Thursday, February 18, 2010

My Kingdom For A Decent Dog Park

Even though we have 10 acres, it gets boring wandering about all by ourselves sometimes - it's pretty isolated out here. We often hit the park up the road, where we've made lots of new friends, but I make a point of trying out the various nearby parks we find on the internetz. Yesterday, we went to the worst one yet ... we only lasted 30 minutes at that one.

Then Ace's dad tells us that there is an off leash beach in White Rock. A beach?! Ohboy! Being former West Enders, we really miss the ocean a lot. White Rock sounded like it'd be far away, but I timed it - only took us 15 minutes or so to drive there.


And by "Woot" I mean Wootie was happy to be back in a large body of water.

Ahhh, this is the life.

He was so happy, he couldn't even keep his feet on the ground.

He didn't even care if he caught The Wootie Toy or not. Which is good cuz, umm, he didn't.

Tweed + beach = bliss.

Piper + ocean = who-cares-as-long-as-TFL-throws-the-ball.

Even Dexter seemed to like the ocean, and water is NOT his favourite surface.

He was a little hesitant at first ....

... but soon he'd made himself at home with the ocean.

Speaking of Dexter, I've been observing him a little more closely lately to see if we can't get to the root of his assholiness.

Someone had suggested that perhaps his issue was being on leash, so I took him to the park several times on a leash to see what he did. Which was nothing different. Friendly to everyone he met on leash or off.

But he did do something in my living room the other day that gives me a little bit of a clue - he snapped at Wootie who got between him and his "job" (we were working on fetching to hand from a short distance). He was waiting for me to toss the ball and Wootie wandered by and got a snap in the face for it. A little later on, Piper (gasp!) got one was well.

At the park, he largely ignores other dogs, though will greet them politely for the most part, but he's not too interested in them. He will infrequently snark at a dog who is too in his face, but I expect this from all my dogs, who like calm greetings and detest rambunctious ones. However, if he thinks something fun and exciting is about to happen involving people, he gets very bitchy with other dogs. This is different from being *involved* in something fun and exciting though - like today at the beach, I was throwing the frisbee for everyone and a certain Schnauzer decided to obsess on Dexter, who was - as usual - creeping around in "work" mode trying to keep an eye on the frisbee and all three other dogs at once. Several times the Schnauzer jumped on him, got in his face and barked right in his eyeballs without so much as a blink of a response from Dexter, because Dex was concentrating very hard. And when he finally did snark at the irritating Schnauzer, it was ever so brief.

So it seems to me that "Relaxed" Dexter is friendly, and "Working" Dexter is largely oblivious, but "Anticipating" Dexter is a right rip roarin' bitch. I do wonder if at agility class he is so keyed up that his nerves are on edge - he sure acts calm, but I know he's dying to get to 'work' (I keep putting "work" in quotes because it's his definition of a 'job' not necessarily mine) and he wants nothing to do with anyone who may interfere with that.

I suppose this makes him a workaholic.

I'm going to take him out to play with some of those same puppies from class at the trial this weekend to see if he treats them differently in class than out of it. That might give me some insight.

Why's Dexter such a turd monkey?

Who cares? He's boring anyway.

Is that a rabbit?

I think we'll be spending a lot of our free time at East Beach this summer. We are all just so happy to have found a nearby ocean again.



Erin said...

It looks wonderful! Maia and I will have to trek out there at some point.

Anonymous said...

Just have to keep an eye on the tides, as sometimes the water can be soooooooooo far out!!

riosmom said...

Wow! Great pictures! As if they are not always great. I especially love the one of Dexter in a crouch in the water. Good detective work, too, re: Dexter's "assholiness" Hope this weekend yields more clues to give you a handle on things.

Tips down, Dexter. BTW, can you correlate his ear positions to his modes - relaxed, working, anticipating?

Two French Bulldogs said...

We don't think you guys need a doggy park by the looks of those dives. You do just fine at that beach
Benny & Lily

♥I am Holly♥ said...

It is so beautiful!! Your pictures are so wonderful. The dogs look like they are having so much it!!!! Debbie and Hollydog

Midwinter said...

My 2.5 year old BC does the same thing you describe Dexter doing. When she's around the house, she loves to play with dogs that visit, but when she's in work mode (which for her pretty much means being outside), she will snap at dogs who try to get between her and her frisbee or tennis ball. I think you're right; it's totally about them being in work mode.

Anonymous said...

My BC mix(Hanging Tree Cowdog) Beep is much like Dexter. When he is "working" he doesn't want to be messed with at all. I can pet him and interact, but he doesn't want any one else to bug him. He'll nip if someone or some dog gets in his way. One of the solutions I've come up with is he holds a Cuz ball, with a squeaker that no longer works. He watches with out "cheering" and it keeps his mouth busy. I also use a Halti as it really does seem to have a calming effect on him.

P.S. Boss is doing great and hopefully I'll have some video for you soon:)

2vegans1woof said...

I strongly suggest you check out the book "Control Unleashed" by McDevitt. I'm halfway though and love it, I have a reactive Cattle Dog, and when she is working, or trying to focus on me she can be extra snippy. In obedience class she was once called the 'fun police' because she thought EVERY dog should be calm and focused too.

Some of his reactions may be coming from a feeling of insecurity or stress. Far too hard to explain in a little comment, but I think for any dog owner with a dog that has either drive or isn't bombproof, that it should be a MUST!

but if you do give up on him you can send him my way :) hehe just kidding!red

Debra Kay said...

Beach Envy first and foremost.
I'm eager to hear what happens with Dexter and playgroup. Solo man goes back to class next week after weather induced lay offs. Since last class, the other kids have taught him is not the top dog or center of the universe.

I am looking forward to seeing how that works for him when he's around a group of pups again and not pushy older dogs.

Karen said...

Glad you found East beach, but what took you so long?:) I told you about it back in your Nov. 26 post! Love the air pictures of Mr. Woo. I have come to realize that it takes more skill than I really have, to throw the toy and then get a decent picture of a dog trying to catch it.

Fenway said...

I have a feeling that Dex has a keen sense of what's proper and what is ill-mannered.

Ex.: boorish Schnauzer... "Duh! Play with me!!!"
Dex: "Can't you see I'm BUSY???!!!@%*"

Check out this article called The Ethical Dog from Scientific American: IMHO, since Dexter is a bc, he has some extra special rules of engagement—don't f**k with the work, man!

Schnitzie said...

I love your acute observations and keep insights on all your puppers. Dexter is a stunner. His eyes in concentration/stalking mode are so intense. He makes me sit back in my seat!

Diane said...

really lovely photos, excellent really. I know exactly what you mean about wanting to seek out a decent dog park. Up here we're restricted by the snow as well as the boredom of walking the pasture day in and day out. Beach, wow! We are planning to move to Vancouver Island in 2 years so I hope we can find access to the beach as well. Anyway, great photos.