Eagerness, excitement and a healthy dose of anxiety are all part of the off-leash, dog park experience. Or at least it is for me. Gracie seems to take it all in stride. After passing through the gauntlet of sniffing dogs at the entrance, we make our way to the less populated, open expanse of grass at the far side of the park. There’s plenty of shade where Gracie chases her ball, and occasionally another dog joins in the pursuit. When she finds a true compadre, the puppy play and doggie-wrestling is pure entertainment (she goes for the ears and front paws for the take-down).
But wherever you hang out, there’s an off-leash etiquette that is universally understood by owners: no humping allowed. It’s not necessarily a boy/girl thing, more often it’s about who’s top dog – literally. And when it comes to dominance, Gracie is Switzerland. She’s no wuss mind you – but for her the dog park is about chasing balls and dogs.
Every now and then, there are those dogs who want to show their affection or dominance. And somedays, it seems she’s the girl all the other doggies want. Of course, I like to assume it’s because she’s so damn cute. While Gracie appears to think they are trying to make a move for her tennis ball – the best game ever – she won’t tolerate being humped, and will politely move elsewhere, or else there’s the rare instance when she might even snap to let them know, no means no.
After one handsome dog got the message, he seemed smitten, and stood guard over Gracie to ensure no others got close as she proceeded to happily shred her tennis ball without interruption. Putting another’s needs before your own – could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!