Fun Dog play and dog walkers in Melbourne, and why I walk dogs
After your dog is fit mentally and physically, after it is social, after it has done the hard (or easy) yards and gotten to the point where it is social and has recall, then the real fun can begin.
Some people say they love dogs and feed them from a can, and leave them in the back yard.
Some people say they love dogs and feed them kibble or from a can, and let them on their bed.
Some people actually love dogs (and know what the dogs really need) and devote their life to giving the dog the most natural life it can have in an urban environment. And a big part of that is taking it for regular walks and both the dog and them enjoying the social play they see in the dog parks.
For some people seeing dogs play is not a lot of fun. It wastes their time, they have fear that a dog might get injured, they have many reasons not to enjoy dogs having fun, but for me, if you truly love dogs, you will truly love dogs little adventures and them playing with random other park dogs in the most fun way possible. You will learn things from what you observe and get to know your dogs nature better and what makes other dogs tick.
I pretty much enjoy every day I go to a dog park regardless of the weather, because its about the dogs. I dress appropriately and take well behaved dogs to the park. But when I really have fun, is when a dog is social enough to be off lead and mix with any other breed of social dog. AND the real bonus is when the dogs feel confident enough, free enough, social enough to still play games.
Dog play and dog walking - the connectionA non social dog can be introduced to a park, but you will know it is still too nervous to be there when it won't take a dog treat from your hand. The opposite end of the spectrum is when dogs are happy enough to play in a fun way with each other after just meeting a new dog and they are both adults!
It is a truism that dogs play to compete and show their great skills off to the other pack members. TO assert their position in the pack, to not be dominated by dogs that they don't think should be dominating them. But a truly social dog will be able to play for years after it has left the puppy stage, because it doesn't have fear, and it is having as much fun playing as it is sorting out that whole pack hierarchy thing.
Hence the photo on this page. This photo is of three dogs that have rarely seen each other or played together. One is my dog, the white spoodle. Moments before this photo was taken the tan and the black dogs were chasing around with a working dog each trying to control and hold the tennis ball you can see in the foreground of the shot. But soon the dogs realised that crunching that chunk of tree would was much more fun. The texture and crunch was fun, but so was keeping this object away from the other dogs. Owning this object made them special and higher in status. The other dogs had to play the game to get the prized piece of wood that only became valuable after one of the dogs decided to take interest in it.
You can see the black dog licking its lips in anticipation of a lump of wood. Lily the tan dog ran around with the wood in her mouth and the others chased. This is the kind of made up games that kids play, but adults forget about, because they are too grown up. That is perhaps why grown up humans dont appreciate dog play as much - they dont understand making stuff up just for fun, and running around. A dog that isnt socialised cant understand this either. An unfit dog that is anxious and past the puppy stage wont try and play with new dogs either.
But just seeing the strategies these dogs use to get advantage of the prized possession, how they play to the maximum, but within social limits is what makes this whole game fun for dogs and the owners. This is the reward for the dogs and the owners who came to the dog park today.