Saturday, April 26, 2008

Behavior at dog park

I took a couple of dogs to the dog park today. It is always an interesting experience. Sometimes I wonder whether it is more interesting to watch the dog or human behavior.

My dogs seem to take things in stride. They are friendly and enjoy watching as "newcomers" come through the gates of the park. I've observed all kinds of canine behavior at the park. There is the rough and tumble style with lots of growling, grabbing, wrestling and tackling. Some dogs are daintier with bowing and chasing but not much physical contact. A few dogs are ball obsessive and only want to fetch or play frisbee. Some dogs like to herd other dogs, and may bark and nip at them. I've seen a few skirmishes but no outright dog fights. In fact, everyone seems to get along fairly well.

One of the things that I watch is how my dogs are interacting and how the other dog is responding. Mine are friendly but often prefer to hang around me. Hoffa, the greyhound, likes to be the greeter and loves to run beside others when a ball is thrown. She doesn't try to take the ball so she isn't perceived as a threat.

The Labradors enjoy retrieving but when they get hot, they would rather go lie in the cool sand near the water fountain. If I go to the dog park with the lake, then they like to wade through the water or lie down in it.

The people at the park generally share information about their dog. Most seem totally devoted to their dog and enjoy watching the antics of everyone. I've never seen anyone be abusive which is a good thing! Today, I overheard a few people talking to a fellow about whether he was going to breed his young male boxer. I generally have to bite my tongue when these conversations come up, especially when an owner says that a dog has a genetic problem but is too "pretty" not to breed.

Here is an especially good article about dog park etiquette. The point of not bringing small children to the park is a good one. I've seen little puppies and little people get bowled over. I don't think it's a good idea to bring either to the park. I would worry about puppies being around large dogs that might step on them and perhaps picking up an illness from another dog. And it's obvious why small children and infants are better off not going to a dog park.

Hopefully, your experience at the dog park will be as much fun as mine has been.

1 comment:

Shadow said...

sounds absolutely great. i wish there were dog parks here...