Saturday, May 29, 2010

Social Life of our dogs - a Saturday at the Dog Park

In The Woodlands, Texas, we have some awesome dog parks. They are spread out over the community for easy access on a Saturday morning, or after one gets home from work. It was hot today and the animals really appreciated the dog pool. I did too actually. Splashing me felt refreshing.

Yes, the dog needs his exercise, but what the dog looks for and appreciates the most is the social aspect. That includes its human family as well as meeting other dogs.  It even includes meeting strange humans!

It is not unusual for there to be conflicts among individuals. Some are "puppy social", others are "alpha social". In this particular case, the white dog is an alpha female which just arrived at the park. She was accompanied by both human family caretakers. She had her toys and her caretakers were throwing her toys for her to chase and fetch.  She did not want to share. When she arrived at her caretakers to give them the toy, the brown dog tried to take it. The brown dog wanted to play with her. She responded with a growl and jumped on the brown dog, biting her in the leg. The brown dog yelped as the white dog continued to attack. There were tooth gashes on the leg and in the skin on the brown dog that I saw after the dogs were separated. It happened again with a second dog, two of three large brown dogs that a young lady had brought to the park. The young lady left with one dog slightly injured, another one possibly injured and the third unscathed. It was my opinion that he owner of the white dog should have put a leash on the white dog but never did. The owners tried instead to calm the dog and later released her to run free again, only to repeat the attack.  I have heard of similar situations from various other people over the past few months.

All remaining dogs had no problems whatsoever. Most of the animals I saw were very puppy-like. They wanted to romp and play with other dogs, and sometimes they wanted me to play with them.  I had two or more of them jump into my arms wanting my full attention, even though I had the camera and equipment on me.  That was OK. I am used to it, and I would not have belonged there if I was not willing to be their playful friend.

Many of the dogs simply loved this little swimming pool. Some would totally immerse their head and body under the water to cool off. This one kept his head out of it. The dogs would often bring their toy and place it where they could an eye on it.

Here I am about to be enthusiastically bathed and loved by a wet dog.

While the white and brown dogs remained together, there was an acrobatic attempt to catch a toy in mid-air. The white dog was a human-oriented dog, not really interested in the other dogs.

This dog was much prettier when she was dry. After getting soaked in the swimming pool, she was a bit more wiry looking.

Despite her behavior and the heat, this dog was a good subject to photograph. She chased her toys with lightening speed.

This smaller dog played in the small dog pen. There are two separate pens, one to protect the small breed dogs and puppies.

This Beagle was fairly docile. He played and socialized but not recklessly, like some of the others.

This is something us humans can't do, run at their speed and go nose to nose in a race.

To cool off in this scorching sun!

Then it is time to go home. Where's mama? Carry me back home!

No comments: