June 29, 2010

Dog Scout camp 1

We had a great time at the June camp! Dazzle earned 7 badges (a few I wasn’t expecting!) He also had a great time socializing and playing with the other dogs.

He was a great demo dog for Brenda Aloff, who showed how to get him to release a single toy. I have been using the method of walking into him to get him off when he grabs and holds my leg to force me to “play” (get me to interact with him if I’m busy and ignoring him). It’s been working well to get all 4 feet on the ground. He’s been better about releasing a single toy too. She's using the collar to prevent him from jerking her arm off with his strong, side to side head shake.
We worked a bit of practice with carting into my busy schedule. Dazzle did great at pulling the cart around and wasn’t afraid of it following him. So we will likely work on getting that badge at the next camp in July. I ran out of time to do more practice and thought he might have been sore after lure coursing, so I didn’t want to put his harness on for carting if his shoulders were sore.

While we were waiting for our turn at lure coursing, I was not able to physically hold him back, so I did a “no no” and tied him to a tree to restrain him. He was lunging so hard against his harness that he broke the leather on his leash! I wish I had a video camera to get that on video. It was rather impressive with his jaws snapping and his body lunging so far into the harness, but that’s why I figured he would have been too sore for carting. Thankfully, when he broke loose, he was only after the lure and not the dog running after it and the dog was ok with Dazzle running with him. Joanne got lots of great photos!

He did great with the stay training sessions and the actual Dog Scout group photo. The photo was only for certified Dog Scouts that already had a uniform with badges. But it was a LOT of dogs to get set in place close together for the photo. Front row, 4th dog from the left- looking at me...
We earned the Letterboxing 1 and 2 badges before camp. We are still working on level 3, which we will get in August after we attend a gathering. We only need 14 more finds, plus the gathering. We placed the 10th box we needed to hide at camp and 2 people found it already. I got one additional letterbox on the way home.
On Thursday, I took him down to the pond during water class and he got the Beach buddies badge I expected he could get. But he surprised me by earning the boating safety badge too!

Then we headed to the Agility field and he breezed through the Agility 1 and 2 badge tests.

Even though he got 6 badges during camp, he already knew the required behaviors for the badges, so it didn’t take much time. He actually spent most of camp playing with friends, swimming and dock diving. So I think he had a great time even though I was busy with my Administrative Assistant duties.
Digging was high on his list of favorite activities...

Swimming was too!

Each time he went out the door, he had to find a stick to chomp on...
Sometimes he picked a BIG stick...

When running it repeatedly into the fence didn't work, he tried sustained force...
I only had to show him once how to grab it by the end to get it through and after that, if the stick got "stuck" he would drop it and get it by the end to get it through!
I squeezed in some time for the "felted dog" craft too!  As I feared when I heard this craft was going to be offered, I might have a new obsession.  This is just his head, but I got the whole body started too.  I haven't finished it yet, but I'll post a photo when I do. I'm really happy with how it turned out!
After the awards ceremony, DSA hosted an American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) test. I wasn’t sure how Dazzle would do with the gun shots, but he did GREAT! It could be that he was completely focused on the plastic you have to walk across because he thought it was the lure coursing lure! But whatever the reason, he passed! So that is another title to add to his name and another badge to add to his uniform :-) I had Diane run the video cam, but haven't gotten that edited and on YouTube yet. I'll have to edit the header photo to add his latest title too.

We were going to go on a river trip Sunday after camp, but it rained/thundered and had generally bad weather so that trip got postponed till Monday. I left Dazzle in our room to nap because I hadn’t gotten a chance to get him in a kayak to see how he would do. It was a very pleasant 2 hour float. Plus, without a wet dog in my lap, I stayed completely dry :-)
I did take him out in a kayak on the pond after we got back to camp. He didn’t really want to get in. I eventually convinced him to get in and got away from the dock, but as soon as I let go of him to paddle he jumped out. So it’s good I didn’t take him! Maybe someday he will go kayaking, but not this year. I didn’t try him in the canoe. He might feel better with more room, like he had in the row boat for the boating safety badge.

All in all a really great camp! Great people, new friends, catching up with people I already knew from previous camps and lots of fun activities. We’ll be going back in 2 weeks for the next camp. One of the new campers at this camp liked it so much, he is coming back for the July camp too! Lots of people put a deposit down for next year’s camp as well.