The Dog Park Chronicles

As I mentioned on Monday, Enzo and I took a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit our friends Kayla & Ernie. Enzo loves going to Columbus because we always spend some time at the dog park! My hometown doesn’t have a dog park (hopefully I can change that some day) and the closest parks are usually missing one key element- DOGS. In a city like Columbus, though, the parks are packed and the puppies are playful.

Dog Park

If I haven’t made it clear in prior posts, Enzo and Lylee are our children. I know there’s a silly debate about calling dogs “kids”, but they rely on K and me for food, love, health, etc. so in my eyes, they are my babes. That being said, I will be referring to Enzo (and the other park dogs) as “kids” from here on out. I hope you’ll stick with me and get past that… πŸ˜‰

So without further ado, here are my dog park observations from this past week.

| 1 | I want my kid to hang with the “good” kids.
Columbus is a major city with many people and, therefore, many dogs. This weekend I saw some beautiful Huskies, German Shepherds, Labs, and even a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Unfortunately, some of the dogs weren’t getting alone. Some of the dogs were accosting (…humping) other dogs. Some of the dogs were completely ignoring their owners. Long story short, not everyone was behaving. Enzo is a fairly well-mannered dog and my heart just bursted with pride every time he ran with the well-behaved kids. He didn’t pick any fight or react to aggressive dogs- he stuck with the happy-go-lucky boxers and hounds. He made some good decisions!

IMG_1846

| 2 | Everyone thinks their kid is special… and they are.
More than once I heard someone say, “Isn’t Spot/Lucy/Rosie just the smartest, most cutest, bestest doggie ever??” Of course I feel this way about Enzo, but he’s just another happy dog in a dog park, being a dog. In our small town people gush over how soft he is and how beautiful his eyes are, but in a sea of city purebreds my little mutt tends to get lost… But I still think he’s the bees knees and smarter than all the rest πŸ˜‰

He loved these two dogs- perfect size and temperament!
He loved these two dogs- perfect size and temperament!

| 3 | I am a helicopter mom and I’m not ashamed about this.
A helicopter parent is one who hovers. (Get it? Hovers like a helicopter?) I always imagined myself as a laid back, easy-going mom, but when I set Enzo loose in the park I never took my eyes off him. (I am 100% sure this will mirror my future parenting behavior with human-children.) Some of the other pet owners stayed in one place (verses following their pup from area to area) or were so engrossed in a conversation until they’d sudden stop and say, “Wait, where’s my dog?” Not this bear mom. I always had my sights set on my little dog-cub.

** I’m not for or against helicopter parenting- I just noticed that I am, in fact, a hovering “mom.”

| 4 | Playing with others truly brings out Enzo’s personality.
When my little munchkin got tired he would stop and sit in the shade. He shared his water with whomever needed a sip and wasn’t shy about nosing into other bowls. If two dogs were growling or establishing their dominance near him he didn’t shy away, but rather tried to get between them and calm everyone down. (I know that sounds crazy, but it’s the exact same thing he does with Lylee when she’s panicking about a storm or foreign dog- he nips at her ears, bumps against her, and nips at her neck to distract her.) Watching Enzo engage in dog packs is so fascinating. I could study his behavior all day!

See little Ernie (the wiener dog) in the foreground??
See little Ernie (the wiener dog) in the foreground??

| 5 | I have a great kid.
Ok, ok. I have a great dog. But honestly, I’m just so proud of his personality. When he runs with other dogs he constantly checks in with me. He isn’t afraid to snuggled up to other dogs or humans. He isn’t aggressive and he isn’t timid. And he’s the smartest, most cutest, bestest doggie ever πŸ˜‰ Hehehe.

Have you ever taken your dog to a dog park? Animal behavior is so fascinating! What have you observed in your time with dogs/cats/at the zoo? This dog park has trees and logs and tunnels- what’s the coolest park (human or dog) that you’ve been to?

-Louise

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12 thoughts on “The Dog Park Chronicles

  1. Ah, my home! Columbus really does have some of the BEST dog parks. You want a water feature? You got one. You want a lake they can swim in? BOOM! You want tunnels? Got that too!

    Carmen is such a barker. When she plays she barks. And she has the MEANEST sounding bark. But she really is just playing, and I hate that some dog parents think it’s her being aggressive or mean at their dogs, when she’s just inviting them to run. She’ll get in her little play stance, and then bark like the maniac she is, because she knows “We don’t bark inside, so outside must be ok!”

    I also hate dog parents who just aren’t aware. If Carmen is tired she gets grumpy, and then it’s time to go home. I know this about her. If she lays down with a stick she found, I have to take it because then she gets territorial of it. She’s really great at the park, but there are things I know about her personality that I watch for. I hate when owners don’t do that and just let their dog run a muck and cause a bunch of trouble!

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    1. Yeeeeees, you totally get it! You’re an A+ dog momma! I think it’s SO important to know your dog (and keep an eye on him/her/them)!! Enzo is sooo passive and playful and nonagressive- I am 100% sure he won’t start a fight or get territorial, but I still keep all my attention on him because… why wouldn’t I?! It just seems like the responsible thing to do. Plus, I just love watching him play!

      We don’t mind barking dogs πŸ™‚ Carmen could give Enzo the playful bark all day and he’d totally be down for some chasing! (My more-aggressive dog, who stays home from the park, barks at him when it’s time to play.) I’m so glad you’re so in-sync with your pup, Shelby!!

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  2. We go to the dog park almost daily. It’s something I hope you can get in your town soon! The park by my house during the summer heat is almost always empty, which is sad, but works for my pup because he just wants to play fetch. But I prefer when there’s more dogs and people around so I can watch the interactions and chat. I can’t say enough positives for taking your pooch to the park, it’s the best way to socialize them and get some of their pent up energy out!

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    1. For a while I was in a Facebook group with some local girls and we made plans to meet at the parks at specific times, but it’s so hard when we’re all so busy. It’d be much nicer to show up whenever and always have dogs/people around!

      I love taking Enzo and he loves going. It breaks my heart that we can’t take my other dog, but she’s a very aggressive alpha and we’re just not there yet with her. Someday, hopefully!

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  3. boooooo your blog ate my comment 😦

    anywho…i was saying that we tried taking our rescue pup to a dog park a few months and she freaked. she barked and whined and ran away anytime a dog came near her to play. it was sad.

    however, the people we drop her with when we travel have a labordoodle and she apparently gives her confidence because they took them to a park and she totally loved it!

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    1. Oh man, my blog is a jerk some times…

      And I totally understand that with the ‘doodle!! We went twice while we were there (Fri & Sat) and the first day Ernie was very very timid but when Enzo was with him in the small park (we bounced back and forth because Enzo is right on the cut off, but he’s so used to +65lbs Lylee) he followed him around a little instead of sticking to Kayla! I think Sugar might get the hang of these dog parks! It sounds like there’s hope for her πŸ˜‰

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  4. I think being a “helicopter mom” at the dog park is utterly essential! The worst kind of dog owners are the ones who totally ignore their pups, because theirs are usually the ones who begin to overly assert dominance, play too rough, etc. I’m aware that sometimes my dog can be overly enthusiastic when playing and everyone can get a little bit too worked up, which is why I’m proactive about calling her back for a cooling off period frequently. In all honesty, I’ve given up on traditional dog parks, because people too often bring their poorly trained dogs and that’s when things get out of hand 😦

    Cat
    http://oddlylovely.com

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    1. I 120% agree with you, Cat! I have two dogs but only one goes to the park because I know my big girl is just too alpha for dog-strangers πŸ˜‰ Enzo is a gem- I don’t know how we got so lucky. There aren’t too many popular parks around us so we only go when we’re visiting friends in Columbus, but you can bet anything my eyes are glued to my little guy. He’s actually really good at avoiding fights and he’s very submissive, so he doesn’t start anything- but I never let my guard down, just in case πŸ™‚

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  5. I don’t think I’d usually call myself a helicopter mom but at the dog park, I totally am too. You need to keep an eye on your dog and be close to them. I hate it when people forget about their dog and then it causes issues without any owner around to help.

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    1. I get so frustrated/anxious when I see two dogs not getting along and no owners in sight… I’m fortunate in that Enzo doesn’t pick fights or respond to aggressive behavior, but I’m still very vigilant and aware of his (and my) surroundings!

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