The whole boot camp and day camp phenomenon is sweeping the country when it comes to fitness, health and exercise, so it only makes sense that it wouldn't be long before dogs were in on the action. Training and day camps for owners and their dogs or just the dogs by themselves have sprung up all over the place, offering a great way to learn a new set of routines or simply refresh or touch up on areas that need a bit of emphasis.
Many of the training, boot or day camps provide the owners and their dogs a really intensive opportunity to learn either obedience or agility type training routines. Other boot camps or intensive training programs may be designed to help with specific problems such as socialization, specific behaviors or even in getting both dogs and humans into better overall physical condition. Herding, hunting and even tracking training camps are also available in many areas, providing you and your dog with highly specialized trainers and professionals to help in achieving your training goals.
Typically dog day camps are broken down in to experience levels of either the dog or the handler or both. In some cases the dog camps may be for specific age groups such as puppies, mature dogs or even senior dogs. Since the training tends to be very intense and specific, having dog's and their owners already in pre-selected classes means that the trainer has much more time to dedicate to the specific issue of the group, rather than trying to deal with everything from toy breed puppies to large breed adult dogs, each with their own behavior problems.
Day camps or boot camps may not be just during the day. There are many of these intensive type programs that are a weekend or even longer. Dogs and their owners actually live or stay at the training facility for the set amount of time, literally immersed in the environment of dog socialization and training. Often these camps are designed for competition dogs or dogs that have more serious problem behaviors such as aggression, being very timid and fearful or dogs that have problems with separation anxiety.
The benefit of these very intensive and specific training opportunities for all types of dogs is exceptional. Even well trained dogs and their owners come out of these day, weekend or week long training camps with a stronger bond, a more effective working relationship and much better level of human dog communication. This is because the whole environment is so much different than just going to an hour long dog training class once a week for one or two months. In addition the owners don't have the opportunity to fall back into their old habits that may be leading to the dog's problem behavior. The owners as well as the dogs are actually doing the learning at these intensive training camps.
There are some dog training camps that are half day or full day and are designed to help children become more confident and successful in working with their dogs. These types of training camps can really work wonders in helping a child interact with the family dog in ways that are positive for the dog but also make the child feel good about what he or she is doing. This can help repair the bond between the child and the dog if there has been a problem. It may also inspire the child to become more active in working and playing with the dog or even in showing and training the pet in the future.
Some dog camps are designed to be a true "camp" experience. This means that the activities are less geared towards corrective training or new training and more towards enjoying the outdoors and spending time having fun. These types of camps are typically held in more rural areas where dogs and their owners may have acres to run, swim, hike or jog during the day. Often there are other activities provided at the camps including agility and obstacle courses and fun competitions, Flyball events, races and even dress up dog shows and dances.
The goal of these camps is to get people and their dogs out and having fun together with other like-minded dog owners. For some of these camps there may be restrictions as to the size of the dog or the training level of the dog, particularly the socialization and friendliness of the canine. Often during these camps there are several different break-out programs offered during the day for either owners only or owners and their dogs. For the owners only classes there are typically doggy daycare services provided that include group playtime and interaction that is supervised by camp staff. Some of the classes for owners that may be offered at these camps include canine first aid classes, breed specific or general grooming classes, judging or showing classes as well as specialty classes such as making your own dog food, BARF or raw foods diets or even dog massage.
Classes for owners and their dogs often include basic obedience, advanced obedience, agility, hunting, herding or even tracking classes. Different camps may either offer a flat fee that includes accommodation, meals, classes and events or it may be a pay as you go type of arrangement. If you are attending the classes at one of the camps you may have the opportunity to work with a world class trainer or listen to a lecture or discussion by top breeders and owners for a specific breed you are interested in.
When researching different dog day camps, boot camps and training camps the internet is a wonderful resource. Not only can you see the list of services offered, the prices as well as the features, but they often have actual videos you can see of the camps. Plan to contact the camp and ask for references and following up with other previous participants to find out if they enjoyed the camp and if it accomplished their dog training needs. You may also want to talk to your local breed association, dog group or your local trainer to find out which day camps or training camps he or she recommends.