February 5, 2009

Dog Park Movie?

Playing around with the video function of my camera. Now trying to upload a video....

Seems to work okay through Flickr. This little video was taken last Saturday, January 31, when the temperature was so nice. You can see Remy getting some prime loving from the little girl in the blue coat. The barking dog near her (the dog that Remy plays with after leaving the little girl) reminded me of my mother's Shilo. There's also a 6-month old Irish terrier who was the cutest little thing, and so very coppery. The big black & white husky at the beginning is Yukon, the widely acknowledged "king of the park." Except that my little Remy told him what's what when he started getting fresh with her one time. Payton, however, sucks up to him all the time.

August 14, 2008

Dogs on Thursday: "Not my Dog"

Today's edition of DoT features other dogs we run into at the park. These pics are from the past two trips we've had to the river park.



This guy fishes for minnows. He spends minutes at a time watching for them and sticking his nose in. I don't know how successful he is, but he's sure cute to watch.



I just loved her markings. She's a younger pup, and wanted to play with everyone. Here she was playing with a person who was skipping rocks. It doesn't matter that the rock-skipper was skipping rocks for her pup...this little charmer wanted to play.



These two are siblings. The younger little golden has really bonded to her older sister. The lab kept chasing the ball, and the golden just needed to be with her. See the real dogpaddle in the first picture? The golden was a failed foster from RAGOM, the same rescue group Remy came from. She was apparently a puppy mill rescue, and is super-shy around people. Her foster mom decided just to adopt her rather than traumatize her with going to yet another home. Her foster mom also asked me what it was like having two big dogs...I told her my philosophy of always having at least 2 dogs so I'll never be dogless, but that I don't like 3. Having 2 is fine, and any number over 3 is fine. But with three dogs, someone always gets left out, no matter what the activity is.



Size is everything to some kids. The stickless lab in the first shot just wanted to play too, but the stick-owner would have none of it. My kids, in picture 2, just wonder what the heck he's doing with a stick that big.


I only got one shot of this one, because he left the water as I was gearing up for a second shot. He had been laying down, and was so clearly enjoying just...being.

November 11, 2007

Incident at the dog park

I'm beginning to realize that Payton and I actually share several personality traits. We're both over sensitive, though I am over sensitive to words and emotions, while he is troubled more by things and sounds. But both of us are, um, strong-willed, shall we say, and neither of us are social butterflies. At the dog park, Payton does not flit around and play with anyone who is half-way willing. No, he'd much rather set his sights on one or two pups in particular, and try to play with them whether they are interested or not (yes, I do tend toward this direction too, though I like to think I have the social grace to realize when the other party is not interested and leave it at that). And, for better or worse (and it's mostly for worse), we can both become a tad bit bullying; i.e., "you will play with me and by my rules or I'm going to take my toys and go home." Or, in Payton's case, "you will play with me and by my rules or I will poke and nip at you until you succumb." He's not being deliberately mean, but he doesn't always realize when he's being overbearing.

Needless to say, I try to keep an eagle-eye on Payton at the park so that I can stop him when he starts to get into bullying mode. I even bought a training collar for distances (he knows I'm trying to stop him when he gets this way, so he dances away from me while continuing to harrass the other pup); I primarily just use the sound trigger, and that has been pretty darn effective about steering him out of trouble.

Yesterday at the Dane play group, he became particularly attached to another young male, Cooper. He and Cooper played just fine until another dog came in and also started playing with Cooper. As soon as there were two other dogs seeming to pick on him, Cooper got scared. One dog was fine, but two got to be too much. So I tried to get Payton out of there each time another dog started in. Not necessarily fair to Payton, but I know my dog, and I'm not going to let him be involved when another dog turns from play to fear.

Something about Cooper seemed to attract other dogs. One in particular was a very sweet, but very persistent border collie who kept trying to mount Cooper at every opportunity, including when Cooper was playing with anyone else. Since I was monitoring Payton, it was easy for me to pull off the boder collie when I could see Cooper was starting to get troubled.

Apparently, I committed the very cardinal sin of disciplining another parent's child. I will say right now that I still think I was right to give Cooper a break when I saw him starting to get concerned. I WILL NOT stand by and let a dog get scared when it is a preventable situation. The majority of people at the park would come get their kids when they realized that it was becoming a gang situation rather than just playing. But for all the world, it appeared that no one was watching the border collie.

I had just pulled Payton and the border collie away (very nicely, not with the kicking and screaming that some owners do when they think they're dogs are suffering), when a man shoved his face into mine and demanded to know why I kept holding his dog. I explained that I was giving Cooper a break because the border collie had been harrassing him all morning (which was true...we never saw Cooper without the border collie, no matter what other dog was there, so Cooper spent a good bit of time whirling and snapping and trying to get back down to just him + one other dog). Still right in my face, the man continued to badger me, telling me how they were playing and didn't I understand playing, and how I shouldn't be touching his dog (who was sweet and I did spend time loving and petting him too), all the while trying to call his dog to him (who wouldn't come, by the way). I think what bothered me the most is that Cooper's dad was right there and didn't say a damn word; that, and the violation of my personal space--I still see the man's face hovering a few inches from mine.

True, it's not necessarily my place to protect Cooper since he's not my dog. But damn it, he was being harrassed, he was becoming fearful, and with Great Danes, fear biting is never a good thing. I just couldn't stand by and let Cooper get more and more fearful when simply holding off a couple of dogs would give him some breathing room.

I'm still upset about it now; as I said, I'm over sensitive to words and emotions. And, I keep thinking of the things that would have been better responses, and might have gotten through to him better. The way it is, we're both left with feelings of bitterness and self-rightousness, feelings which will continue to affect me because I'm not good about brushing these incidents off. If only I had a gift of being able to say the right thing at the right time...and refuse to be drawn into confrontations...and brush off insults and problems.

March 14, 2006

The more people I meet....

the more I like my dogs. I mean, really like my dogs. Several of us regulars were at church tonight (no, Mom, not that church), minding our own business, watching our kids running around. Then two women entered, with two dogs, and, believe it or not, a 3 or so year old girl. Who the mom decided to let wander around. Ms. Three-Year-Old is quite a bit shorter than Payton, and only slightly taller than the 7-month-old puppy who knocked her down and stole her hat. By the looks mom and friend were giving, you'd think the puppy pooped all over the Mona Lisa. WHY do you bring your 3 yo to the DOG park and then get UPSET when the DOGS act like DOGS????? Argh.

May 30, 2005

More Church of Dog

John and Stacie and I took Lando, Payton, and Remy to the dogpark down by the airport. It doesn't require a license, so they were checking it out to see if Lando would like it. I think the verdict was an enthusiastic "YES!" I think my kids have begun to be deliberately wild and crazy at home in order to get to go to "church," but then, I may be imagining things because I like going there so much.

Saturday's Star Tribune had an article about the growing number of dog parks in the Cities: (I don't know how long you'll be able to access it, so I reprinted it in the extended entry)

Continue reading "More Church of Dog" »

May 15, 2005

Exhibition at a Dogpark: I-Fri - Nourishment

May 18 Edit: I've decided to make this entry my Illustration Friday entry for this week as well. Not only is the dog park nourishing for my kids, but it's also the best place I can go to relieve any stress or negativity I may have. It truly nourishes my soul.

Now back to your regularly scheduled May 15th entry:

I've been taking my camera to the dog parks recently. Someone in the Twin Cities had posted a flyer advertising their dog park painting. Rather than buying someone else's version, I thought I'd try one of my own; hence, taking the camera. I've gotten some really cute pictures of dogs interacting at the park to work from. The best part is that we actually know a lot of these dogs. I don't yet have a canvas big enough to do what I want with it, but here are some previews of what could be included. The link under each painting will take you to the original photo.


Zoe in the water dish


Remy and Wilbur


Moe and dachshund


Angel, Dove, Wendell and border collie

April 3, 2005

Church of Dog

We went to the dog park again today. It's so much fun there, and the kids just love it. They got to play with big and small, puppy and oldster. And everyone there is a dog person. Not just people who like dogs, but people who belong to the Church of Dog. I'm going to try to worship there more often.

April 1, 2005

Dog Park Romps

Payton is thoroughly full of spring fever and was just impossible when we came home this evening. So I gave in, and with our brand-new 2005 dog park licenses in hand, we went off to explore the off-leash recreation area in Columbia Heights. Both kids were wonderful. Remy made lots of human friends with her charming ways, and Payton just couldn't get enough of all of the other dogs. We had quite the crowd there: 2 other danes, a newf, a saint, 2 young vizlas, 3 bernese, 2-3 collies, several goldens, at least one pug, a boxer, an adorable brindle am staff puppy, 2 airedales, a few labs, a spaniel of some variety whose breed escapes me, and countless mixed breeds, crosses, mutts, and just plain old dogs. I'm actually not sure whether the kids had more fun or I had more fun. But, at least it solved the problem of the impossible puppy-boy--he's sacked out now. :-) Mission accomplished.