Every dog who participates in Woof! Day Camp must have strong recall skills. We get that some dogs are not 100% and as such, we can offer the 'dropped' long leash/harness for additional safety. All new additions to the hiking pack will have this put on them as a safety precaution until we are confident they are able to stick with the pack. Dogs MUST be able to stay with the group without being a flight risk in order to participate in our country day camp. We reinforce recall with high value treat rewards such as beef liver and all beef hotdogs. If your dog has allergies, please speak with the staff to see if we can provide a safe alternative.
Our Woof! Day Camp Dogs are generally regular attendees so your dog will likely establish preferred playmates and get comfortable and bonded to the pack quite quickly. There are always new additions with our boarding dogs but for the most part its familiar faces for your dog. The benefit of an established pack is that dogs can play harder and burn off more energy as the staff and the dogs are better aquainted with each pups preferences for play and hiking style and amount of play time needed.
You may see some dogs in muzzles on our North of Woof! album, this doesn't mean they are aggressive dogs; in fact they are quite the opposite, friendly, social and great hikers. Like in city daycare, muzzles are a creative way to allow dogs to participate in daycare even if they suffer from little things such as over-excitement, toy or stick possessiveness (mild), tendency to eat things they shouldn't (labs, we're looking at you :))...things like that. The muzzles are soft stretchy vinyl and usually one size larger than needed to allow the dog full range of motion while still keeping them safe. Not every dog is perfect, and sometimes those little creative work arounds give dogs that may otherwise not be able to participate in large group activities, the ability to do so. Owners are always consulted if this is not a tactic they have tried; the dogs generally excel and often times it improves their behavior.
Woof! Day Camp runs regardless of the weather, unless the weather makes it dangerous to run the shuttle. Our staff who operate the shuttle are well versed in safe driving in all kinds of weather and our vans are always outfitted with the appropriate winter safety gear (such as tires) for the colder months. In the case of extreme snow storms or ice storms, we may cancel the shuttle/day camp for safety reasons.
Our Day Camp has an indoor space dogs are able to access throughout the day whether to cool off, warm up, dry off or just relax. Our Day Camp operates out of North of Woof! (our home boarding facility), so it has all the fixings needed to give dogs an alternative space to play or relax if the weather isn't cooperating.
If your dog is participating in Country Day Camp, please ensure they are on a preventative flea and tick from thaw to freeze. Especially in the fall and spring months, the temperature of your dog is vastly warmer than the temperature of the ground and these little pests are better able to identify a warm host. We are not able to do proper flea and tick checks on all of our dogs on a daily basis. We spray inside the facility but there is no dog to dog protection or ability to protect them while they are in the fields.
We do not crate dogs in our shuttle, they are blocked from entering the front seat area but otherwise we allow them to lay down for the ride (or be passed out entirely for the ride home). We have found this reduces most dogs anxiety. Dogs who are not the greatest in terms of 'etiquette' in the van are put in a harness seatbelt combination for their safety. However, on the way home, all dogs are pretty much fast asleep until we pull up to drop them off.
One of the best ways to get younger dogs to learn recall and be comfortable playing and hiking off-leash is to start them very young. They don't have the size or the energy to 'run away' when they are between 2 and 4 months old, they are also naturally more inclined to follow the group for safety and security than when they are older and more confident. We hike puppies using the harness/dropped leash combination to reinforce their recall but generally they default to staying with the group.
Woof!'s Boarding Farm and Day Camp is a 50 acre operating hay farm just off Highway 27. The fields grow hay from spring through fall. We have a forested area, apples and pear trees and three ponds. During the hay growth seasons, we cut walkways through the hay so that dogs have pathways to run comfortably, but we have found that the dogs LOVE to bound through the high grass as well. This may mean that they come home with some 'schmutz' if they have long fur. We do check for things like burrs on coats etc, but don't always get them all. If your dog decides to roll around in something in the fields we will do a quick wipe down. Dogs with longer coats may require an extra once over upon arriving home but generally unless your dog just loves to get as dirty as possible (we know a few of those :), they don't require much tending post day camp days.