Volunteer vacation going to the dogs

woman lying on bed with dogYou do not need to be a professional dog trainer to enjoy this dog-focused volunteer vacation. This volunteer vacation is open to both men and women over the age of 18. Our group will include dog trainers who want to share reward-based training practices with pet owners, rescue groups and shelter staff on the islands of Puerto Rico and Vieques.

Explore historic San Juan, spend a night in a tropical rainforest, stroll along pristine white sand beaches and swim in one of the world’s finest bioluminescent bays. Join us to learn more about force-free training practices and participate in this exciting adventure or if you are a trainer, come share your skills & knowledge. We will be offering free or low cost training sessions in unique locations so you will experience the islands’ diversity.

colorful building in old san juanThe group will be met in San Juan. Our hotel is a short walk to the beach where you can enjoy a walk or dip in the ocean. In the evening we will enjoy a meal at a restaurant serving typical Puerto Rican food and have an orientation to our adventure.

Our first day will include planning activities for our training events and a visit to a local shelter where we will adopt a sato (Puerto Rican term for a street dog). This lucky pup will become our demo dog and grey haired woman with fully dogwill illustrate to people that local shelters have wonderful dogs waiting for homes. At the end of our adventure the dog will return with us to the States where a forever home will be found for him/her.

Our sato can shine during our training day in San Juan where through the use of games, contests and demonstrations we’ll get pet owners excited about training their dogs.

From San Juan we’ll travel to Las Casas de la Selva in the Carite Reserve. This special location will be our home base for our training sessions in the town of Cayey where a local vet and his staff have organized a group interested in learning about positive training methods. The lodgings at Las Casas are rustic and include bunkrooms and tents. Learn how to prepare tostones to accompany our evening meal. Let the native coqui frogs lull you to sleep after an evening’s salsa dance class.

twp women in the water wearing masks & snorkelsFrom the rainforest we travel to the port town of Fajardo where we catch the ferry to Vieques. We will stay at a pet-friendly hotel and learn more about the efforts on the island to create and maintain an animal shelter and clinic. Our host has been involved with animal rescue on the island for decades and her hotel provides a home for dogs, cats and horses.

Dogs who have learned to respond to a few basic cues are less likely to be abandoned or woman with dogrelinquished to shelters. By showing people how to have a positive and trusting relationship with their dog we will be supporting dogs in doing what they can do so well, become our best friends. Our visit can help to change the culture of pet ownership!

Your guide and leader for this adventure is Debbie Jacobs CPDT-KA, CAP2 and the author of A Guide To Living With & Training A Fearful Dog. Debbie has been leading group adventures to Puerto Rico for over a decade. She is excited to be combining her passion for traveling and sharing unique environments with people and her enthusiasm for helping pet owners discover the most effective and humane ways to communicate with their dogs.

May 2013: 10 days (exact dates pending)

Cost: $1299 includes; all lodging (based on double occupancy), ground & water transportation in Puerto Rico & Vieques, 5 dinners, 2 lunches, 2 breakfasts, tips & gratuities. Single supplement $250

brown dog on sidewalk above the word gracias

Comments or questions are welcome.

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