Summer camp goes to the dogs

Posted: Wednesday, Aug 27th, 2008

By Barbara Covell For the News-Times When psychologist Caroline Spark shifted the focus of her Portland-based counseling practice to incorporate some non-traditional, canine family communications and motivation training, she also developed a “country life” component on five riverfront acres in Yachats. She named her newly restructured practice “City Dog, Country Dog: Training Solutions for Busy Lives”. Although she is a sole proprietor in the business, she has several professional affiliates, including Newport veterinarian Jay Fineman, DVM, former owner of Grove Veterinary Clinic. “City Dog, Country Dog” will sponsor a first-ever summer camp for dogs and their people. Scheduled for Sept. 5-7, “Call of the Wild Dog Camp” is a three-day program of structured workshops and activities, designed for learned relaxation, play, training, skill development, and pleasure. Spark is bringing in six additional instructors to assist with each day's activities of planned training games, walks, nature games, sports events, massage, and relaxation. Games and events include “good rat hunting”, freestyle dancing, agility and Frisbee training, fly ball team training, “tricks and treats” in training, “bumper relay” and “ducky fetch” in the river, treasure tracking, canine massage, and T-touch. There is a limit of 30 dogs and their people (individuals or couples). Dogs must be people- and dog-friendly, and leash-trained for the initial group gathering. Most subsequent activities will not require dogs to be on a leash. Although lodging is not provided at Dog Camp, Spark recommends that guests arrange for local pet friendly lodging by researching, or contacting the Fireside Hotel in north Yachats, which is offering Dog Camp registrants a discounted rate. Spark will have designated play and training areas at Dog Camp, including a fenced exercise ring, and a 20-foot-by-40-foot canopy tent. Saturday and Sunday mornings begin with a refreshing hike, followed by a nourishing communal breakfast. Saturday evening festivities include a barbeque, dog training demonstrations, and group social time. Spark is also prepared for any “time out” needs. Her Yachats retreat includes a private overnight canine guest quarters replete with multiple dog beds, a basket of toys, and a daybed for human companions. Cost for Call of the Wild Dog Camp is $ 300 per dog and human companion. For more information, contact Caroline Spark at, or view her website at

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