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Waterwork camp 2009

We organized a waterwork camp at Orilampi, Finland 17-19.07.2009. On Friday we began by introducing the instructors (Teija Lakka, Bettina Salmelin, Annina Salmelin and the visiting stars, Jan Counotte, Belgian Newfoundland Club's chairman and waterwork judge, and his son Douglas Counotte) and introducing the timetable and going over the basic rules. There were a handful of people present, others had informed that they would be arriving the next day.

After the introductions, we held a small waterwork performance with our example dogs Capri, Vera and Ruuti (Newfs) as Manta-landseer had her heat. The purpose of the performance was to get everyone to start thinking in a diffrent way about what they could do over the weekend :-). Not just by the plain old waterwork test rules! Not everything went according to plan (boat's rope got loose, the handler's hat dropped while jumping out of a boat...). But it did not slow us down :-). The exercises we did were:

-I dopped out of the boat, Vera jumped after me, saved me, pulled me back to the boat and towed the boat back to the shore

-Ruuti jumped from the boat, swam to shore. At the same time Capri left from the shore to tow the boat back to shore.

-Capri and Vera saved me from one hand each

and a few other fun exercises :-).

On Saturday, the program started at 9 am with a small recap of what had been said on Friday. From the parking place, we continued to the four different training locations. There were 21 participants at the waterwork camp (plus 7 instructors) + 13 Newfoundlands, 1 Landseer and 1 Samoyed, who were divide into four groups for the four different locations. On the “land location” the idea was to train control and obedience. We practised going into and out of the boat without rushing, jumping from the boat, towing the boat (sand-filled juice canister), getting the dummy and the rope, take a line etc.. To finish up fun, we played a game of dog-molkky.

On the “Finnish trainingspot”, the main focus was training the Finnish waterwork test exercises.

The training at the “combined location”, was very varied. The idea was to train all kinds of different things and with different methods, not usually trained in Finland. The basics: jumping out of the boat, towing a boat and saving a drowning person were of course practised. But in addition, the dogs saved the drowning person by hand, brought the dummy back to the handler from all directions, brought gloves, ropes, dolls back and swam with the owners.

At the combined location, multiple dogs were in the water at the same time, and the main idea was to train technique rather than endurance. We managed to do a lot of different exercises with the dogs. On Saturday the dogs did about 8 exercises (with 2-3 repeats per exercise depending on how exhausted and motivated the dog was), in the evening 6 exercises. On Sunday, the dogs were more exhausted and we only did about 6 exercises depending on how much energy the dog had and what the handler wanted to do. At the combined location, the handlers were asked to wear a wetsuit and the dogs had to have harnesses, allowing us to make the exercises more diverse.

There was a warm lunch organized at Orilampi. It was wonderful just to sit down and eat the warm food after the exhausting practice. After lunch, we had organized Eini Kipinoinen to talk and teach us about dog muscle maintenance. The massaged dog was Vera. Eini massaged her for about two hours, all the while teaching us about basic dog anatomy and showing how to take care of the dog's muscles by massaging them. The lecture was a success, as we did manage to remember what she had taught us when we returned home! Eini also reminded us about the importance of keeping the dogs hydrated.

For the evening, we had again a training session at the four different locations. We finished around 6pm. The exhausting practice had taken its toll on the participants, as not many had the energy to take part in the evenings festivities: sauna, grilling and trivia. Sunday began again at 9am, so that we had some time to train before it was time to go home. All the dogs were completely exhausted, so the morning trainings were not that difficult, and more of a recap of the techniques and ways of training. We let the dogs just swim and train as a group.

After Sunday's lunch, for the last practice we gathered everyone at the combined location, and had each handler+dog perform something they had learnt over the weekend. A few of the dogs did not participate as they had a “flat battery”, but seemed to have enjoyed it thoroughly!

After all the trainings were over, we gathered for some coffee and cake and of course, the feedback forms were handed out. Thank you, Teija for the pumpkin-chocolate cake! We gave every participant a diplom.

It was a wonderful week-end and we hope everyone enjoyed it (though it definitely did appear so, looking at the feedback forms :-) )! We certainly did. Hopefully we will see everyone at the next camp, or at waterwork events.

Pictures of the event



(c) Salmelin