Good Sunday morning; it is a chilly one here in Connecticut and the sun is just up. I hope you all had a good day yesterday; we spent much of it outside in a snow storm playing with the dogs, what fun. Elsa has decided that snow is pretty wonderful; I believe it comes a close second to sand. She loves sand and when her toes hit it, its like something happens inside of her. She comes unglued and tears around like a maniac out of control. She has always been like this, even when she'd just hit the sand at a park in the playground area she'd be off flipping out at the end of her leash.
Speaking of sand we were at the beach again on Friday. The dogs had a wonderful time and it was not very crowded; we saw maybe 6-7 other dogs in total which is a nice number. Far too often there are just too many dogs and when the number of dogs goes up to big numbers so can the stress levels. The chance of fights or other behavior issues rise with stress levels. So hitting a dog park or beach in the off hours is always the best bet.
Not all dogs that visit beaches or parks have learned how to play nice. Many people bring their dogs to interact with other dogs but don't give appropriate feedback. Feedback is essential and if your dog does not know how to play nice then best to not bring them to an off leash park before working on behavior problems. Certain behaviors may be okay at home with siblings but might not fly with strange dogs at the park.
There are a large number of dogs who do not have good communication skills. They may naturally have an obnoxious personality even though they have had a great deal of socializing with other dogs. Or they may lack the experience of playing with and reading other dogs. No matter why, they need feedback from their owners, you. If they won't quit you need to remove them.
When Luke was a puppy I took him often to the dog park to play with other dogs. It made all the difference in the world. To this day he is very social; but he has his limits. He puts up with a lot, more so with females which is very normal; but even with males he puts up with a lot of nonsense. One line that he draws is with mounting, many dogs will not put up with this. Mounting is a very dominant behavior and can get a dog into serious trouble; it should absolutely never be allowed with strange dogs. One foot on the way up to a mount can be all that is needed to start a fight.
Elsa has amazing communication skills, I just love to watch her ability to read and interact appropriately. Giving dogs the opportunity to interact with other dogs is a wonderful thing but like many things in life more is not better. Too much can be a bad thing; dogs get tired, cranky and then problems begin so like I always say "quit while you're ahead." Had a good short visit at the park? Leave on a positive, don't hang around for a negative. Dogs don't need hours and hours of full speed running............patience grows thin when tired.