Hello again all. I had an idea to make my writings, rants and blabs more interactive. I'm calling it Dog Park Moments and it is based on what I see when I go to the local dog parks with my dog. Currently, I visit 2 different dog parks in my area that will go unnamed and I plan on visiting as many new ones as I can. I do so twice a week and there is never a shortage of moments we can all breakdown, analyze n learn from. Plus some of you will now get the same joy I do out of making fun of the modern dog owner in the convenience of your own homes, and don't worry... this is in addition to my regular articles so you won’t be spared my searing wit and insurmountable genius. (Also because the editor wants me to do more than 1 article every two months. I say pay me more, but, whatever...) So here's how this works... Every month or so I'm going to tell you what I saw at a local park or on the street or wherever, and you comment on (argue) what you think is right or what should be done based on what our laws are, or dog behavior, or just what you think is right when it comes to good dog handling. I will respond with what I think and/or who I thought had some of the better ideas/comments in my next DPM segment. Here goes our first try: There were approximately 10 dogs in the main fenced area of the park. Everything was calm. Dogs were socializing, humans were chatting- no issues. A middle aged woman enters the park with 2 mongrel dogs (mixed breed dogs of more than 2 breeds. I.E.- a shepherd/husky mix bred to a retriever/terrier mix). Both looked to be roughly 20lbs and Italian greyhound was definitely the most prominent breed they resembled. The woman had also claimed that that was what they were crossed with and both were about a year and a few months old. As some dogs do, they entered the park quite nervously. As their handler (owner, "mom" or whatever you wanna call her) walked to the middle of the main area, they followed, and about 4 - 5 members of the established group pursued them sniffing and investigating these new little dogs. They were not the smallest dogs in the area. There was a shih tzu in the area as well that had been there for at least 15 minutes already. One of the new dogs handled the stress of being investigated like a champ. He hung by mom and played it cool. Eventually, the inspections were over and he was left alone to do whatever he may. The other responded in true Italian greyhound fashion and ran! He was feeling so stressed by the poking, sniffing and probing that he did the only thing a greyhound brain would tell his body to do and he went from zero to sixty in mere seconds. When this happened, 3 of the other dogs gave chase. Not an odd behavior for a dog, but one of the 3 was about a 70-80lbs. shepherd mix. All the dogs, including this little greyhound mix, were playing, but for those of you who remember my previous dog park article and my pit bull article, they were not all playing the same game. This shepherd was trying to catch that greyhound like it was a runaway rabbit. After about 5 minutes of watching this and not one of the other dog owners doing anything about it, 2 people said they were going to go tell this woman she should move her dogs to the separate small dog area of the park. I saw a heated argument coming and headed them off at the pass so everything stayed civil, and no one would say anything wrong or stupid or would make me nauseous and angry (Yes, damn it...I did it for my own sanity). When one angry owner told her that her dogs could get hurt and she should be in the small dog area, the woman replied "I can’t. They aren't good with small dogs". She explained they were too rough with the other small dogs and doesn't want them to hurt others. I will state that at no time did any dog show any signs of open aggression, however, the shepherd mix was looking to grab the greyhound by the neck when he tried to catch him. Luckily, he missed every time. I'll tell you what I think and what I explained to all parties involved next time. For now, make this interesting and leave a comment below. Also, look out for my next column due out in about 2 weeks- Modern Dog Training. It’s about where the industry is right now. There is a brief interview and I explain why dog trainers should be ashamed of themselves.
June 3, 2014