2-minute dog trainer, last camp of 2009

Today we start the first day of the last camp of 2009!

This camp is followed by about 3 weeks of frenetic travel for Bud including two 3-day trials, a NADAC judging clinic, and 3 days of NADAC judges testing. He’ll be flying from here to Kansas City, home, then to Florida, then to Texas, and finally home again in early December.

Because of his busy schedule in the next month I decided to have him bring the big Christmas tree from the basement. My Mom and sister helped me assemble it and get most of the lights working.

This tree came with the house. No one in my family wanted it, so it stayed with the house for which it was purchased.

It’s a pain in the butt, frankly. I decided about 5 years ago to not buy “pre-lit” trees anymore. When one light goes a whole branch goes. The manufacturers give you all these instructions and extra light bulbs, but who in their right mind is going to try to follow the cords on a 300-light tree to find the one bulb causing all the problems.

What most folks do, of course, is buy a cheap strand of lights and add them to the tree. So wouldn’t it just be easier to buy the tree and the lights separately? That way, when a string of lights is broken you just replace them, rather than leaving them on the tree and adding more lights.

Anyway, bottom line, it’s November 15th and I think I’ve broken all my previous records by actually having my Christmas tree up in the living room. I even had it lit for a few hours yesterday, just for kicks.

Our campers arrived before dark so they didn’t notice the lit tree in the living room. They’ll see it tonight when they come to dinner. Their comments will be interesting.

This group of campers are all friends and most of the dogs working in this camp will be Brittanys. One camper’s aussie injured himself 2 weeks ago (chasing a cat and ran into a framed picture leaning against a wall — I have aussies, so I can picture the lack of impulse control that started the whole scenario).

She’ll be working a Houston loaner dog, my 9-1/2-year-old Dash. I still think of him as a youngster but I’ll have to keep an eye pealed to any signs of exhaustion on his part.

With only 4 dogs working in camp they’re sure to get a lot of work. On Tuesday, with evening classes coinciding with camp dinner, we’re going to give our 2010 camp schedule a test run.

Our 2009 schedule is all group training — 9-to-noon and 2-to-5 — with dinner at 6:00.

Our 2010 schedule is part group training — 9-to-noon — then private lessons or small groups — 1-to-5 — followed by an optional group meal at 6:00 p.m.

I’m really intrigued with the idea of being able to deconstruct the elements of a camp and allow folks to pick the events they want.

By pricing camps as components a 2010 camper may choose to do 2 or 3 days of a 4-day camp with their friends. They may, as a group, choose to fix their own meals in one of the cottages rather than coming to the log house for dinner.

And they may choose to join our Tuesday night classes and league play while here as well.

This Tuesday, with classes from 6-8:30 p.m. coinciding with campers dinner, we’re going to test out the 2010 camp schedule.

We’ll work group exercises from 9-to-noon, take a 1-hour break, then have either private lessons (friends are welcome to stay, videotape, take notes, whatever) until 4, take a short break, and meet for dinner before classes.

I’m looking forward to a busy month, followed by winter with lots of writing projects (including all the 2-Minute Dog Training homework for “Go Rally Training Manual”), some dog training, lots of swimming, and a few evening classes and workshops.

I’ll be reporting in DogSports magazine the results of my sport foundation training class. Hickory (aka “Kory”) will be my primary guinnea pig, though Hazard is going to be learning obedience and rally through the winter as well.

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