This morning I started my day by taking my two forever dogs (Dahlia and Flipflop) and Lucy (my foster) to the dog park. I know there’s a lot of mixed opinions on dog parks but my blog is not to debate things either way, its simply for me to share my experiences.
Lucy and Flipflop love to run and play and knowing the dangers of letting them off leash in the city, when time permits, I like to take them to the leash-free parks in my neighbourhood. When we got to the park, I was quite surprised that Lucy and Flipflop were so calm and just puttering around smelling (normally they would immediately engage in a game of chase). As we walked through the park they kept exploring and saying hello to other dogs, while Dahlia (my older girl) happily walked by my side.
After about 10 minutes of walking they found their inner terriers and started chasing and playing with one another, only too happy to let other dogs join in. Flipflop, at one point, was running so fast and hard he came right toward Dahlia, I held my breath waiting for impact, instead he jumped her like a hurdle – his agility classes paying off! Dahlia looked up at me smiling away, although she can’t play as rough as the others, she sure loves when she feels included.
I decided to leave the leash-free area and walk the dogs down to the lake, although it is not a nice day for a swim, it’s always nice on the waterfront.
Lucy can get nervous while on leash around other dogs, something I am working on with her. An off leash dog approached us, I explained to the owner my concerns but Lucy proved me wrong, she was calm and friendly with the dog when it approached us! I felt like a huge success, although I realize she still needs more work in this area.
I know many people leave their friendly dogs off leash in areas that are not leash free zones, but always remember, some dogs are uncomfortable and/or may be under socialized, which can be escalated when they are approached by another dog.
After a short walk on leash, we returned to the dog park, where Lucy started finding her confidence and engaged other dogs in play, leaving Flipflop to do his own socialization. While the young dogs played, Dahlia and I had the privilege of meeting other rescue dogs and their parents, something I always enjoy!