Monday, April 13, 2009

Dog Parks!

So for some reason growing up I just had the impression that dog parks were disease infested dirt pits where half-untamed dogs run wild and revert back to their wolf pack instincts. Now that we own a dog and do research we found that socialization a puppy with other humans and dogs is essential. It helps in building a stable temperament and good behavior for your dog in the future. Low and behold, we live within miles of the "first off leash dog park of the Milwaukee County." The Granville dog park.

We first saw a big hill and decided to run Dexter up it. When we arrived on top we looked around and realized this place was huge. The hill was more of a ridge, which curved through the woods and had benches scattered throughout. We made our way to the first bench which had 4-5 people sitting watching the same amount of dogs play around. If I have to say anything about dog parks it's that the people there are Incredible! I felt like I had joined some new society of pleasantville and everyone was quick to give us tips and help with any questions or concerns. Dexter doesn't know his recall (or come) command too good yet, so we had planned to leave him on leash the whole day. The other dog owners convinced us that he would stay with the pack and we should unleash him. We did and he impressed us. We expressed our fear that Dexter's herding instincts had been making him very "bitey" and he was infactuated with humping everything. Our new friends were very helpful and they explained that this is why the socialization is so important. What we may not have been able to do through training, Dexter would soon learn through the pack mentality. When Dex got too bitey, the alpha dog would rear back and pin him to the ground. Letting him know when he had cross the line.

They left after 30 minutes, and we continued on. The next group of people said that a high-quality snack that the dog rarely gets but loves is great for dog parks and she gave us a handful of hamburger which kept Dexter listening to us a lot more then the kibble we had brought.

We continued on, and were on our way out when we found yet another good Samaritan. This one seemed to be the park's fairy godmother. She knew half the dogs by name, showed us the spots to avoid (a bridge dogs could escape through, an area prone to coyotes, etc), the spots the dogs loved, and informed us that our previous plans of leashing Dexter actually harmed more then helped because he'd felt constricted in the pack.
We ended up meeting a ton of great people, and I am pretty sure Dex learned A LOT more about respect and obedience from the other dogs then we could have taught him in a week.

Alligater dog waits fawr victimz!


Gregor said...

I'm starting to think that raising a dog is more intensive than raising a child...

BLaZE said...

I laugh trying to imagine a 5 month old child going for .5-1 hour walks and runs 3 times a day.

Actually, maybe that analogy isn't too far off when I walk over and look at the daycare playground out our window...