Camp Dogwood Activities

Our training sessions emphasize positive reinforcement and fun for you and your dog(s). Lectures and demonstrations always center on enriching the time we have with our four-legged friends. In fact, our entire program is designed to reflect the three components of the Camp Dogwood Mission: the Dog, the Bond, and the Community.

The schedule is carefully designed to offer you and your dog(s) plenty of choices for each activity period, while at the same time taking into account needed time for rest and relaxation. You customize your day by deciding which activities you would like to attend, or you can “do your own thing” and take advantage of the trails, open fields, the beach, nearby state parks and attractions, or just take a nap. Camp is a great environment in which to learn, so beginning level activities are always available.

Note: Activities WILL vary by session

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Presentations & Activities

Activity schedules change at every session we host. Below are some of the presentations and non-sport activities that have been hosted at previous camp session. Many will be presented at every camp, but not all are always scheduled at every session. And like all our schedules, we always try to keep up-to-date with dog trends and what’s new or hot and will add new classes at every camp to see how campers like it.

This is an open forum session where you can informally ask our at-camp vet questions regarding canine health.  In addition, these sessions can be used as a time for round table discussion about such topics as managing arthritis, use of supplements, vaccinations, allergies, etc.  Just let the vet know what you would like to talk about.
This class will cover why some dogs are shy, nature (genetics) vs. nurture (early socialization).  Canine body language (what does a shy dog look like) will be reviewed.  Strategies for helping a shy dog will be provided – examples are how to change your dog’s feelings about “scary” things, teaching skills to build confidence, and alternative remedies like body wraps, DAP, and rescue remedy.
The CGC Prep session is designed to prepare those of you who are interested in taking the CGC test at camp or at some point in the future. The CGC Prep session is also a great way to “brush-up” on basic obedience skills even if you do not plan on taking the test. The fee to take a CGC Certification Test at camp is $10.
Pet First Aid is the immediate and temporary care given to an injured animal until it can be taken to a professional veterinarian for more definite medical care and attention. The goal of Pet First Aid is to protect both pet owners and their pets from further harm, injury, or suffering during emergencies, by teaching prompt, effective actions and care that will safeguard the life of an injured. Learn Canine Rescue Breathing & CPR skills without making the commitment to a full certification class.
Camp Dogwood has our “Orange Bandanna” policy to protect dogs that don’t know how to cope with other dogs or people coming into their personal space. For some dogs, their “personal space” even includes any room or yard that they are in. These are not “bad” dogs. They are simply “reactive” dogs. Session was created to help owners of reactive dogs understand why dogs do what they do, how to protect them from situations that they are not able to succeed in, and to teach simple exercises that will make you and your dog more comfortable & make camp more enjoyable for you and your four-legged family member.
Many of us know that our dogs are wonderful friends and companions to us.  Kind of humorous that ‘dog’ is ‘god’ spelled backwards.  Dogs have a special way about them, as they are adaptive to our environment and lifestyle. So much so that many of us think of them as little humans.  In this open discussion session, we will share ways our animals have been our angels and guides. We will also discuss more subtle ways they have influenced our evolution and how we can honor their guidance in a more appropriate way.
Our canine family members are so special to us and we want to start our new relationships on a good note.  In this class, you will learn simple techniques that will help you connect with your pup in happy, loving and compassionate ways. Building from this foundation, your relationship will take on new meaning and deepen with each day. Topics of essential oils, crystals, flower essences, touch therapies and animal communication will be incorporated in to this “Happy Heart” connection method. Dogs are invited to this session.
Crystals are wonderful, vibrational gifts that are formed naturally within mother earth. Using crystals in our healing work with our Animal Companions enables us to initiate powerful shifts and incredible changes in them on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. In this class, learn about these amazing gifts from earth.
Our dogs are constantly communicating with us, even looking to us for answers (poor dogs). Steve will talk about how to “read” dogs. And also how to have a conversation without saying a word. Steve Dale (certified animal behavior consultant) is an editor of “Decoding Your Dog,” authored by the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, due out early next year.
_NAM0591These sessions are hands-on and focus on a variety of massage techniques to use on your dog.  Massage for Canine Athletics will focus on pre & post massage techniques for dogs before they participate in such activities as lure coursing, flyball, agility, or Frisbee.  Massage for relaxation will focus on techniques to calm and promote relaxation.  The “Techniques” session covers a range of applications.
All creatures are made up of energy. In this class we will practice sharing energy between you and your dog. This is especially good for dogs that are not tactile and may have a hard time relaxing. It’s good for you, too!
Come learn about simple ways to use these natural plant extracts (essential oils) in your daily life. These essences of plants can be used for your all animals from companion to farm animals.  Learn about how they can work their magic in your life. Limited Essential Oils may be available for purchase.
Does your dog get distracted easily? Jump on your visitors? Or get over-excited when they see their friends?  In this class you will learn some fun and creative methods to help your dog to “Get Focused!”  You will learn how to improve your dog’s impulse control, improve their focus on you and to relax on cue.  You will also learn response substitution (redirection) to prevent your dog from getting into trouble.  Don’t expect to do a lot of hard work in this class because you both will have lots of fun! Because you need to focus on your dog, it is suggested to only bring only one dog to this class.
In this session, our instructor will share her grooming knowledge and help you with home grooming care of your pet, including bathing, brushing, and reducing tangles and/or shedding.  A variety of grooming tools will be available for you to try on your dog to see what works best for both of you.  There will also be time to ask any questions you may have about home grooming or taking your dog to a professional groomer.
Little Eddie CartingIf you have been to camp before, you have probably had a moment of envy seeing a few campers driving down the camp roads via canine wagon.  One of our campers will introduce other campers to the sport of dog “driving” using wagons and sulkies which are smaller and cheaper alternatives to a horse and wagon.  This session will cover how to get involved in the sport, what it takes to get your dog “driving” and she will provide helpful resources for buying various carts/wagons/sulkies and harnesses.
Our Dog-Party planner extraordinaire will share her “tricks of the trade,” for hosting a great PAW-ty…including how to make creative invitations and party favors, games to play, and more. Great ideas for your dog’s special days!
sky lantern dogsAs you go through your camp days, take note of the nature around you, be on the look out for a special twig, a leaf, a pine cone, something that speaks to you. Bring this item to the campfire, where you can toss it in the fire, dedicate your item to whatever you wish, say a few words if you want.
Here’s a fun way for you and your dog to practice rally with friends. Teams will be set up to play games like Rally Tic-Tac-Toe and Rally Relay. The games are suitable for anyone familiar with the basis rally signs. Come alone or with some friends for some good natured competition.
During this session you will learn fun and positive ways to improve the skills needed to perform the rally exercises as well as traditional obedience.  Some points of emphasis will include the turns, pivots, call to front, and finishes.  This session is appropriate for beginner to advanced rally teams.
Join fitness enthusiasts at camp (not experts) for some Ruff-ercize, a fitness routine for you and your dog.  All levels of fitness are welcome; all exercises can be modified to be easier or more challenging depending upon your level of fitness.  Please bring the following to class: water for you and your dog, motivating treats/rewards, a large towel, tug toy or ball, and a GOOD ATTITUDE.  Only one dog per handler allowed, dogs must be on-leash. Humans and dogs need to be free of any orthopedic issues or injuries to participate.
Animal behavior is greatly influenced by the weather, season changes and other changes in our environment. Ever wonder why certain things flare up at particular times of the year?  Scratching your head as to why your dogs starts coughing or scratching when you think the “allergy season” is over? In this session, we will discuss how the season changes, moon cycles and other “natural shifts” affect our dogs (and us!). Discover how we can work in harmony with these shifts to help our canine partners.
Learn how to teach your dog to do those complicated things you see dogs do on TV and in the movies.  You will learn about capturing, shaping, and chaining behaviors together to have your dog do amazing things.  In this class you will capture at least one behavior, accomplish several steps in shaping a complex behavior and develop a plan to teach your dog the final behavior.  Then you can show off to your friends.

Targeting is a “hands off” way of teaching different behaviors for both fun and serious obedience. Targeting is one of the best methods for getting dogs quickly engaged, focused and excited about teaching sessions.

REN_2984 copy copy (2)These cooking classes always result in some delicious treats for everyone to enjoy and recipes to take home and enjoy again and again. Campers are provided cookbooks featuring some of the treat recipes demonstrated in class. This is a great way to take some of the processed ingredients found in store-bought treats out of your dog’s diet.

Sport Activities

Activity schedules change at every session we host. Below are some of the core sport activities that usually end up on every schedule in some capacity. Like all items on our schedules, we always try to keep up-to-date with dog trends and what’s new or hot.

Border Collie Dog WalkAgility is a course with different obstacles including jumps, tunnels, a dog walk, a see-saw or teeter, an A-frame and weave poles. Dog and handlers have work together to run through the course. Dogs jump, climb, tunnel and weave. Agility enhances the bond you share and provides exercise for both.


Levels are based on the member of the team (human or dog) that is LEAST skilled):

  • Level 1: New – Never been on agility equipment before; or very limited experience; or extreme flight risk; or scared of multiple obstacles. (Lack of weave pole/teeter proficiency not included) Focus on equipment and lead hands and exercises for focus, attention and handling skills.
  • Level 2: Some experience on all of the equipment (at low or moderate height). Sequencing short sequences. Has only done agility at camp, attended at least one camp previously, and/or has some agility training outside of class. Introduction to crosses (front & rear).
  • Level 3: Comfortable on all equipment at full height (teeter excluded, & weaves poles mostly straight up but can be open). Sequences up to 10 obstacles. Working knowledge of crosses (front & rear). Regularly trains in agility or has successfully completed many camps/agility training with this dog.  Review/improve crosses (front & rear).
  • Level 4: Competition or equivalent.  Works all equipment full height, teeter & weaves included.  Sequences 16+ obstacles. Regularly trains in agility.
ScruffyBarn Hunt taps into a dog’s natural hunting instincts. In a trial, the dogs would search a barn-like area for a rat safely enclosed in a vented PVC tube. The dog and handler must have a partnership so the handler can call alert when the dog has found the correct tube hidden among the hay/straw bales. Barn Hunt is a family friendly sport where the treatment of the dogs and the rats are taken seriously.

In this class, your dog will be introduced to the sight and smell of the rats. You learn the basics of the sport of Barn Hunt. Any breed/size/age of dog can participate. Rat safety is always considered. The rat tubes used in training are dog proof, and if they are in another enclosure, we keep them well protected from the dogs. Rats are not harmed during Barn Hunt.

CampDogwood.Activity.ComplexBehaviors2In this class you will learn how to safely exercise your dog to improve core strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, and proprioception. These exercises are important for conditioning your dog for various dog sports, preventing injuries and aging gracefully. These exercises are also great for building your dog’s confidence.

You will get plenty of time to try various pieces of equipment such as: cavaletti poles; exercise ball, egg, and peanut; wobble board; rocker board; and tilt board. Bring lots of small treats and get ready to have some fun with your dog!

dockdivinglabDock diving class is perfect for the dog who loves water and has high toy drive. Your dog should know how to swim and be comfortable in water. Practice your building drive, throwing techniques to improve distance, and help prepare for competition.

Dock diving has 2 prerequisites for participation:

  1. Dogs must know how to swim to participate in dock diving, this means your dog must be comfortable actually swimming (feet not touching the bottom of the lake), and
  2. Dogs must have some toy drive. Please bring a toy with you to dock diving.

If you are unsure if your dog is suitable for dock diving, please speak with Grant or Whitney prior to the activity.

Based on the “Barking Buddha” by Brenda Bryan, yogis will follow a traditional Hatha yoga practice with their dog as a partner. Doga will help to connect and unify the dogi and yogi. Please bring a yoga mat if you have one! No Doga (or yoga) experience is required for this basic class.
flyballIf your dog loves to run, jump, and tennis balls… then Flyball is for you and them. In this sport dogs jump hurdles on a course leading to the automatic and spring loaded box which launches a tennis ball when reached. The dog then reverses the course with ball in mouth jumping the hurdles back to their person.

Easy to learn, a skill to master.

  • Beginner: No experience or learning basics.
  • Intermediate: Must have any experience in flyball..Can include sessions at camp.
Try this hot new sport that is everyone is talking about! If you like to teach your dog new things, come to this class and have some fun. Learn to teach your dog to do under, zig-zag, loop, pole, circle, gee, haw and take a bow. In the intermediate class we will be doing more advanced moves. At the end of the class we will put it all together with music. A reward-based class so be sure to bring a lot of soft tasty treats for your dog!
REN_5967This is another sport that provides great exercise for you and your dog… but as you are the one throwing and the dog is the one running, we think the dog might be getting a bit more. Not only is this great fun, but for dogs with high prey drives, catching and retrieving is a great way for them to use their natural talents.

Learn how to teach your dog to catch the Frisbee and how to throw the Frisbee properly for your dog.

  • Beginner: Learn basics of “finally” throwing the Frisbee properly and getting your dog to catch it. Many are naturals!
  • Intermediate/Freestyle: For dogs adept at catching a Frisbee, this session will help develop beginning ‘freestyle moves’ like overs, flips, & vaulting.
Herding takes place off-site and has a cost for participating of $30 per dog tested. There will be a herding demonstration, herding clinic, and the opportunity to have your dog tested for herding instinct. Remember to bring water and treats for both you and your dog.

Herding is an incredible sight to see, and many campers jump at the opportunity to expose their dogs to this activity. There may be a restriction on which breeds may participate in Herding, as determined by our Herding instructor and the temperament of their flock.

Dog Friendly Hike(Or come and just hike!)

Hike & Train sessions are a fun way to practice off-leash skills such as getting your dog to stay with you, recall, and gaining your dog’s focus and attention amongst all of the distractions. Enjoy your walk, enjoy your dog, and enjoy the beautiful weather!

Level 1
Inspired by working detection dogs, Nose Work is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy to learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs, and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise. This workshop will introduce you and your pooch from the beginning to Nose Work.

Level 2
This workshop is for dogs who have been introduced to nose work and are working more complex hides. Dog can still be on food or on odor.

Ruby Lure CoursingEither your dog will “get it” and will go crazy for this organized version of running, or they won’t and you’ll wonder what all the other dogs are bonkers for! Essentially this sport has your dog chasing a lure around a field as it is being pulled along on a line. It uses essentially the same principal that horse-tracks use for the chase.

For the safety and well-being of the dog, the lure can be run at many levels…depending on experience, age and conditioning. Please let the operator know your dog’s health so speed & appropriate suggestions can be made.

Teaching your dog to follow the scent trail or disturbed vegetation scent, left by a person (or other animal) that has traveled along a certain route. Dogs can be taught to footstep track (very precision oriented tracking style), trail (the dog still follows the scent left on the ground, but with less precision than footstep tracking), or air scent (use the scent in the air to determine in which direction the person/prey went).

Dogs should be hungry when learning how to track! This is a perfect low-impact activity that you can enjoy with your dog without a lot of running around.

REN_3731TreiiIball is a sport imported from Europe where dogs use herding skills to drive exercise balls into a pen. Many have begun to sconsider this sport “urban Herdin” In this activity you will be introduced to herding commands to train your dog to move left and right and to push the balls toward the pen.  Your dog will use it’s nose or shoulder to drive the balls.  Any dog who loves to chase, retrieve or herd will enjoy this sport.
Nigel and his Fancy tricksTricks are a great way to keep your dog busy, mentally stimulated and have a lot of fun.  You will learn to use various methods of training to teach your dog some fun new tricks including: play dead, bow, weave through your legs, do the moon walk, and push a baby carriage.  If your dog already knows some of these you will learn how to teach more complicated versions of each of these tricks. Many are great for therapy dogs or dogs that just like to show off!
CampDogwood.Activity.WeightPullImage3Weight pull is akin to a human tractor pull. The dogs wear a special padded harness, and are attached to a wheeled cart on an earthen surface, or a sled on snow.  The goal is to see how much weight the dog can pull on the cart/sled for a distance of 16 feet.

In competition, the handler can have no physical contact with the dog during the pull, and they are not allowed to “bait” the dogs at the end of the pull with anything other than themselves.  It is up to the dog’s willingness to pull the weight to close the distance between him/herself and their handler!

Camp Dogwood ARTS & CRAFTS (Pet Projects)

No summer camp experience would be complete without Arts & Crafts. At dog camp, we like to call them Pet Projects and we do out best to continually add new ones to our schedules. We love suggestions and many of our campers have brought us the projects that we still teach at every session. Below you will see the types of projects we’ve offered in the past… The line-up for YOUR camp session will vary like all our schedules.

Camp Dogwood is a great place to use that creative spark you know you have.  Come decorate a planter or toy bucket (or any smooth-surfaced item you may have decided to bring to camp. We have vinyl in plenty of colors and cut shapes and plenty of decorative embellishments you can adorn your masterpiece with, too.  There are a number of items available for camper use to decorate, but they’re all on a first-come, first-served basis. We ask campers to select only one to begin with. Enjoy!
On Sunday night, we’re having a beachside campfire with a Pinecone ceremony… which is a kind of dedication to a memory or dog or anything you’d like to present. We’re going to try and line the walk down to the beach with “Luminaries”… which are essentiallty candle-lit decorative memories or dedications. Please take the time to create your own Luminary (or multiple ones) and turn in to the Canteen. This should be a beautiful evening event!
This is the act of turning your dog’s shedding hairs into a resource for making yarn which can be used for creating any number of projects. Space is limited to 10. Sign-up in the Dining Hall, and please make sure to attend if you take a space on the list.

The pre-camp packet included a suggestion of bringing some collected hair from your pup…if you have: great! If not, you may still sign-up for the basic principals of spinning. Campers can utilize loaner “spindles”, which will also be available for sale after the session for $5.

Our ancestors did not do craft projects with their dogs, but they definitely knew how to trace each other’s heads. Come make either a traditional black and white Dog Silhouette, or put some color into a snazzier, modernized and blinged-up version. (Bring an images of your dog to this session.)
Camper-hosted by Margaret Rapp, we added a training-treat apron decorating craft. If you are interested, bring the treat apron you were given at check-in and your creativity Also feel free to bring any decorating embellishments you have and want to incorporate). We might even have a ‘Bedazzler” available to bedazzle everyone (and your treat apron).!
George Berlin is in the house on Saturday to do what he does so well. This session he’ll be working in watercolors to create yourt personalized matsterpiece. They say “those who ‘can’, do, and those who ‘can’t’, teach”. Well we know that George can do, but can he teach. Come to this session to hear some of the tricks of the trade on how an artist turns what they see into art on a page. The class will be working in pencil on paper.
Campers are crafty. Very crafty. So much that we’ve kept our after-dinner craft-project instruction with Lisa Hiller, long-time camper. This project is a No-Sew Fleece Crate Mat. If you think you’d like to attend, please BYOF (Bring Your Own Fleece)…or come enjoy this crafty hour and learn it for later.
windchime2Make a tribute to your furry friend, or just a nice piece to hang in the yard. You should be able to find a few examples hanging around camp if you need some inspiration!
One of the long standing Arts and Craft projects we’ve offered from the start at Camp Dogwood. A very easy project for those with patient dogs, or just patience for their dogs excitment. A great Dogwood keepsake of your dog’s paw. Easy, NOT messy!

Many campers are interested seeing a schedule before arriving at camp. This is not always possible as we often have changes or additions to make right up to the days immediately before the session.  Below you will be able to access some of our past schedules to help give you a better idea of how days are structured.  The basic formats shown on these version is the pattern most camp sessions follow, but the specifics (classes, times, staff…etc) are provided simply as EXAMPLES and schedules will vary at every session we hold.

Click On An Image Below to Preview The Schedules


Example Winter Schedule


Example Spring Schedule


Example Fall Schedule