Hi all, I’m back from a trip to Northern Illinois yesterday to experience a day at dog camp. I live Northwest of Milwaukee and initially thought it would be a bit of a haul to camp, but the drive was easy and camp wasn’t hard to find. As I drove up the gravel road to Camp Dogwood, I had no idea of what I’d encounter. I have no experience with dog camps and only was to human camp once as a child. So, I was impressed by the tidy white and green buildings set into wooded areas around a central field.
The agenda for the day was full of diverse activities, Flyball, Pet Massage, Photo Workshop, Agility, various Training sessions and, with the day being hot and sunny, lots beach time.
I stopped in at a Training session, first, hoping to pick up some tips. This session involved work in walking comfortably with a dog, turning, returning, remaining calm when when encountering the unexpected and a valuable Catch Me excercise.
The dogs in class represented a wide array of breeds and sizes. There was something for everyone.
Next, on to the beach, one of my favorite places. As you might expect, the Spring session of Camp Dogwood, usually conducted in late May, can bring a variety of weather. My day at camp was hot and sunny and the furry creatures needed some cooling off after camp actitivies. Surprisingly, all breeds enjoyed the beach, even those that are not traditional swimming breeds.
To add to the beach fun, the staff had dreamed up some terrific games. I’ll have to admit that myimagination couldn’t
dish up an idea of a fun beach game for a dog other than fetch and I was amazed at the lineup of treat-catching, musical hoola hoops and sunglass competitions that were in store.
With all the activities available, I had come to camp wondering if this would be a conveyor-belt type of experience with campers expected to participate from event to event. Not so. All activities were completely optional. Campers could pick and choose depending on the energy level of themselves and their dog. We all need a chance to relax and rest up.