Summer Camp, Meet Canines: What is Camp Doglando?

Welcome to Camp Doglando! Orlando’s Favorite Summer Camp

Camp Doglando is a unique and high-intensity summer camp experience. Campers (ages 10-13) will have two weeks to care for, train, and play with a rescue dog, and ultimately help find that dog a new home. Camp Doglando is based in Orlando, Florida, on the University of Doglando campus.

Who are the Camp Doglando dogs?

Our rescue dogs are hand-picked for us by local rescues, most often the wonderful organization Pet Rescue by Judy.

We choose dogs who are likely to work well with children and whose chances of adoption will be increased by two weeks of socialization. Our dogs come in all sizes, all breeds, and all ages – each child will work closely with only one dog, but campers learn about different types of dogs from watching each other.

After gaining experience with each dog during the first day, campers choose the dog they want to partner up with. However, in case of dispute, Camp Doglando will choose.

Camp Doglando helps dogs get adopted

Nearly 200 dogs have been through the Camp Doglando program, which has a 100% adoption rate – and, more importantly, a 0% return rate. Not one of Camp Doglando’s canine alumni has ever been returned to the shelter once adopted.

Our campers tend to return to Camp, though!

About the Campers

Campers come from all walks of life. No previous animal experience is necessary, though it is helpful. Campers have absolute responsibility for their dogs for two entire weeks, including:

  • Medication
  • Feeding
  • Walking/exercise
  • Cleaning up poop
  • And everything else that goes into “dogging responsibly”!

The experience is fantastic for building self-confidence, responsibility, reliability, compassion, empathy, and of course a basic understanding of animal training.

Camp Doglando is not a traditional camp experience, and no two days are the same.

Campers arrive in the morning, potty their waiting dogs, and the day unfolds organically from there, depending on the progress of campers and dogs, the weather, and sudden opportunities which may appear.

Campers must be flexible, open-minded, and willing to take instructions: dogs don’t always listen, rain happens, and part of the camp experience is learning to deal with the unexpected and the frustrating! Campers are expected to put in their full effort, and to help each other. As a result, they learn cooperation and compromise while making lifelong friends.

More about the Camp

Over two weeks the campers and their dogs experience a wide variety of real-life situations designed to educate them about human attitudes towards dogs, how humans and dogs work with each other, and our place in the environment.

Camp Doglando field trips

While part of each day includes basic training exercises such as crate training, loose leash walking, sit, and stay, campers also go on field trips, with their dogs and without. The first day always includes a trip to a local rescue as well as a pet store to investigate the diverse ways people acquire pets, and what they may do when they no longer want those pets.

Other field trips have included kayaking and canoeing tours, picnics in local parks, and visits to local pet-friendly retailers, all with the dogs, who continue their training in these new environments. Campers may:

  • Visit a veterinarian to put their charges through a mock vet exam.
  • Take their dogs to Doglando’s grooming salon for their very first bath.
  • Teach their dogs to swim in Doglando’s full-size dog pool, building self-confidence in the dog and promoting trust in the handlers.

We also bring in guest speakers, and those guest speakers have included Canine Companions for Independence and a local cattle rancher who keeps working dogs.

Giving back to the community through Camp

Each camp includes a fundraiser benefiting a local charity, which the children plan and execute, creating art to sell or bringing baked goods from home. Proceeds are distributed during a field trip so the campers can directly see how their work benefits others.

How do Camp Doglango dogs get adopted?

During each session, campers make flyers or videos for their dogs, promoting their adoptability. During field trips, they are encouraged to interact with the public and act as ambassadors for their dogs. If a family is interested in their dog, campers will assist with initial meet-and-greets (under the direction of the rescue) and ask questions to help determine if the dog and the family are suitable for one another.

At the end of camp, each camper will say goodbye to their dog. Some will be adopted that day directly into new homes. Not-yet-adopted dogs return to the rescue, where they are listed as Camp Doglando alumni and have a greatly increased chance of adoption. Campers often work with the rescue after camp ends to continue to promote “their” dog until he or she is adopted.

Almost two hundred campers have graduated from Camp Doglando. Many pursue dreams of working with animals. Some campers return to Camp Doglando year after year, continuing their education in dog handling and in the world of animal and human welfare.

Does your child want to join Camp Doglando?

It’s a truly unique summer camp experience for everyone involved, and it fills up quickly! There are only a few spots left in each session. Session I runs from June 19-30, 2017, and Session II spans July 10-21, 2017.

Click here to learn more! And be sure to check the Doglando blog while Camp is in session. We’ll be sharing plenty of updates.

What are some of your favorite summer camp memories as a kid? Let’s talk about our fondest memories in the comments!