Our dogs have so much fun playing with the other dogs! They get plenty of exercise, and you get to meet all the cool dog owners. There’s a pretty cool social strata out there at Hogan’s Run. People from all walks of life congregate there, and they all have one thing in common: they love their dogs.
We play in the “Over 30 Lbs.” park – aka the Big Dog Park. Sometimes, a teeny tiny specimen of the species canine will wander in, and hilarity often ensues. You see, these small dogs think they are just as big as a Great Dane. Last night, a young couple allowed their 4 lb 4 month old Yorkie, Vince, to come in and play. It was too funny!
Little Vince, though a pup, was not scared. He acted appropriately when a bigger dog came to sniff him, by rolling onto his back and letting the big dog check him out. It was obvious Vince had a great personality. We did have to pull Zanna away from Vince – she was pouncing on him and slapping him with her paw to try and get him to play…and sometimes, as a puppy, she doesn’t know her own strength. (45 pounds vs. 4 pounds was not a recipe for success with Zanna and Vince. Heck, she has stuffed toys that are bigger than Vince!) Little Vince the Yorkie was definitely the highlight of the evening, everyone fell in love with him.
Dogs need to be socialized, and the dog park is a great place to do so. One thing I say often – “Think Like A Dog” and you’ll have a great dog. Likewise, think like a dog at the dog park, and you'll have a great experience! You have to understand the species. I say that as an introduction to my next statement. There are a few rules at the dog park, and some are unwritten. For example, Do Not Bring Your Dog Into The Park When She Is In Heat, or even ending her heat cycle. Talk about a recipe for disaster…male dogs, whether spayed or intact, will react, and start one-upping each other. Taking on territory. Even if they don’t get close to the dog in heat.
If your dog is overly aggressive with certain dogs, you probably need to pull him aside and give him some time-out, or leave. For a while, Zack would run up to any new male dog and start having a dominance throwdown. We would have to pull him aside, or leave the park. He finally chilled out, and doesn't do that anymore, thank God. And Zanna is a social animal, she loves to play!
Another potential problem can arise from keeping your dog on a leash once you're in the unleashed area of the park. Leashes are made to restrain and control a dog. However, in a social dog park situation, a leash can get you and your dog in trouble. A dog on a leash surrounded by unleashed dogs may feel insecure and threatened. Or, even worse, the leashed dog may feel the need to protect his master. If that happens, you’ll find yourself, attached via the leash, in the midst of a dog fight. When a person tries to break up a multi-dog fight, he’ll most likely be hurt, himself.
And if you bring treats for your dog, please don't share them with the other dogs without the owner's permission. Some dogs have dietary restrictions.
If you ever need cheap entertainment, come on out to Hogan’s Run. It is so much fun to watch the dogs playing. When they get hot, they’ll go jump in the swimming pool (aka horse trough). The dogs play ball, and steal the ball from each other; a chase will soon ensue. Frisbee dogs are great fun to watch! If a dog from the herding breed is around, like a Border Collie or Queensland Heeler, you’ll probably see that dog on the perimeter, herding the entire pack of dogs. It is hilarious!
Hogan’s Run is the place to see all sizes and shapes of dogs playing together and having fun. It’s a great place to meet dog people, as well. And you know - dog people are great people! Or, at least, we think we are...