Dog Lady offers advice on loving dogs of all breeds, and how to handle fussy owners at the dog park.
Dear Dog Lady,
How can I profess to be a dog lover yet be completely bored by purebred dogs? The park where I run my multimix dogs is filled with the fancy-schmancy, monolineage breeds, but I find them not at all engaging. Mutts on the other hand are intriguing, adorable, beguiling and entertaining.
My motto has always been, “Don't breed or buy while homeless pets die.” I guess this accounts for my aloofness to both the breeds and their owners.
Let’s look at it from the dog’s perspective; we can learn a valuable lesson: Humans can be unrelenting on matters of breeding, status and size, but dogs are the least snobby creatures on earth. Naturally, they are very aware of alpha, but that leadership ranking in the pack is not dependent upon a fancy pedigree, bling, or cars bigger than studio apartments. A dog is a dog and is always happy to be around another dog -- the mangiest mutt or the most pampered Papillon.
While you may shun those humans with purebreds, your mutts are breed-blind, which is why you gotta love all dogs in the dog park.
Dear Dog Lady,
My husband and I have started taking our Boston terrier to a dog park, and she really loves the chance to run off-leash. On one of our visits, she crouched down, did a little dance with her front paws and chased a smaller dog. We were delighted to see her socializing. She and the other dog chased each other around for a few minutes and the other dog's owner nearly threw a fit.
The woman told us our dog was "coming after" her dog. She picked her dog up to "comfort" her. The dog didn't even seem particularly scared. I just can't understand why someone would take their dog to a dog park if they didn't want the dog to socialize.
We moved to another area of the park (the area set aside for large dogs) but why should we have to move? Our dog was simply trying to socialize and have fun. What's the best way to handle this situation?
When your Boston terrier “crouched down and did a little dance with her front paws,” she was inviting the smaller dog to fool around. The gesture is known as a “play bow” in canine parlance. If only the tart woman at the park learned the play bow.
Dogs usually take care of manners at an off-leash field. Intervention by people should occur when there are training and behavioral issues – or when a fight breaks out. People also have to be responsible to pick up the poop.
Don’t shy away from the small dog section of the park. You and your Boston terrier have as much right to be there as any other dog and responsible owner. Bring a ball or a toy. If the woman shows up and your dog isn’t romping, engage your dog in a game of fetch so she resists the frisky urge to chase the woman’s dog.
If the self-anointed animal cop confronts you again, smile and wish her a “nice day.” She needs the good karma.
Monica Collins offers advice on dogs, life and love. Her Web site is www.askdoglady.com. Contact her at email@example.com.