Get your play on

The other day while I was at the park, the one that I shot the three legged dogs at I met a bunch of dog folks.  They were mulling around a beautiful grassy area and their dogs were having a blast.  I always ask before I shoot so I approached and was given the okay to shoot.  Two of the dogs were having the best of time and the contrasting color and types was even more fun to watch.  One was a beautiful standard poodle named Star, the other an adorable young black labrador girl named Ella.

Ella ducking as she sees the inevitable tackle coming.

I love shooting dogs having fun, and these two were in the thick of it.  The game was fast and furious and so much of it is missed by our mere naked eye.  Having been able to stop the action, you can read  more into what is going on.  These two ran so hard that you couldn't take your eyes off of them, literally.  When dogs start playing and running like this it is of the utmost importance to watch what is going on.  They can slam into you without ever seeing you.  I have several friends who have had dislocated knees because of running, playing dogs.

This may appear scary but it is all in fun.  Note the dogs tongue to the left?  Relaxed and showing no concern.  Seeing the entirety of Stars body makes it very clear that this is all just fun. 

I use to have these teeth flying in my house all the time when all three dogs would play fight hard. I don't see it anymore with the old girls.  Tilley and Jessie use to lay on a big bed, both with teeth displayed exactly like the image above just chomping each others teeth.  The clanging of the teeth made me think that someone was going to lose a tooth, but they never did.  It is all fun, and very important to know what is fun and what is not.  So this big display of teeth alone does not mean an aggression, you must look at the whole body of the dog.   I have seen humans react very badly to dog communications.  Dog's cannot speak so they must use body language.  To stop them from using their means of communication opens up a whole box of problems.

This one is a mere seconds later.  Again notice Ella's relaxed face, dogs read dogs very well.  Often it is the humans who see problems when there are none. 

Here Ella goes in for the face bite.  Note the relaxed position of Star's mouth and ears.  This shows that he is relaxed and has no concern about the face bite, knowing it is all play.

So with my camera in hand I shoot the fun and deek out of the way as they speed by just missing my knees, one chasing the other.  First Star chasing Ella, then Ella chasing Star.  And like children there comes a time to say enough.   I could have watched all day and when the owners said that it was time to stop, I think that I was more disappointed than anyone. 

Is there anything better than dogs having fun?  Well other than watching them have fun.