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!!!
After play time at the park, the Campers got some intensive training. Since we have had several weeks of camp, in fact we have many on their second Camp program, we figured it was time to challenge the dogs. After they got a chance for some one-on-one training with one of our Camp Counselors it was time for some Advanced exercises.
We decided to work Stays and use Recall exercises as a big distraction at the same time. We worked in groups of five; four trainer-camper teams were set up in stays making a hallway for the trainer-camper team practicing recalls on a long line. The dogs on the sidelines were working on Stays – nothing like a fellow camper running enthusiastically to their trainer in a recall to challenge the other dogs. At the same time it was a challenge for the recallers not to get sidetracked by visiting with their friends!
It was a very intensive and educational day, and all dogs performed remarkably well and have shown a lot of improvement. We hope you’re as happy with them as we are – we know they at least went home tired!
For today’s camp session we took the dogs to the Bark Park at Tropical Park. It is a beautiful park with a gorgeous view of the pond and surrounding park grounds, nice shaded seating for owners to relax and agility equipment for the dogs to play on and around in both the big dog and little dog areas (which are separated). Fortunately for us it also offers water fountains and a hose since the dogs were VERY excited about the many mud puddles and happy to get into mud wrestling matches 😉
It was a very busy morning at the park, so the dogs all got to meet and interact with strange dogs and people. As usual, the exercise is a very nice side benefit. All in all, a very fun and exciting visit!
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