Monday, June 18, 2012

Camp Doglando, Day 5

Friday was a big day. We only had one hour to prepare for Channel 6 news; they were coming out to do a story on "someone making a difference in our community" segment. How appropriate for the campers! or Channel 6 news; they were coming out to do a story on "someone making a difference in our community" segment. How appropriate for the campers! Before their arrival, we practiced loose leash walking, and the other exercises we worked on during the week. Upon their arrival, we ran through the exercises, and some of the kids were interviewed for their experiences thus far. Never think a child is going to lie or tell is how its not! One of the campers said, "Mrs. Teena, is an awesome teacher, but she is strict!" Lol.... we started laughing our heads off what did we think they were going to say? This was truly an awesome experience for the kids.... some were shy when it came to actually talking in front of the camera, while others were so happy to do it. They were so proud of their dogs and we hope that it will bring a lot of exposure to the dogs that are available through the camp. We discussed the issues related to the transition of these dogs into their new families based on the experiences they have had themselves, when taking the dogs home overnight. This was a great discussion because the kids saw such great changes in the dogs when they took them home as opposed to working them at Doglando. The freedom, lack of boundaries, inconsistent feedback from all the members of the families; made the dogs "hyper" said on of the campers. We talked about the word "hyper" and its inappropriate use and understanding, and the kids learned to speak in a more descriptive manner, that actually pertained to the intentions or reasoning from the dog's perspective. One of the campers witnessed a personal challenge by taking her camp dog home, and that was sharing her love with her camp dog and her own dog at home. This prompted a heart to heart talk on these lessons that come about from "sharing." We exchanged our own personal stories on an occasion we remembered from when we were kids and had to share things with our siblings. Many families face these difficulties when bringing home a second or third dog... and find it difficult to be fair. We feel we need to be biased or favor the first... some parents do this with children too... but as time goes by we learn to balance our emotions. We took a break for some comic relief. We shared with them a few dog-related comics that evoked different emotions: funny, sadness, happiness, anger, confusion, and feeling lost. The purpose of this exercise was that the kids had to come up with their own comic strip based on any experience from this week. We gave them blank templates to illustrate their message... for some the creativity was a challenge. Those worked in teams to come up with ideas for their strips. ___ Have you ever asked yourself if to play is a learned behavior or something that is innate and natural in all animals, including humans? Before breaking for lunch each camper was given an enrichment game to play with their dogs, based on their use of their nose (the dog's nose). The campers were to sit back and watch their dog’s instinct to find, kick in and then make the game more challenging as the dog got the hang of it. I have always argues this point; and that is the worst thing our schools systems are doing today is taking sports and PE out of their curriculums. The desire to play is innate, but knowing how to play is a learned behavior, through repetition, through experiencing failure, through experiencing success, through realizing strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to play as a team. As we sat back and watched the kids interact with their dogs it was absolutely one of the most fascinating experiences I have had this session of camp. Some had no idea how to play; they had no idea how to engage their animals or themselves with their dogs. One camper in particular understood play so well and in relation to his dog that he asked if he could go outside. Fifteen minutes later he showed up with his dog, dog's tongue hanging out of the side of his mouth, and he, sweating bricks! I started laughing so hard.... I asked him what did you guys do... he said, we played! lol! Another camper was fascinating to observe. I bet she is involved in team sports, which require strategizing and respect of rules. She showed her dog the game, allowed her to understand the principle of the game, and then put her in her crate, while having her face she. The camper than moved the pieces of the puzzle around, hid food in the game piece, while her dog was totally focused on her. She did not let her out until the dog demonstrated the crate exercise skill... and upon the handler's release, the dog immediately went for the game, as though knowing exactly where she hid the food. The handler did not over react in her praise when the dog found it... it was the difference between a "oh my god you're so good, you’re so smart.... blah" completely getting the dog off task... and hard to get back on VS. a high five with a big smile, and a "good job girl!" For this dog, this worked so well, because she was ready to try it again each time! For another camper, she quietly played the cup game (which you will see), it was just she and her dog in that moment! And for another camper, her play style was like cheerleading! Loud, use of all body parts, jumpy... and so was her dog! This was amazing to watch! At lunch one of the kids asked me to tell them the Doglando Story, she remembered it from last year and wanted to hear it again. So I shared this with them, and I am so glad I did, because it was the first time I saw every child in the room become empathetic and 100% attentive. It was a reminder to me that kids want to hear personal experiences, they don’t want to be told how to prevent something from happening or not to do something because you as the adult know its outcome… they want to hear your story! After lunch, we went to Waterford to practice our loose leash walking and distractions in the real world, and enjoyed the company of our dogs lying right by us as we had Marble Slabs. The dogs did so well… accepting wheel chairs, kids in strollers and greetings from strangers. Training is a lifestyle, and these kids are learning that first hand. After ice-cream, it was time to end our day with a big splash! Swim time~

2 comments:

Pant and Wag said...

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Anisur07bd said...

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