Camp Dogwood Activities

Our entire program is designed to reflect the three components of the Camp Dogwood Mission:  The Dog - The Bond – The Community.

TRAINING SESSIONS emphasize positive reinforcement and fun for you and your dog(s).

LECTURES & DEMONSTRATIONS center on enriching the time we have with our 4-legged friends.

CAMP SCHEDULES are carefully designed to offer you and your dog(s) plenty of choices for each activity period, while also considering time for rest and relaxation.  Customize your day with the activities you would like to attend - OR - “do your own thing” and take advantage of the many on-site trails, open fields, beautiful beachfront, nearby state parks and attractions, or just take a nap! Camp is a perfect learning environment, so beginning level activities are always available.

Note: Activities WILL vary by session

Presentations & Activities

Activity schedules change at every session we host. Below are some of the presentations and non-sport activities that have been hosted at previous camp sessions. Many are presented at every camp, but not all are scheduled at every session. And like our schedules, we try to keep up-to-date with dog trends, what’s new or hot, and sample new classes at every camp!



Ask the Vet
This is an open forum session where you can informally ask our at-camp vet questions regarding canine health. In addition, these sessions can be used as a time for round table discussion about such topics as managing arthritis, use of supplements, vaccinations, allergies, etc. Just let the vet know what you would like to talk about.



Building Confidence in Your Shy Dog
This class will cover why some dogs are shy, nature (genetics) vs. nurture (early socialization).  Canine body language (what does a shy dog look like) will be reviewed.  Strategies for helping a shy dog will be provided – examples are how to change your dog’s feelings about “scary” things, teaching skills to build confidence, and alternative remedies like body wraps, DAP, and rescue remedy.
Build Your Own Agility Jump
Campfires & Smores
Canine Anatomy 101: Getting to Know Your Dog Inside & Out
Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Prep / Test
The CGC Prep session is designed to prepare those of you who are interested in taking the CGC test at camp or at some point in the future. The CGC Prep session is also a great way to “brush-up” on basic obedience skills even if you do not plan on taking the test. The fee to take a CGC Certification Test at camp is $10.
Canine Rescue Breathing & CPR (*NOT a CPR Certification)
Pet First Aid is the immediate and temporary care given to an injured animal until it can be taken to a professional veterinarian for more definite medical care and attention. The goal of Pet First Aid is to protect both pet owners and their pets from further harm, injury, or suffering during emergencies, by teaching prompt, effective actions and care that will safeguard the life of an injured. Learn Canine Rescue Breathing & CPR skills without making the commitment to a full certification class.
Coaching A Reactive Dog to Success at Camp
Camp Dogwood has our “Orange Bandanna” policy to protect dogs that don’t know how to cope with other dogs or people coming into their personal space. For some dogs, their “personal space” even includes any room or yard that they are in. These are not “bad” dogs. They are simply “reactive” dogs. Session was created to help owners of reactive dogs understand why dogs do what they do, how to protect them from situations that they are not able to succeed in, and to teach simple exercises that will make you and your dog more comfortable & make camp more enjoyable for you and your four-legged family member.
Companion Animals as Spiritual Guides
Many of us know that our dogs are wonderful friends and companions to us.  Kind of humorous that ‘dog’ is ‘god’ spelled backwards.  Dogs have a special way about them, as they are adaptive to our environment and lifestyle. So much so that many of us think of them as little humans.  In this open discussion session, we will share ways our animals have been our angels and guides. We will also discuss more subtle ways they have influenced our evolution and how we can honor their guidance in a more appropriate way.
Connecting With Your Dog Thru A Happy Heart
Our canine family members are so special to us and we want to start our new relationships on a good note.  In this class, you will learn simple techniques that will help you connect with your pup in happy, loving and compassionate ways. Building from this foundation, your relationship will take on new meaning and deepen with each day. Topics of essential oils, crystals, flower essences, touch therapies and animal communication will be incorporated in to this “Happy Heart” connection method. Dogs are invited to this session.
Crystals and Gemstones: A Different Kind of Bling Dog Massage
Crystals are wonderful, vibrational gifts that are formed naturally within mother earth. Using crystals in our healing work with our Animal Companions enables us to initiate powerful shifts and incredible changes in them on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. In this class, learn about these amazing gifts from earth.
Dog Health & Wellness Presentations (assorted)
Essential Oils: Mother Nature's 'Farm'acy
Come learn about simple ways to use these natural plant extracts (essential oils) in your daily life. These essences of plants can be used for your all animals from companion to farm animals.  Learn about how they can work their magic in your life. Limited Essential Oils may be available for purchase.
Get Focused!
Does your dog get distracted easily? Jump on your visitors? Or get over-excited when they see their friends?  In this class you will learn some fun and creative methods to help your dog to “Get Focused!”  You will learn how to improve your dog’s impulse control, improve their focus on you and to relax on cue.  You will also learn response substitution (redirection) to prevent your dog from getting into trouble.  Don’t expect to do a lot of hard work in this class because you both will have lots of fun! Because you need to focus on your dog, it is suggested to only bring only one dog to this class.
Grooming Secrets
In this session, our instructor will share her grooming knowledge and help you with home grooming care of your pet, including bathing, brushing, and reducing tangles and/or shedding.  A variety of grooming tools will be available for you to try on your dog to see what works best for both of you.  There will also be time to ask any questions you may have about home grooming or taking your dog to a professional groomer.
How to Take Great Photos of Your Dog
My Polite Pup: Polite Walking, Greeting & Waiting Techniques
Paint Your Pet Night
Rally Games
Here’s a fun way for you and your dog to practice rally with friends. Teams will be set up to play games like Rally Tic-Tac-Toe and Rally Relay. The games are suitable for anyone familiar with the basis rally signs. Come alone or with some friends for some good natured competition.
Rally Skills: Improving Your Skill
During this session you will learn fun and positive ways to improve the skills needed to perform the rally exercises as well as traditional obedience.  Some points of emphasis will include the turns, pivots, call to front, and finishes.  This session is appropriate for beginner to advanced rally teams.
Red Light / Green Light: Developing Your Dog’s Impulse Control
Seasonal Changes & Animal Issues
Animal behavior is greatly influenced by the weather, season changes and other changes in our environment. Ever wonder why certain things flare up at particular times of the year?  Scratching your head as to why your dogs starts coughing or scratching when you think the “allergy season” is over? In this session, we will discuss how the season changes, moon cycles and other “natural shifts” affect our dogs (and us!). Discover how we can work in harmony with these shifts to help our canine partners.
Shaping Complex Behaviors
Learn how to teach your dog to do those complicated things you see dogs do on TV and in the movies.  You will learn about capturing, shaping, and chaining behaviors together to have your dog do amazing things.  In this class you will capture at least one behavior, accomplish several steps in shaping a complex behavior and develop a plan to teach your dog the final behavior.  Then you can show off to your friends.
Teaching Your Dog To Target
Targeting is a “hands off” way of teaching different behaviors for both fun and serious obedience. Targeting is one of the best methods for getting dogs quickly engaged, focused and excited about teaching sessions.
Treatmaking for Dogs

These cooking classes always result in some delicious treats for everyone to enjoy REN_2984-copy-copy-2-300x199and recipes to take home and enjoy again and again. Campers are provided cookbooks featuring some of the treat recipes demonstrated in class. This is a great way to take some of the processed ingredients found in store-bought treats out of your dog’s diet.

“You Say What?” Reading Your Dog’s Body Language

Sport Activities

Activity schedules change at every session we host. Below are some of the core sport activities that are typical to every schedule. Like all items on our schedules, we try to keep up-to-date with dog trends and what’s new or hot in sporting activities.

Border Collie Dog WalkAgility is a course with different obstacles including jumps, tunnels, a dog walk, a see-saw or teeter, an A-frame and weave poles. Dog and handlers have work together to run through the course. Dogs jump, climb, tunnel and weave. Agility enhances the bond you share and provides exercise for both.


Levels are based on the member of the team (human or dog) that is LEAST skilled):

  • Level 1: New – Never been on agility equipment before; or very limited experience; or extreme flight risk; or scared of multiple obstacles. (Lack of weave pole/teeter proficiency not included) Focus on equipment and lead hands and exercises for focus, attention and handling skills.
  • Level 2: Some experience on all of the equipment (at low or moderate height). Sequencing short sequences. Has only done agility at camp, attended at least one camp previously, and/or has some agility training outside of class. Introduction to crosses (front & rear).
  • Level 3: Comfortable on all equipment at full height (teeter excluded, & weaves poles mostly straight up but can be open). Sequences up to 10 obstacles. Working knowledge of crosses (front & rear). Regularly trains in agility or has successfully completed many camps/agility training with this dog. Review/improve crosses (front & rear).
  • Level 4: Competition or equivalent. Works all equipment full height, teeter & weaves included. Sequences 16+ obstacles. Regularly trains in agility.
Barn Hunt
ScruffyBarn Hunt taps into a dog’s natural hunting instincts. In a trial, the dogs would search a barn-like area for a rat safely enclosed in a vented PVC tube. The dog and handler must have a partnership so the handler can call alert when the dog has found the correct tube hidden among the hay/straw bales. Barn Hunt is a family friendly sport where the treatment of the dogs and the rats are taken seriously.



In this class, your dog will be introduced to the sight and smell of the rats. You learn the basics of the sport of Barn Hunt. Any breed/size/age of dog can participate. Rat safety is always considered. The rat tubes used in training are dog proof, and if they are in another enclosure, we keep them well protected from the dogs. Rats are not harmed during Barn Hunt.

Canine Core Conditioning
In this class, you will learn how to safely exercise your dog to improve core strength, coordination, flexibility, balance, and proprioception. These exercises are important for conditioning your dog for various dog sports, preventing injuries and aging gracefully. These exercises are also great for building your dog’s confidence

You will get plenty of time to try various pieces of equipment such as: cavaletti poles; exercise ball, egg, and peanut; wobble board; rocker board; and tilt board. Bring lots of small treats and get ready to have some fun with your do.

Dog Parkour
Dog Friendly Yoga



If your dog loves to run, jump, and tennis balls… then Flyball is for you and them. In this sport dogs jump hurdles on a course leading to the automatic and spring loaded box which launches a tennis ball when reached. The dog then reverses the course with ball in mouth jumping the hurdles back to their person.

Easy to learn, a skill to master.

  • Beginner: No experience or learning basics.
  • Intermediate: Must have any experience in flyball..Can include sessions at camp.
Freestyle Dance
Try this hot new sport that is everyone is talking about! If you like to teach your dog new things, come to this class and have some fun. Learn to teach your dog to do under, zig-zag, loop, pole, circle, gee, haw and take a bow. In the intermediate class we will be doing more advanced moves. At the end of the class we will put it all together with music. A reward-based class so be sure to bring a lot of soft tasty treats for your dog!
Herding takes place off-site and has a cost for participating of $30 per dog tested. There will be a herding demonstration, herding clinic, and the opportunity to have your dog tested for herding instinct. Remember to bring water and treats for both you and your dog.

Herding is an incredible sight to see, and many campers jump at the opportunity to expose their dogs to this activity. There may be a restriction on which breeds may participate in Herding, as determined by our Herding instructor and the temperament of their flock.

Nose Work
Level 1
Inspired by working detection dogs, Nose Work is the fun search and scenting activity for virtually all dogs and people. This easy to learn activity and sport builds confidence and focus in many dogs, and provides a safe way to keep dogs fit and healthy through mental and physical exercise. This workshop will introduce you and your pooch from the beginning to Nose Work.



Level 2
This workshop is for dogs who have been introduced to nose work and are working more complex hides. Dog can still be on food or on odor.

Lure Coursing
Either your dog will “get it” and will go crazy for this organized version of running, or they won’t and you’ll wonder what all the other dogs are bonkers for! Essentially this sport has your dog chasing a lure around a field as it is being pulled along on a line. It uses essentially the same principal that horse-tracks use for the chase.

For the safety and well-being of the dog, the lure can be run at many levels…depending on experience, age and conditioning. Please let the operator know your dog’s health so speed & appropriate suggestions can be made.

Teaching your dog to follow the scent trail or disturbed vegetation scent, left by a person (or other animal) that has traveled along a certain route. Dogs can be taught to footstep track (very precision oriented tracking style), trail (the dog still follows the scent left on the ground, but with less precision than footstep tracking), or air scent (use the scent in the air to determine in which direction the person/prey went).



Dogs should be hungry when learning how to track! This is a perfect low-impact activity that you can enjoy with your dog without a lot of running around.

REN_3731TreiiIball is a sport imported from Europe where dogs use herding skills to drive exercise balls into a pen. Many have begun to sconsider this sport “urban Herdin” In this activity you will be introduced to herding commands to train your dog to move left and right and to push the balls toward the pen.  Your dog will use it’s nose or shoulder to drive the balls.  Any dog who loves to chase, retrieve or herd will enjoy this sport.
Trick Training: Do More With Your Dog
Tricks are a great way to keep your dog busy, mentally stimulated and have a lot of fun.  You will learn to use various methods of training to teach your dog some fun new tricks including: play dead, bow, weave through your legs, do the moon walk, and push a baby carriage.  If your dog already knows some of these you will learn how to teach more complicated versions of each of these tricks. Many are great for therapy dogs or dogs that just like to show off!


Weight Pull
Weight pull is akin to a human tractor pull. The dogs wear a special padded harness and are attached to a wheeled cart on an earthen surface or a sled on snow.  The goal is to see how much weight the dog can pull on the cart/sled for a distance of 16 feet.

In competition, the handler can have no physical contact with the dog during the pull, and they are not allowed to “bait” the dogs at the end of the pull with anything other than themselves.  It is up to the dog’s willingness to pull the weight to close the distance between him/herself and their handler!

Art & Crafts (Pet Projects)

No summer camp experience would be complete without Arts & Crafts. At dog camp, we call them Pet Projects and do our best to continually add new activities to our schedule. Below you will see the types of projects we’ve offered in the past…however, the line-up for YOUR camp session may vary.

Bucket / Planter Decoration
Camp Dogwood is a great place to use that creative spark you know you have!  Decorate a planter or toy bucket (or any smooth-surfaced item you decided to bring to camp). We have vinyl in plenty of colors and cut shapes and plenty of decorative embellishments you can adorn your masterpiece with, too.  There are a number of items available for camper use to decorate, but they’re all on a first-come, first-served basis. We ask campers to select only one to begin with. Enjoy!




Create A Luminary
On Sunday night, we’re having a beachside campfire with a Pinecone ceremony… which is a kind of dedication to a memory or dog or anything you’d like to present. We’re going to try and line the walk down to the beach with “Luminaries”… which are essentiallty candle-lit decorative memories or dedications. Please take the time to create your own Luminary (or multiple ones) and turn in to the Canteen. This should be a beautiful evening event!
Dog Silhouettes
Our ancestors did not do craft projects with their dogs, but they definitely knew how to trace each other’s heads. Come make either a traditional black and white Dog Silhouette, or put some color into a snazzier, modernized and blinged-up version. (Bring an images of your dog to this session.)
Dog Treats Apron Decorating
Camper-hosted by Margaret Rapp, we added a training-treat apron decorating craft. If you are interested, bring the treat apron you were given at check-in and your creativity Also feel free to bring any decorating embellishments you have and want to incorporate). We might even have a ‘Bedazzler” available to bedazzle everyone (and your treat apron).
No-Sew Fleece Crate Mat
Campers are crafty. Very crafty. So much that we’ve kept our after-dinner craft-project instruction with Lisa Hiller, long-time camper. This project is a No-Sew Fleece Crate Mat. If you think you’d like to attend, please BYOF (Bring Your Own Fleece)…or come enjoy this crafty hour and learn it for later.
Make A Hanging Wind Chime
windchime2Make a tribute to your furry friend, or just a nice piece to hang in the yard. You should be able to find a few examples hanging around camp if you need some inspiration!
Paw Painting
Plaster Paw Print Castings / Stepping Stones
One of Camp Dogwood’s long-standing arts & crafts projects that we have offered from the start. A very easy project for those with patient dogs, or just patience for their dogs’ excitement. A great Dogwood keepsake of your dog’s paw. Easy, NOT messy!


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Sample Schedules


Many campers are interested seeing a schedule before arriving at camp.  Below are an assortment of past schedules to help give a better idea of how camp days are structured.  The basic formats shown are indicative of how most camp sessions flow, with the exception of specifics (classes, times, staff, etc.).  These schedules are EXAMPLES - schedules will vary at every session - and, we reserve the right to make changes or additions directly prior to each session.