Saturday, May 15, 2010


When the girls and I go to the dog park we always go early so we can run without any other dogs being there. You see, my girls are a bit socially stunted when it comes to interacting with other breeds. Over the past few weeks we had noticed, a big group of dogs in the pen across the entry street. Noticed because we are usually the only ones crazy (or dedicated) enough to be at the dog park at 5:30.

Between crazy dog sprints, Willow harassing Dru and Dru harassing Breeze the girls would attentively watch the dogs in the other run. They were fascinated with the white dog that just kept chasing after a ball and bringing it back, the black and brown dogs that rolled around the pen playing with each other, and most importantly the little, tiny dogs that ran around looking like training lures. Myself, I was just happy there were 3 play areas and they were in the one separate from ours so I didn’t have to worry about my girls misbehaving and showing off their social ineptitude.

Then, much to my consternation, early last week ‘the pack’ as I thought of them, were forced to relocate to the area attached to the run we were occupying. We had just arrived and I knew I should leash my girls up and head out without finishing their morning run. However, I was on the other side of the pen and wasn’t close enough to get their leashes on before the group of humans and dogs pulled open the first of the entry gates. With a bit of concern, I moved a little faster towards the girls, keeping an eye on how they interacted with the other dogs.

Poorly, that’s how. Willow started barking and getting in the face of one of the little ones, Dru was growling and did her aggressive barking/lunging at the new dog thing, and Breeze freaked because one of the women had a orange stick for throwing a ball. And that all took place in the first minute and while the other dogs were still in the entry pen to the main run. Fantastic.

The 2 women were pretty casual about the whole thing and calmly brought their dogs into the main area. Surprising since I typically I get ‘the look’ which proceeds me heading out of the park. I have the greyhounds with absolutely no social graces. Sigh.

When the women let their dogs go in the main run, the fence running began. Chaos. My despair just grew. There was not even the slightest, littlest teensy tiny possibility of getting the girls now. They were running and completely focused on the 6 dogs on the other side of the fence. Well crap.

Hope and Joey

While am trying to think of ways to stop the melee I hear “They’re fine. This is how they form a pack.” coming from the other side of the fence. I glance over for just a second before returning my vigilant watch to the girls to see which one was going to growl/freak out/panic/get hurt first, and think “these women have no idea what they have gotten themselves into. Pack, schmack, my girls haven’t the social foggiest”

Willow running with Ruth and Micah

I looked a little closer and it dawned on me; the ladies on the other side of the fence weren’t stressed out. Not once did they indicate they were concerned with the mad action and behaviors of sprinting greyhounds interacting with their dogs. I started to relax a bit. Within a couple of minutes the dogs were doing more organized sprints along the fence. What’s this? Acceptable dog behavior? From my girls while running with other breeds? Well that obviously didn’t originate with my 3. I took a closer look at the dogs and two ladies. Hmmmm. Something’s up.

Willow with Joey and Jake

Curious, I sidled up as close as I could get to the fence without being laid out flat by 3 very happy and still running greys. Time for a little ice breaker “My girls are a bit socially stunted, so I am surprised they are running so well with your dogs.” The response “This is a good way for them to get their energy out and form pack behavior.” Before long I learned from Deena, who was talking with me, that Jamie, the woman throwing the ball, works with dogs. As in she owns a company, Seize the Leash, and does dog behavior training. Well that explains it.

By now the girls, exhausted from being tag-teamed by their 6 dogs, were lying down looking at me with the “we are ready to be transported home” faces. I packed up to go, but not before we talked pet photography. Sweet!

Brynda and Micah with Dru and Breeze

We were a bit more excited than usual to head to the park the next morning. I had my camera and couldn’t wait to get the chance to shoot photos of new dogs. The girls were on high alert, could it be? More running with those fun dogs? Yesss! If they could have done the sliding on the knees, fist pumping action move they would have.

I spent most of the time on the other side of the fence. My girls really didn’t notice. They were too busy running again. Breeze in particular was really enjoying herself. I took a bunch of photos, some of which have already been posted.

And so began a whole new era at the dog park. The girls look for Jamie, Deena, and the pack (Joey, Jake, Hope, Micah, Brynda, and Ruth) every morning. They do more running than when with the greyhounds. Joey, in particular, is a favorite since he spends more time challenging the girls than any of the others, and he does it well. I've had a fantastic time with new subjects for photos. Whee! And, as a bonus, have been getting incredible tips from both Jamie and Deena on stuff to so to help with some of the issues the girls have. FTW!

Breeze and Dru with their new friend and running partner, Joey

Last Saturday and Tuesday I went to Jamie's training classes. Holy cow did I learn a lot just by attending; and I was shooting photos (See some here), not even participating. So for all those who have dogs with behavioral problems, give Jamie a call 520.686.4246 or go by the website or blog. Prices are reasonable and the results are pretty amazing. Oh, when you go by the sites, check out some of the photos gracing the pages, taken by yours truly :)

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