K9 Corner

Published 8:56 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018


Check out dog camps for vacation 

Over the years, I have stressed that every pet dog owner (service dogs are treated a bit differently) should have fun with their dog. In order to have fun, there needs to be some communication between the animal and the human. This is achieved by interacting in various environments, preferably when the pet is young and without any “hang-ups,” but even adult dogs can learn what is expected of them in social situations.

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The most logical place to begin is at an obedience school where the animal is taught proper manners when in the presence of other dogs and humans. This is called socialization. Once the animal has learned how to behave when it is away from its home, other fun activities are open to it. 

We all know about dog shows and other title producing competitions such as herding trials, the Canine Water Rescue title, the Search and Rescue test, and terrier and sight hound tests. But how many know about camps for dogs (and their owners) and specifically camps for a single breed?

There are a number of these dog camps in the United States. One of my friends found several listings on the web under “dog camps.” These listings give a brief descriptions of the activities offered and the address and telephone number for further information. All the camps I know about are held in the late spring, summer and early fall because nearly all of them offer swimming, dock diving and other water sports for both the dog and the owner.

The camp that I am most familiar with (because I corresponded with the owner of the camp in the late 1980s) is Camp Gone to the Dogs in Vermont. It is still going strong with a number of new activities added to accommodate the various breeds and mixed breeds. Yes, their camp opens this June and they have a fall camp too. They have their own website.

Like most camps for dogs, there are classes in agility at all levels of difficulty, herding, tracking, obedience, conformation, grooming, as well as fun things like dog photography, seminars and time for the owners to relax if they want to. The Canine Good Citizenship test is also offered.

Talk about the need for prior socialization — the camp sites offer large, grassy enclosed fields where the owners can turn their dogs loose to play freely.

Almost all camps offer certificates on the last evening and nearly every camp I have read about has fun games that include the owners like a costume class so the owners can dress up their pets. There are also evening entertainment for the owners so the dogs can rest. 

Anyone interested in applying for a camp for dogs should start checking into it now as the number of applications far exceeds the number of places available. Some of the camps listed on the internet are: Camp Dogwood, Ingleside, Illinois; Camp Unleashed, Asheville, North Carolina; Camp Club Getaway, Lake George, N.Y.; Dog Scouts of America, St. Helen, Michigan. Interested in a getaway vacation? Check out dog camps.