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The scoop on dog parks

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Updated: July 25, 2012 6:31AM



Dear Readers: We have an update about Ferdinand, the schnauzer owned by Andy Bray.

Last week, I wrote about the unpredictability of dog behavior. It seems that Andy was walking his two dogs in the Canine Country Club on Sturdy Road in Valparaiso. It’s a leash-less park that members and their canine friends can use.

All went well until an Australian sheepdog (not Husky) was stung by a bee and freaked out, biting Ferdinand.

“All’s well that ends well,” quipped Bray.

Everyone, including the park owner, Bob Gray, and the other dog’s owner did the right thing. Ferdinand had a few tough days, but he’s back to himself and we will continue to use the Canine Country Club, Bray said.

Dear Ollie: Well, I finally made it to a dog park.

While other dogs were running and jumping and chasing things in the park, I sat in the car with my nose pressed to the window.

On the drive over to the park, my owners talked up the dog park as a place that I could exercise and they could spend a couple of hours with other people.

Usually, people who go to dog parks are the very same people who like their dogs and they like other people who like their dogs, too. As a result, most regional dog parks are established, funded and cared for by dog owners. My humans bought a membership in the Canine Country Club and I was elated.

The park is open from 7 a.m. to dark, and I was told that it is a quality place for exercise and socialization. But so what? I didn’t get to exercise because I was in the car and never got out. 

Well, maybe that is not entirely true. I was out
once but I barked, honked and scooted backward, and I wouldn’t stop that behavior no matter what my human did.

As a result of my goofy behavior, I was put back in the car for what seems like forever. 

Roxy, the Japanese chin

Dear Roxy, You honked?

In a perfect world, you still would not be perfect. If you were perfect, you would be so well-mannered that you could play off leash anywhere and return to your owner at the first summons. It’s not a perfect world, and we already know that you are not perfect.

We have fenced-in dog parks and hope that the dogs attending are well-mannered.

Some dogs will never fit into a dog park environment, like my housemate Oscar, because he barks
at everything that moves. Or, my friend Stevie Nix who hates dog parks because she finds the parks to be overwhelming and frightening.

Dogs should already be well socialized before they are turned loose in a dog park.

Author Cheryl S. Smith wrote in her book “Visiting the Dog Park” that every dog owner should know their own dog.

To enjoy any park experience both dogs and owners need to know what the rules are and follow them. I mean, there must be rules against dogs honking when they’re stressed.



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