Each week-long session of HAWS Kids 'N Critters Day Camp goes on an animal related field trip. Last week's session of Camp Gone to the Dogs had a fantastic opportunity to visit Think Pawsitive Dog Training in Oconomowoc.
Think Pawsitive, owned by Katie Oilschlager, specializes in the canine sport of Agility. Agility is a fast moving sport consisting of an obstacle course and requiring teamwork on the part of the dog and it's handler.
It takes some time, training and practice before a dog and it's handler are ready to do many of the obstacles properly. In order to give the campers a true sense of what Agility is, the kids used dogs who have been trained in the sport. Katie's dog Rella volunteered for duty, along with Dixie (who belongs to HAWS employee Cassie Gugin), and Mystic.
Katie did an excellent job explaining what agility is, and had the kids practice doing obstacles without the dogs. One of the more difficult obstacles is the weave poles -- the dog always enters the poles with the first pole on his left. Katie had the kids go through the poles themselves.
Then they got to work with the dogs. Fortunately the kids had worked with adoptable HAWS dogs for four days before they did agility because they had already learned how to be motivating and patient with dogs. Those skills came in handy -- although the dogs were good at agility they were working with complete strangers and so needed a little extra effort.
The campers had a fantastic time. Many of them have attended HAWS camps in the past, and they told me doing agility was the best field trip they'd been on. And Katie, Cassie and I were grateful that they tired our dogs out.
Below is video from that day - enjoy!