we would like to thank all of our Campers for joining us in this journey, for all the laughs and their antics, and of course to you, their families, for taking such good care of them and, of course, for trusting us with their care and training.
Please remember the Holidays can be a very dangerous and stressful time for your dog: lots of people coming in and out of the house raise the risk of escaping, and dogs can get a bit nervous with the unusual going ons. Gifts and decorations present new hazards for dogs who can become destructive or curious with the unexpected “surprises”. Holiday candy and food, as well as some of the more traditional plants can be poisonous to your dog, so make sure your pup isn’t chewing on your beautiful poinsetta as it can be very dangerous!
Remember to give your dogs a break from all the celebrating and enjoy this wonderful time with your family!!!!
See you soon for our next Camp!
Remember to follow the principles of “SAY IT – SHOW IT – PAY IT”.
1. Start by using treats to lure your dog into the “DOWN” position. For some dogs, its easier to start from the “SIT”, while others will go easier into a “folded” “DOWN” where they bent their body back from a standing position into a sphinx-like position. For some dogs, gently petting them along their side, will also encourage them to go into the “DOWN” position so they can roll on their back for petting. Experiment with your dog, to see whats easier for him. Once they can reliably go into the down position, you’ll want to make sure they can do it from both a “SIT” and a “STAND”.
2. From a “SIT”, bring a treat from your dog’s nose, downward along his chest all the way to the ground. If he lowers his head to follow the treat, praise and reward. He doesn’t have to go into the down yet, you want to ease them into it, be patient. Repeat this exercise, pulling the treat away further each time, so your dog must stretch down and forward to get it. Reward each increment. If your dog goes far enough down, that the elbows touch down on the ground, give him a handful of treats and praise lavishly to let him know this is what you really wanted. Repeat and praise several times.
2b. From a “STAND”, bring a treat from your dog’s nose, downward along the chest and back between the front legs toward the ground under the belly. If he lowers his head to follow the treat, praise and reward. Reward each increment and once the elbows touch the ground, praise and reward lavishly. Make sure the rear has lowered to the ground before you allow your dog to take the treat. Repeat and praise several times.
3. When your dog is offering to “DOWN” consistently when you lure with the treats, start naming the behavior. Say “DOWN”, then show the treat to help them into position. Praise and reward when they do. At this point, you want to introduce a release word like “OK” or “FREE” which will signify to your dog that they can get out of the position and move freely.
4. Now without the treats in hand, give your “DOWN” command. You can use similar hand motions to those you used when luring with the treat. When your dog goes into position, praise and reward, then give your “OK” before they move out of position.
5. Start teaching your dog to stay in position for longer and longer time, by giving more than one treat in succession before giving the “OK”. If your dog moves before the “OK”, help them back into position but wait a few seconds before your reward again or give your “OK” word. If your dog moves up, as you stand up, try to time your motion with them eating their treat, then bend back down and feed before he’s done eating. You want to teach your dog that your
standing up does not mean they should move out of position.
6. As your dog understands the game, wait longer between treats and move around and add distractions. Always make sure your dog is being successful and make the excercise easier if they are having trouble at some point. Pretty soon you’ll have a dog with a happy and reliable “Down-Stay”.
Copyright Dog Connection 2011