Sam and Helo got to the go to the beach on Friday, and to the dog park on Sunday. We met an adorable Golden Retriever puppy, and a 17 year old Cocker Spanial/Daschund mix who had such a puppy-like personality. The dogs got to see their pals Piper the German Shepherd, Tucker the Golden Retriever, Jack and Buddy the Labradors, Tailgate the Border Collie, Bailey the German Shepherd, and Sally the Collie. Sunny, a Lab/Shepherd mix, came to the park for the first time.
When the man and daughter first entered the park, we were all looking to see if we recognized their dog. Since we didn’t, we watched to make sure all the dogs did okay greeting the new dog. Sometimes it can be a little awkward for new people to go the dog park where other people have already formed a sort of friendship. We’re always happy to see new people at the park, and for the most part I think we come off as a pretty friendly bunch to newcomers. Eventually Jack and Buddy’s owner got up and went to greet the man and his daughter. He had to get Buddy’s attention because their dog Sunny clearly needed some space.
We learned that Sunny was a rescue and wasn’t very socialized with other dogs. She seemed to display some dominant behavior at first, but eventually she settled down and started playing with Tucker the Golden Retriever. Sunny plays a little rough and is very vocal when she plays, so at first it sounds kind of intimidating. Most of the regulars at the dog park are familiar with dog behavior and didn’t step in while Sunny laid on top of little Tucker. There was no harm being done, and Tucker kept going back for more. He was having fun.
I talked with Sunny’s owners (the man and his daughter). I could tell they weren’t comfortable when they first came into the park. I’m not sure if they were worried about Sunny’s behavior or worried about how other people would feel about Sunny’s behavior. I told him that it seemed like the biggest thing with Sunny is her growl. She’s vocal when she plays, and that scares people sometimes. I didn’t understand how it felt to be that person until Helo came around. He can get pretty vocal sometimes, and people are often frightened by his growling and showing of the teeth during play. People think he’s fighting, but what they don’t know is that Helo is the biggest wimp in the park.
I think Sunny would stick up for herself if it came to that, but for the most part she did pretty good for her first time at the park. I hope to see her again. I think the more she gets out there, the better she’ll do with the dogs. If she was aggressive, she would have bit several dogs today. She had more than one opportunity, but she chose not to. That tells me she was just uncertain about her surroundings when she first came into the park. Who wouldn’t be worried about a bunch of strange dogs running up to you from out of nowhere?
Sometime dogs just need a little bit of time and space to get comfortable.
So I’ve moved my list of dog blogs on Tumblr from a post to a page. Check it out! If you know of any dog blogs that aren’t on the list, please let me know! I’m happy to add any dog blogs I come across. The only rule is that they must be separate from personal blogs - they should contain a majority of posts or pictures of the blogger’s own dog(s).
It’s very time consuming to keep up on the list, so if you find any broken links please let me know so that I can try to fix them. Whenever a blogger changes the URL of their dog blog, I need to know about it in order to keep that blog on the list. Otherwise the links will redirect people to the original URL which is no longer in use. Feel free to share the list on your own blog. It’s fun to find other dog blogs to follow! I’ve organized the list by breed so that people can meet other bloggers with the same kind of dog(s).
When I’m walking up to the dog park with Zeke and this guy straight grabs his dog and leaves. Goes WAAAYYYY around me as if Zeke is gonna lunge and kill him. Some bull shit man. Zeke has no clue he’s a pitbull. And none of the dogs will play with him . None of the moms or dads will talk to me.
That’s a shame. I hate to admit it, but I’ve seen the same thing happen at my dog park before, and several times at the pet store back when I was a cashier at a family owned pet supply store. I don’t even own a bully breed and yet I get so angry when I see that happen! I’m sorry that it happened to you and Zeke. I would go up and start talking to the parents of the other dogs as if nothing happened. Zeke is probably an amazing and sweet dog. It’s not right for you to be afraid that no one will interact with you or him!
The best thing you can do is show people that Zeke is a good boy! Go start a friendly conversation about how great he is, and maybe it’ll open their eyes as to how good he is with other dogs. I got frustrated once because my fiance’s aunt was talking about how she didn’t like Pit Bulls, and couldn’t understand how her friend could stand to rescue them. Maybe eventually her friend will help her realize that any dog can be a good dog, just as any dog can be a bad dog. I’ve met more vicious Chihuahuas and Pomeranians than I have Pit Bulls! People just need to get over it.
It’s sad that they have such a bad reputation because of all of the idiots who take them in, neglect them, and instill fear in them. It’s funny because people are more than willing to come up to my Australian Cattle Dog, and she used to want to rip children to shreds. She still has to be carefully monitored around strangers because if she feels that I’m being threatened by a scary man or a jumpy woman, she’ll nip their legs.
It’s not a good idea. Plain and simple.
Sometimes people bring treats to the dog park to reward their dog for good behavior, especially if they are in the process of training their dog. Sometimes these people will also give treats to other dogs at the park, without asking the owner if it’s okay. Just a word to those of you out there reading this blog, please rethink your decision to bring treats into the park. Handing out treats may cause a fight to break out if one or more dogs becomes protective of the food. It’s also important to ask a dog’s owner before giving someone else’s dog any kind of food because that dog could have allergies or may even be on a strict diet.
Fortunately, I haven’t seen any fights break out at my dog park over treats, and there are a handful of individuals who bring treats regularly. However, there was an instance where I helped my friend throw a birthday party for her dog and one of the dogs who attended as a guest became very aggressive and attacked my extremely passive Australian Shepherd because she thought she would have to compete for the hot dogs and hamburgers that the people were eating… Mind you, my dogs never get people food so my Aussie was completely surprised by the other dog’s behavior. The other dog clearly was being fed table scraps before (probably on a regular basis), and was expecting to get some of her owner’s food.
Just be cautious when food is involved.
We had a great time at the dog park yesterday with our pals Layla, Lyra, Buddy, Jack, and Sally! We also go to see Vincent, Gus, and Lady, too. I’m really happy that I’ve started going back to the bark park, and I hope I can continue to keep going in the evenings. Lately I have been spending at least 2-4 hours at the park (usually around 3PM-4PM until sunset, which is about 7PM). Yesterday we got there almost an hour early and had the park all to ourselves.
It was good for Helo to see Sam and Motley playing with the other dogs. Helo has been showing signs of fear when certain dogs become overwhelming. He’ll run away and give clear warnings for the other dogs to leave him alone. But yesterday went really good, and he actually played with the Leera and Sally without getting freaked out!
We’ve been doing our training routine we started a couple of months ago. I don’t have a professional trainer teaching us the ropes, and since there’s no class for me to go to every week, I still want Helo to get out and socialize in different settings. So what we do is go to different stores and spend some time working on his commands. Usually we go to Petco and Bass Pro in Hampton before we take the interstate towards Newport News. Then we go to Care-A-Lot for a little while, and then to Petsmart. There’s another Petco over in that area that we sometimes stop off at if I’m not in a rush to go home.
It really tires him out, but it’s a good experience for him. Plus, the more tired he is, the better behaved he is! I want him to be very calm and social in public, and accepting of strangers and new dogs. Sometimes he still barks at unfamiliar dogs, but he’s starting to get more comfortable and soon I don’t think he’ll do it very often.
Helo doesn’t really play like a “normal” puppy. We met an adorable six month old Pit Bull named Penny. She was white with a few brindle patches on her body (very cute). She wanted nothing more than to bat at Helo’s face and play with him, but he wasn’t comfortable with her behavior. He gets a little snappy when dogs want to jump on him or bat at him with their paws. That’s just not the kind of behavior he does in public with other dogs, which is a good thing I guess. Isn’t that what I wanted? For him to control himself around other dogs and not act like a lunatic?
I guess I got what I wanted, but his detachment to puppy play society is also a bit unnerving. I’m sure there’s nothing to worry about, but I’d like for him to be more playful when he DOES get to meet new puppies in public. He has just started to romp around with Sally and Leera at the dog park, so hopefully the more comfortable he gets with being knocked down and pushed around, the more likely he’ll accept strange dogs doing this behavior.
I really regret my actions, or lack of, in these last couple of months. I’m afraid Helo has missed out on a very important part of learning as a puppy. For nearly two months straight, we didn’t go anywhere. We just stopped. I was having a difficult time personally, and my dogs got the short end of the stick.
Anyway, Lya is our new Springer Spaniel friend. She is so sweet, and only six months old! She starts puppy class at Petsmart next Saturday with the trainer I blogged about previously — the one who wanted to insinuate that by using a prong collar on my dogs, I’m being abusive and inhumane. I did say that I didn’t like this trainer ever since then, but really I don’t have a problem with her at all. I respect the opinions of others. Even my good friend Christine refuses to use prong collars. I’m okay with that. I honestly wouldn’t use a prong collar for her dog, Layla, because she knows more than anyone else what that dog has been through and how far along she’s come since she was rescued.
Prong collars aren’t for everyone, or every dog. As a personal preference, I use them. But I also use other tools, too. I’m not just stuck on using prong collars because I want to hurt my dogs or instill fear in them (which does NOT occur when we use a prong collar, as everyone seems to wrongfully assume). I use EasyWalk Harnesses and GentleLeader head collars, too. Personally, I dislike the EasyWalk Harness, but I recommend them all of the time! For some people and some dogs, it’s a very effective tool.
I used to use one for Sammy. I’ve never used a head collar on her, and I don’t think I ever will. There’s just something about having full control over a dog’s head that makes me uncomfortable. For some dogs, I don’t think it’s a good tool to use because neck or head injuries CAN and DO occur (sometimes this is because the tool is not used correctly or because the owner is not correcting or training their dog with it).
For dogs like Helo, I think a head collar is appropriate if he is a puller — fortunately, he’s not a bad puller. However, he’s not exactly in his teens yet and will eventually start testing my authority to see what he can get away with (I am patiently waiting for that day to come).
Anyway, I’m getting a little off track. Lyra is starting puppy class. I’d love to take puppy class with her, because it would be cool to know someone in the class. I just don’t think Petsmart training is all that good, and I don’t want to pay $109 for Petsmart training, when I can do the same, or better training on my own!
I don’t think ALL pet store training programs are bad. It really just depends on the trainer. I’ve just heard so many stories from people who simply didn’t like training at Petsmart, and called it a “joke.” It’s probably because the trainer was not very good. I was considering signing up for the class that Lyra is in, if it isn’t too late, but the only reason I would go is because it’s a good social experience for the puppies and Helo really needs an extra boost on socialization since he missed out on a lot these last two months…
I feel like Petsmart, Petco, and Care-A-Lot training is a “starting point” to training. You’ll learn basic commands and get a general idea on how to communicate with your dog. It’s a remarkable bonding experience when you really get into training. Pet store training programs kind of open the door to training for some people, like Piper’s mom for example. She took classes at Care-A-Lot (Piper was always at the top of the class), and now she’s doing other training programs — Piper is even going into herding, now!
Helo and I may go in next Saturday to Petsmart to do our “routine” around the store and watch Leera’s class for a little while from the side. Leera’s mom seems impressed by the trainer, which is VERY important — and I have no doubt that it will be a great experience for she and Lyra. Lya is a smart girl, and I seriously bet that she’ll be top of her class! Can’t wait!!!