June 02, 2010

Camp Fun

Twelve days ago I arrived at Dog Scout camp to help with the pre-camp clean-up and to host the Leadership Retreat. We got a LOT accomplished with the cleaning.  If you haven't been to camp, these photos might not mean much.  But if you had seen what we started with, you would be amazed! The new epoxy floor is WONDERFUL!
Main room:
Look!  Empty shelves!!
We moved and re-organized the book shelves
 This is our room:
I took Dazzle and Bear with me.  Bear did great and even off-leash was staying in the visible area and doing excellent, full speed recalls. But on our last morning there, he went "walk-about" and was deep in the woods baying at who knows what.  Thankfully he was in the area with trails because he was beyond the reach of my voice/whistle and I was able to catch up to him with the golf cart and get him back.
He was quite tired by that time and took a dip in the pond when we got back :-) You can tell by the ripples that he was panting.
Of course there were new friends to play with:
Trying to get these fast guys in the frame with the darn digital delayed shutter was a real challenge! I should have used the "action" setting.
Dazzle checked out a critter hole and helped make it bigger:
He also dug in the spot where all the dogs seemed to want to dig.  No idea why that particular spot in the play yard was so facinating. I tried to get a cute shot of him sticking his head in the deep hole up to his shoulders, but the shutter delay prevented those photos.
Sticks and roots that poke up through the sand are always fun! This root provided lots of resistance, but he ended up pulling quite a bit of it out of the ground.
He also found a dead branch that had gotten caught on lower branches of a tree when it fell. He managed to eventually pull it down and was SO proud of himself! 
At Dog Scout camp, all dogs can try all the activities.  So Dazzle was able to try "Earthdog", which is usually only for small terrier breeds.  The camp has 2 tunnels, the standard (small) and a larger tunnel so dogs of all sizes can try the sport. 
The dog has to enter a "den", crawl to the end of the tunnel (making one 90 degree turn in the middle) and then "work" to try to get the rat at the end for a specified amount of time.  The dog is considered "working" if he is digging, barking or biting at the rat.  The rat is well protected in a PVC tube or double cage and has been previously desensitized to barking dogs so it is not frightened by that sound.
This is a view of Dazzle at the end with the "exit hatch" top of the tunnel removed.
Dazzle digging at the rat:
Dazzle biting at the rat (he also tried to bite through the bars):
The top sections of the tunnel come off (in case a dog gets spooked or stuck and to get the dog out at the end).  Having the "exit" section of the top removed made it easier to get the above photos (to let more light into the tunnel) but normally the whole top of the tunnel is closed and the inside is rather dark. The ideas is that the dog uses his nose to find the correct path. Dazzle really loved this activity! And he earned the badge.  I also tried Bear, who in the past has been an earthdog maniac, but for some reason he didn't have much interest in this rat. I guess he prefers mice :-)
Of course water activities were included and the dogs had lots of fun! Here Dazzle is racing to the toy with his girlfriends Saikou and Kozi.
This photo looked better on the tiny screen of my camera. :-)  It is Dazzle running in to the water so fast he made a huge splash!  You can also see a smaller splash just off shore which is his first entry location. He was so fast, that water was still in the air! 
Dazzle also did lots of Dock Diving, but I wasn't able to toss the toy AND take photos of that :-)
Bear prefers to be in a boat on the water.  Or as a bow ornament :-) Mostly he was investigating (sniffing) the area and practicing recalls while the other dogs were playing in the water.
During the Leadership Retreat portion of our visit, Bear had a buddy.  The family that attended has 3 kids, but only 2 dogs.  So this boy loved "borrowing" Bear for hikes and at other times to just hang out (even carved a great letterboxing stamp of him!)  Bear loves kids and was happy to be with the family.
On a few of the evenings, we watched movies.  Bear decided to be the center of attention and take a nap on the TV cart. He was there for just about the whole movie!

While cleaning camp, this collar was found.  Since my Mother-in-law calls Dazzle "Spike" I had to get this photo for her.
Bear loves to wear things and since he was jumping up and begging to wear the collar after I took it off Dazzle, he got to model it too :-) He's not as crazy about the camera in his face though.
The dogs had a GREAT time and so did I!  Trying to find a place to sleep each night was a bit of a challenge though...
I didn't get any photos of us "on the trail" but one of the other attendees did.  I loaned Bear to his buddy for the walks and used the golf cart to take Dazzle for a "10 minute mile" run and then a walk with the group.  Last year, he thought the backpack was a dog eating monster, but some desensitization made earning the backpacking badge a reality this time.  He also earned the IMPROV badge and won the mock competition we held. I was very proud of how well he did and how much he was trying to understand what I wanted him to do.
Looking forward to a week at the first summer camp later this month.
Now I need to get some sleep!  I'll get to the 770 emails I have later today.