Dog park hierarchy

I was at the dog park for a while yesterday; I love going to the dog park. I haven't been for quite a while; being that my guys are all oldies. No one needs socializing and the girls frankly don't enjoy it. Tilley simply pretends that it is just us at the park; she does not acknowledge other dogs. And Jessie; well her mission is to let every dog know that she is indeed the Queen of the world. This doesn't always go over so well.

Yesterday I was simply a spectator; and I surely did some spectating. I could watch the comings and goings for hours. When you first walk into the park there is typically a greeting committee. Sometimes it's just the social butterflies in the group and other times it is the swollen head of a macho man, shall we say the king? So depending on the circumference of his imaginary head he can be a mellow king or an obnoxious bully type.

Then there is the reigning "Bitch," often far worse than a male who thinks he's in charge. There's a reason they call them bitches. Yesterday it was the social butterfly who met us; a happy young standard poodle who was very friendly and just giving his Macho thing a try every so often. But all in all it was a great bunch in the park.

Hierarchy is quickly established. Posturing and return posturing let's everyone know where they fit in. It is very interesting to watch the the who's who process. The only time a problem occurs is when two dogs cannot settle on a hierarchy, that is when it is of the utmost important for their guardians to step in and settle matters. Afterall, you must be at the top of the hierarchy.

The only dog who was annoying everyone in the park was a young and very handsome labrador. He wasn't a bad guy; just the "in your face" type that not all dogs enjoy. Everytime I looked over to see who was growling and why, it was the lab jumping around another dog. He seemed to be enjoying hurling himself at the other dogs; his way of playing but the other dogs weren't enjoying his play.

The humans were all getting along nicely as well. The dog park is a funny place; it can be a very social gathering place, but if the wrong people get together it can be a stressful environment as well. I have been at the park when the wrong mix came together; both human and canine were not a match. As an innocent bystander; the stress level was way too high for a place that is suppose to relieve stress.

The biggest thing about the dog park is that it is suppose to be fun. When I was going to the dogpark on a regular basis and getting to know everyone and everydog there was a guy who brought his dog everyday. The dog obviously dreaded the event; he would slink into the park trying his best to be invisible. The man would sit on the bench with the dog tucked under his leg for the entire length of their stay. This dog never got better, never learned to enjoy his time at the park and would have been much better off going on a nice quiet walk with his guardian.

You really have to watch and listen to what your dog is telling you.

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