Time to get those pooches outside to feel the wind in their ears and grass under their feet! (Or for the lazy ones, just a breath of fresh air and grass on their belly!)
For a lot of people, especially those living in apartments (Guinny & I) or small neighborhoods, this means dog parks. Which can really be great for socializing your dog, getting the freedom off the leash and running and playing and being, well a DOG!
I come from a town where our yards were parks... big enough to play in all day and never get bored, dogs & kids alike. This apartment living is new for me. Guinness is well trained - enough so that when I first come home from work he systematically greets me at the door, runs out to relieve himself on the bush and comes right back in. I don't get excited when I see him, I don't baby talk him, I let him do his business. Then I check the apartment - once in a GREAT while he'll get into something I forgot to put up the night before. He knows this. Once I've given it the once over and everything is satisfactory, we have a lil cuddle / pet / play / wrestle / fetch session! I've learned Guinness cares more for my praise then any 'ol treat. In fact that's how I've trained him in all his cute lil tricks! Positive reinforcement.
Back to the subject - spring time & dog parks!
The concept of a dog park is great! IF the people who bring their dogs are responsible and honest about knowing their own dogs behaviors. So, because you and your dog are potentially relying on someone else's concept of "good dog", be sure to be aware of your dogs emotions and actions - they will tell you a lot.
Here's 2 dog parks we've visited so far and some pros & cons I found at each!
They have 2 fenced off areas field like areas for some un-leashed fun! One for 35 lbs and under and one of 35 & above. This is great I think, so our little guys don't have to worry about being run-over by the big guys. The slight downfall that I see though, is if a family comes to play with their dogs of multiple sizes. And I know some people may say, "Well my lil guy knows how to stay clear of big guys." This may be true, BUT some big dogs don't know their size and will try to play with your lil guy, not knowing his strength. So don't attempt to mix the 2 at this dog park. Pet parent's of big dogs may prefer this fence situation because THEY KNOW THEIR DOG, and they know mixing him/her with lil dogs, isn't good.
In each of the fenced in areas there's a sitting area for pet-parents to talk about their furbabies! This park has the water fountains for the dogs - I just don't like them. Personal preference. In the walking section of this park, there are a TON of picture opportunities! There's a bridge, wide steps leading to a huge gazebo that over looks the park, ton's of greenery, benches along the walkway - very picturesque. There is always a nice flow of people. I've never seen it over crowded.
The second dog park we've visited since moving to the area is Timber Creek Dog Park - They have a couple Facebook Pages connected to them - Timber Creek dog park, Timber Creek Pooch Park, and a group page for "members only" - which I am now proudly a member!
I LOVE this park! Love Love Love!
Granted we've only been to 2 parks and I'm no dog park expert - but we both LOVE this park! Ok, now I'll tell you why!
I wanted to be more active WITH Guinness, not just throw a ball and watch him run off all the winter weight! WELL! Timber Creek has 9 acres (NINE!) of fenced in wooded area to walk your dog off leash. Now THIS park is definitely for the pet-parent's with some experience. (Otherwise, you're chasing your dog through the woods!) There's about 10 foot (or more, I'm not a good eye measurer) of a walking path all along the fence, and a couple trails through the woods. A couple spots where there's an incline and decline (I felt it afterwards!). We haven't ventured through other parts of the park, but we will DEFINITELY be back and update you!
Any dog parks you suggest us trying out?