Thursday, July 14, 2011

Camp Doglando Day 3

There is no such thing as taking half a day waking up with kids around you..... the day starts at a 100 miles per hour!

And for those that were not, well they had to... based on the smell as soon as we cracked open the door. You know what smell that is! Each one came through the door and instantly said “was that my dog?” secretly crossing their fingers hoping the smell was not coming from their crate. In true puppy nature 3 of the pups had decided to leave presents for their new parents, giving them a lesson on the not so fun part of dogging. With a little disappointment and no hesitation, all of the crates were cleaned, pups taken out and we were ready to start the day.

An adult may be furious to have started their day off with cleaning up a mess, and the chances of this effecting the rest of their morning.... I would say for many, are pretty high. However, for the campers it was concerning that their pups may not be feeling so well... I think empathy is a natural and innate feeling as a child and as we get older we loose it... is it there are so many things to do and we feel not enough time, maybe?

Our morning discussion was a review of yesterday's training accomplishments, and then we broke off in to two groups to teach the puppies how to walk properly on a leash as well as stopping every time we stop. A 15 minute lesson, that normally takes me 1 hour in my normal classes. We combined the two groups, using the extra distraction of dogs and campers and practiced for a short while longer. Now we were ready to go to our first outing to Waterford Lakes.

Loaded the kids and dogs up into three cars, and off we went. They campers were so excited about this... as for the dogs, one chewed threw her leash that was used to tether her while in transport, but all others were good... phew!

We walked around Waterford, practicing our walking and auto sits.... the kids seemed not to understand what it meant to walk in a single file! That was the most difficult challenge.... so we asked them jokingly of course "do they not teach you to walk in a single file in school?" one of them replies "yes, but they also give us a card for line leader..." and then he went on about other positions, sarcastically lol.
We did have a few accidents while on our walk, two dogs squatting to do their business... but every child was thoroughly prepared. Plenty of poop bags and everyone except for one gave up their water bottle for us to clean the mess.

The attention the campers were getting was a sight to see. Shoppers watched and waited patiently as a single file line of 10 kids with 10 shelter pups walked by with perfect manners. Camp Doglando was absolutely turning heads. There were even some jealous on lookers telling their parents “I wanna do that!”. Each camper had an “I think she is really getting it” moment, and with every stop and stomp of a foot more and more puppies were sitting politely waiting for their release. Soon enough the stomping ceased and there were nothing but tails flopping back and forth waiting for their “let’s go!”. With pride on their faces and a sense of accomplishment, our campers finished their smoothie rewards and loaded up their pups. We were headed back to Doglando. One camper even admitted to feeling “amazed” at her pup’s progress.

Here is a photo of the dog's tethered up while the campers left to get Planet Smoothie.

A very successful first outing, then we headed back to Doglando. The car rides are great, we get to learn so much about these kids, the group dynamics and also from the kids. Here are a few stories from each of the staff:

Jenn Grady:

On the way back from Waterford today, it started to rain. I mentioned that it was raining and one of the campers said 'I hope my mom is home because my dog is very afraid of storms'. The rest of the car chimed in saying 'It's not storming, it is only a sun shower. The sun is still shining and there are no dark clouds.' She replied back saying that she was sure that it was going to storm because of La Nina... another camper added that we were experiencing El Nino, not La Nina. So the both engaged in a lively debate on whether we were experiencing La Nina or El Nino, explaining the differences between the two. Is is really amazing to me the topics these kids discuss and how knowledgeable they are about them. I learn something every day.

While in another car:

I asked "were you all in another camp before this one?" And most of them said yes, one said "but this one is much more fun," the other said, "no I stayed home and watched TV." An interesting one was a camper that went to a Buddhist camp, and after Camp Doglando will be attending a Jewish camp. The well roundness certainly shows in this camper, she is so insightful, imaginative, creative and analytical.

Camp has been a great experience for us, the staff. It seems as though the purpose of camps is to keep kids busy and cared for during the summer breaks while the parents are in school. Camps do not necessarily involve learning and responsibilities but more so games, entertainment and more of a social engagement for kids and their friends.

We have noticed that in this session, three of them know each other and their seems to be more complicated social dynamics between the three. Kids are sharp, they are sly and quite passive in their manipulation.... sometimes we have to just look at each other and shake our heads and laugh...

Working with dogs, and especially the way we run our daycare at Doglando, we have a zero tolerance policy for bullying behavior. This goes the same for our campers. We are very good at catching things very early on and nipping things in the bud, and we catch ourselves doing this with the kids too. It seems as though "figure things out amongst yourselves" is a common theme while in school.... well that is certainly not what they do. Instead, just like dogs, they are opportunistic. Getting called out and told off is not something the "key players" are used to. Needless to say, none of that flies here! After all the camp is about compassion, team work, responsibilities, focus, fun, play, competition (an no, not everyone is a winner, but everyone is worked with to reach their maximum potential each training session).

Back at Doglando, we had an awesome afternoon training session. The kids love the restrained recall game... a true test to how quickly dogs develop trust and know who their handler is.... every dog went "flying" to their perspective campers, even when they hid out of sight.

Since the pool was off limits for one more day, the kids spend an hour or so playing with the daycare dogs instead. Very interesting... half played games as though it was a park for children, totally ignoring the dogs, and the other half interacted with the dogs in their own ways.

The day started off at 100 miles per hour and 8 hours after, we were running at 98miles per hour! We laughed amongst one another saying we were going to switch out with the daycare staff for tomorrow... of course the Campus Coaches were not in agreement with this idea. lol.

Great Day!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful posts! I would love to participate in the camp but, alas, am too old :-) The posts make me feel like I am there, though!