New puppies hit the canine park; House owners are nervous wreck Oklahoma information
Like many new dog owners, Adriana Magarin recently had a puppy to brighten up life in a pandemic. “You can only read so many books, you can only listen to so many podcasts,” she said.
Buddy, her husky, is “a troublemaker, but he upsets me in the morning and takes me outside.”
But Buddy’s first trip to a dog park in Houston, where Magarin lives, was more than she expected. He was “fine” hanging out with other dogs – until he followed them to a pond and fell into it. It came out well, she said with a laugh, even though he “looked like a little rat”.
If you go to a dog park now, you’re likely to find lively pandemic pups like Buddy along with new owners learning the pros and cons of off-leash play. Fortunately, with treats and a watchful eye, you can allay dog park fears in no time.
JITTERS dog park
Stephanie Holmes admitted that she was “a little nervous” one day in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. It was her first time taking her 7 month old dog Stella to the park for an early morning unleashed dog run, which now attracts dozens of pandemic puppies.
Stella did well with all comers, humans and dogs, but Tom Huang, owner of Rose, a gray and white pit bull, sympathized with the jitter in the dog park. “It can be difficult to get their attention when they’re in the mix,” he said.
Josslyn Shapiro had a strategy for getting her lab puppy Appa to listen: “If I bring some chicken, he’s fine.”
USE TREATMENTS LIKE A MAGNET
Highly motivated treats like chicken are exactly what trainers recommend for teaching dogs to come when called. Darris Cooper, Petco’s national dog training manager, says that a “smelly but tasty treat” should be used “like a magnet”. Put it near your dog’s nose, walk away and call the dog with a “repetitive sound” like a whistle, smooch, or click, along with encouraging words like “good boy!” or “good girl!” When the dog comes, give the reward.
Practice rewarding your dog for getting calls several times a day and “You should have a solid call back in about three weeks,” said Tim Steele, certified dog trainer who runs the Behavior Matters Academy in Sacramento.
And make it fun: “Clap your hands, talk happily, get on your knees,” he said. It is also important to “slowly increase the difficulty by calling when you are easily distracted”.
PLAY OR FIGHT?
It is normal for puppies to wrestle. But when is rough play too much?
If your puppy is “crouching, licking his lips, huddling his tail,” or conversely, “being overly stimulated” and unable to settle down, “it is best to stop interacting,” advises Cooper.
You can also do a “consent test,” says Steele. If you think one dog is too rough, gently pull it out and see if the other dog moves away. If so, the attacker was actually a little too rough and the other dog needed a break. But when the ‘victim’ dog follows, they say, ‘Hey, wait – we played – I was fine! ‘”
Steele says learning the dog’s body language is also helpful. He recommends the website ispeakdog.org and the new book “Doggie Language” by Lili Chin (Hachette).
Aggression is uncommon in most dogs, according to Cooper, but “if your dog falls, snaps, or bites another dog or person,” get the right experience from a trainer for help.
And to avoid problems in older dogs, Cooper says it helps to socialize young puppies, adding that they “best play in pairs”.
Sometimes owners get annoyed when one dog mounts another, but experts say that this is a normal dog game, and not always sexual in nature. (In fact, dogs sometimes ride dogs of the same sex.) Of course, be careful if your dog is not neutered or neutered to avoid situations that could lead to unwanted pregnancies.
Bring me the ball
Fetch is fun to play, but what if another dog takes your ball? One strategy, says Steele, is to bring an extra ball so you can continue playing while the other owner gets your first ball back. Even better: “Throw balls for numerous dogs. The dogs will be happy and the other owners will likely be delighted! “If another pooch is spoiling your game, put the ball away and try again later.
WHAT THE VETERANS SAY
Dog parks aren’t just places where energetic pups get tired, says Matt Kelliher of Minneapolis, owner of a 5-year-old mutt named Beckett. He advises new owners to view them as places where “your dog can be actively trained to be respectful, listening, and remembering”, preferably with “a bag full of goodies”.
Nor is he a fan of small, fenced-in rooms: “Dogs need space to roam and smells to hunt. I would recommend finding the largest dog park you can. “
Ted Hausman, who has been taking his dog Harvest to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for years, is delighted with the new arrivals.
“It’s nice that people experience the joy of dog ownership,” he said. “It’s a good silver lining for the pandemic.”