Friday, September 10, 2010

The Bark Park

Winnie and I are lucky enough to live next to some pretty cool parks.  Most of them offer some pretty cool walking trails that when you get back far enough you don't feel too bad about letting your pup off leash.  (shhhh!)

Winne on the trails this summer.

We do have one specific dog park though and I'm always a little conflicted when we go.  On one hand I want Winnie to be exposed to other dogs, learn to behave nicely around strange animals and people, and really open up for a good old fashion game of chase or fetch!  On the other however, I'm confronted with dog owners that have different standards for what "behaving nicely" means.  They don't keep a very close eye on their dogs and I sometimes feel like the trip just wasn't worth it that day. 

Being a dog parent can be tricky!  You see people punish their dogs for the owners mistake, people that just don't pay attention, and then those of us in the middle... that want to share the time with their dog and like minded dog people.  We bring toys and have conversations.  It can be a really lovely time.

Winnie at the Bark Park

Winnie with her best buddy Miguel.  Miguel moved to Texas this summer and we miss him!
My question for you guys is this:  How do you get the most out of outings with you dogs?  Do you stick to the dog parks?  Go on the lesser used trails?  Participate in organized events like obedience training?  Or take on the really risky business just taking your dog to people places and seeing how many folks complain? 

My world would be much happier if well behaved dogs were welcomed to more places and I think more dogs would be well behaved if they weren't stuck in the house all day!  But until then, this is what we've got. 

Okay... what do you do?  Be specific.  :-)


Kelly said...

Honestly, I've learned that the best 'social interaction' Gibson can have is with dogs that I know. My mom's dog, my friends dog, my neighbor's dog.. dog's that I KNOW aren't going to freak out on him. Going to the dog park is nice in the fact that it gets a lot of energy out of him, but there have been one too many times where an aggressive dog gets out of control and the owner doesn't seem to care! Just is starting to not be worth it :(

I love taking Gibson on walks on trails like you described above..where it's empty and you can let him off leash and have a fun time!

Katie said...

I dont like taking Whiskey to the dog parks due to the fact that she was not socalized as a puppy and she gets pretty nerverous (and in return growly). We take her to the local other trail parks all the time- she loves those. She loves people and running around and following mommy and daddy around. We also go to people places that have an outdoor area so we can bring Whiksey- like starbucks.
My biggest pet-peeve is seeing the people bring their dog into the mall or grates on my nerves. There are places to take your dog and that is not one of them. Now if certain stores make a dog allowance on certian days etc. that would be neat.

Amy said...

To Kelly - Some of the best puppy play Winnie has had was with Miguel, my friend Cindy's dog. We actually scheduled Dog Day Wednesday and found fun things to do with them together but since they moved we've been a little lost AND I sometime wonder if Winnie was TOO friendly with Miguel. By that I mean, she would sometimes be a little rude and Miguel wouldn't always correct her so I wonder if that's just the way she thinks ALL dogs are... which just isn't so. But you make a good point. There are dogs we know are 'safe' and those that are still untested. Maybe I need to grow my list of 'safe' dogs.

To Katie - I couldn't agree more that taking your dog to Target is a horrible idea. I've sat with Winnie in front of cafes before which is fine as long as you have two people (one to dog sit, one to place the order :-). But it's easy to see that even there dogs make some people uncomfortable. Maybe the answer is just becoming a 'regualr' so people learn she's a good dog. Thanks for your input!

Jenny said...

We take Stanley with us to a lot of restaurants & cafes with outdoor seating. We've gone through group obedience classes. We frequent dog friendly stores like Petsmart, etc. We try to attend local dog events (like doggie Halloween parades, SPCA fundraising walks, etc). And we do go to dog parks on a regular basis (at least once a month with our meetup group). I've seen a couple of dog fights in my day so I try to be very cautious when we go. Overall, we try to bring Stanley with us as much as possible and expose him to a lot of different things. Honestly, I kinda wish I could bring him to Target b/c we go there so often and that would be so darn convenient! :)