Thursday, March 18, 2010

All Work and No Play?

...I don't think so!  Sunny and bright, today was a great day to visit the local dog park.  It was nice and busy, with 30-35 other dogs of all sizes and descriptions happily playing and socializing.  Right when we walked in, Alfie seemed a bit unsure, like a kid on the first day of school. 

Alfie races towards a collie and a couple of boxers in the distance
...that didn't last long!

Alfie trotting right behind the collie, who has a tennis ball in her mouth
"Hey, wait for me!"

Alfie circling nose to tail with a miniature pinscher as they try to sniff each other
...shall we dance?

Alfie and a large tan-and-white dog get a drink from a bowl in the shade
All that running makes me thirsty.

It was fun to watch Alfie socialize.  He played about two thirds of the time with the other dogs...the rest of the time he spent getting to know the people.  Seemed like whenever I lost track of him, I'd overhear a remark that let me know just where he was:  "Wow, feel this dog, he's soft!" (...oh, that's where he is!  I didn't see him snuggled up by that lady's feet!)   ...or my favorite, from an adorable little girl:  "Daddy, look, this frizzy brown dog really likes me!"  

Several of the other dogs were very intent on playing fetch.  Alfie tried to engage them, and didn't seem to understand their obsession with chasing tennis balls!  In be honest, I don't think he even noticed the tennis balls being thrown!  After a while chasing one of these focused types, he'd give up and go do something else.  Every so often he'd come to check in with us, bump us with his nose, and then he was off again!

Alfie's running toward the camera; his mouth's open wide and the pink tongue hangs way out in contrast with his furry chocolate-colored face
...this "frizzy brown dog" is having a BLAST!


Katrin said...

I am very surprised that GDTx allows dogs in their program to go to dog parks considering the high number of dog on dog attacks that happen in the dog park environment. I have dealt with countless dogs who become dog agressive and reactive after bad experiences at the dog park. And have heard of countless other such situations across the country. I would think that GDTx would feel dog parks would be too risky for dogs in their charges considering all the money they spend on them.

Alphini's Puppy Raiser said...

Thanks Katrin -- while I'm not aware of all that's behind the GDTx policy, I think they're trying to weigh the benefits, on the one hand, of the dog socialization you can get at the dog park, against the risks that may be encountered. Our local dog park has a pretty good reputation and people seem to be pretty good about "playing by the rules" and making sure their dogs are behaved as well. I'm not saying nothing bad could ever happen -- but, as puppy raisers especially, we do our utmost to prevent it. In my personal experience, the dog park has been great for reducing dog distraction and providing a place for additional fun and exercise, as well as a place to practice recall and other training exercises in a distracting environment.

Katrin said...

Ah, good to know. That's great that the people at your park are responsible and play by the rules.

Toby- The dog with a blog said...

I wish SEGDI allowed dog parks - I would love to work on training with other dogs around!
Alfie, you look like you are having some pawesome fun!

Sierra Rose said...

Alfie! Let's go PLAY!!! I have only been to the dog park a few times (for reasons from Katrin our parks can be a bit on the funky side...) but, when I do go, I'm like you, check things out, run, wishes I would check in MORE with her...maybe I to take lessons from ya pal! :)

Hugs and snaggle-tooth kisses,
Sierra Rose

1000 Goldens said...

I love how you describe it as a kid's first day of school! Farley is always shy for awhile too. Alphini looks like he had a great time :)