|Thanks for voting for me!!|
The night before we left, I told Jeff, "I really hope I'm not setting myself up for disappointment, I have pretty high expectations for this being a ton of fun, I feel like it'll be hard for it to be as good as I expect"...
I took Thursday afternoon (and Friday) off from work and Roo and I headed west at about 1:30, so traffic wasn't too bad leaving Austin. I don't love driving long distances (some might say 2 hours isn't that long, but it's pretty long for me!) so I planned a few fun stops along the way.
|Heading to Camp!|
|pictures in the big red flowers|
|more pictures with the flowers with my mom|
|helping my mom get a new phone charger|
|I didn't get to meet Remy at J&A|
|Can I please have some?|
|Our campsite, Turtle Falls|
Our first class after lunch was Nosework. That's where the dog finds a hidden scent. Roo seemed to like it and was pretty good at it. A couple of times trainer Julie set up a course with lots of boxes and the scent in one, I'd walk into the area and think she would tell me to let Roo start searching, but Roo had already found the right box!
|Nosework is fun!|
Our next class was the Hunting Instinct with trainer Jane (also the owner of TCCTB). Each dog would follow Jane's German shorthaired pointer hunting dog on a ranging run and she'd see if the new dogs showed any interest in finding game. Roo did flush out a bird at one point, but we agreed he had no idea he'd done it. He had a ton of fun bounding through the tall grass and brush with Jane's dog. Toward the end I asked Jane what she thought, she asked what our goals were. I said "I don't hunt, I just wanted to see if this was something Roo might enjoy". She replied "he clearly enjoys running around out there" Haha! Jane is definitely a "tell it like it is" person. Since we were first to go, Jane said we could watch the other dogs or go do something else. So we took off to go see what else we could do. I noticed that some of the kayaks were not being used, so we raced up the hill to the room, I grabbed swimming stuff and we ran over to the swimming lake. Pam was in charge of swimming & kayaking so she was happy to see us and helped us get in a kayak right away. Roo got in without any trouble, but he was scared while I paddled around. Not as scared as the first time I took him in Austin, but still not enjoying it. So we got out to try some swimming. This was really my biggest goal for camp. Roo loves playing at the edge of the water, but he'd been very afraid to get deeper than he can touch. So we put a life jacket on Roo, I knew he could swim without one, but I thought it would help him be less afraid.
|I like this life jacket!|
Canine Camp is on a schedule so we had to get out of the water so I could go to a Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture seminar. On the way up the hill, I ran into Jane I told her "Roo and I don't have hunting goals, but we do have swimming goals, and Roo can swim now! I'm so happy!!!" She probably thought I was crazy getting so excited that my Labrador can swim :) Roo took a nap while I learned about Chinese medicine and acupuncture. It was really interesting. I really like this kind of stuff especially after our experiences with Katie and her cancer. Dr. Carolyn Love taught the class, and I definitely know who to go to if we ever need that type of help for Roo!
Next we had another opportunity for swimming & kayaking, yay! This time Roo got right onto the kayak and acted like he loved it!! Again, I was SO HAPPY!!! Seriously, I had 2 goals for Canine Camp and we accomplished them both before dinner on day 1!! Then Pam put Roo in a life jacket again so we could practice the "if your dog jumps in the water from the kayak, this is how you get him back in". That didn't work so well, when Roo jumped in, he swam straight to shore, so we'll have to work on that.
|I'm the captain!|
By dinner time, I was STARVING! And the food was so good! spaghetti (with zucchini noodles as an option), turkey meatballs, salad, and brandied apples with ice cream for dessert- YUM! Of course I was telling everyone how happy I was that Roo had become a swimmer and kayaker and those were my main missions for camp! After dinner the trainers sat around the pool and answered questions and told stories, it was really interesting and fun, but I couldn't stay too long, I was super tired from such a fun day!
Saturday morning started with a breakfast of frittata, hash browns, bacon and fruit. Roo & I had an active morning planned so I was not skimpy with my portions! First was Dog Powered Sports with trainers Shari and Pam. At first I wasn't 100% sure I wanted to do this with Roo, but it ended up being great! The idea is you can teach your dog to pull you while running/hiking or on a bike or scooter. At first Roo wasn't so into it. He runs with me a lot and he knows he's supposed to run BESIDE me NOT out in front of me. Shari explained to me that he'll get the idea that when he's wearing a towing harness, he's ALLOWED to pull, and when he's wearing his walking harness he is NOT allowed to pull. Shari decided that since Roo likes to be beside me, it was best to have me run out in front of him at first and let him tow someone else. This was a ton of fun and I think Roo and I both got pretty tired out! Pam took this video:
An interesting note about TCCTB- they really specialize in reactive, aggressive, fearful dogs that people have a tough time training. Jack (the other dog in the video) couldn't get within 20 feet of another dog without freaking out. Jack and his owner are working hard on being calm and confident, and also on getting some energy out (hence dog powered sports) to make being calm easier. Roo doesn't realize that not every dog is friendly. But Roo came running to me after the video stopped, so there was no incident with the dogs.
Next up was a hike including some big hills, Shari was the lead trainer on this too, so Roo & I got to practice our canicross skills (dog out in front helping to "tow" you along). The hike was beautiful and I was really happy to learn about and practice canicross. Jeff and I like to backcountry hike and we plan to take Roo with us. Most backcountry trails are very narrow, so having Roo beside me isn't ideal. But canicross is perfect, and Roo seems to really enjoy it and understand the commands, so we'll definitely be doing more canicross!
|great view from the top of the hill!|
I decided we needed something a little less athletic after lunch, so we went to Ttouch with Kathy Cascade. Ttouch is really interesting and I knew nothing about it before camp. (I can't really explain Ttouch well, so if you want to learn about it, check out the links). It can help with almost any issue with your dog (fear, aggression, barking, pain, etc). I was hoping to get some methods to help with recovery for athletic dogs. She definitely gave me some touches and methods for that. But there were quite a few nervous dogs in my class so Kathy really focused on how to help dogs gain confidence. She used Roo as an example a couple of times and it was fun to watch how he moved around the confidence course. It was pretty amazing to see some of the very fearful dogs walking around the course with other dogs without freaking out.
Next up was a "break" for about an hour. I decided to take Roo kayaking again. They also had the zip line open and it goes right over the pond, so Roo watched the zip liners intently :) After a little while he actually laid down and fell asleep in the kayak. I wish I had pictures of that, but I do not. Then we went to Intro to Agility class. Roo has been doing agility at the Zoom Room for awhile, and I've been wanting to take him somewhere else to see how he would do in a different environment. Turns out he did really well!
|waiting my turn at agility|
|waiting patiently to jump through the tire|
Dinner Saturday was outside at the pavilion and it was a lot of fun. The chefs had been smoking meat all day, there was chicken, pork, sausage, potatoes, zucchini, eggplant, beans, cornbread, etc and it was all delicious! I heard a lot of people stayed out late "partying" at the pavilion...I was too tired for that!
I woke up about 5am on Sunday to a huge storm, I checked the radar on my phone and saw this and a tornado warning!
I thought, well at least we had tons of fun Friday and Saturday and learned and did everything we wanted and more. Roo and I sat on the porch and watched the lightening for awhile. I walked down to the dining hall for breakfast to find the power was out! They still managed to have cereal, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, sausage, fruit, and muffins for breakfast, pretty good for no power and we ate by candle and fireplace light!
|watching the storm|
|coming out of the tunnel!|
|coming out of the tunnel FAST!|
|I love swimming!!|
|I love kayaking too!|
Sunday lunch was essentially the end of Canine Camp. I had no idea there would be a little closing ceremony with awards! So I was really surprised when Jackie (TCCTB manager) gave Roo and I the "More Fun Than Dirt" award! It's for the most fun/enthusiastic camper/dog team, so cool!!!
|We definitely had More Fun Than Dirt!!|
Thank you to everyone at TCCTB and Lazy Hills for hosting an amazing Canine Camp! And thank you again to everyone who voted for Roo in the facebook contest!