Guinness has always been a pretty intense dog. He likes other dogs – a lot – but his enthusiasm can be more than a little overwhelming. He hadn’t learned to play nicely before he came to us, and if I had to guess I’d say he was either badly or barely socialised as a pup, so we’ve spent a lot of time and energy getting him to a good place with other dogs. He still barks more than we’d like, and he can still get a little too… uh… zealous… but he’s come a long, long way. We learned a long time ago that dog parks are not for him, and he does best in small groups with well-balanced dogs. (The one exception – Happy Hounds in Halifax dog daycare, which is an awesome place that both dogs love).
Kaylee is nearly the exact opposite. She’s a well-socialised, adaptable, friendly and generally happy-go-lucky pup, who adapts well to the play styles of others… but if given a choice, she’ll choose people over dogs 100% of the time. No question. Playing with pooches is fine, but other dogs don’t have hands for petting and scratching and “oooooh-yeah-that’s-the-spot” moments. People are Kaylee’s favourite people, as it were.
So for us, the best play time is a play date.
Guinness and Kaylee have a couple of well-balanced, awesome canine friends that they enjoy meeting up with for some backyard shenanigans or an off-leash walk, but their favourite place to play is at a local ball field. In the winter, the city turns a select number of baseball parks into off-leash dog parks, and this is where they get their zoomies out! One of their newer friends is Indy, a two year old mix who has boundless energy… she runs my two under the table, and they’re ruined before she’s barely broken a sweat.
For the longest time, Guinness couldn’t get his head around the idea that lots of dogs like to be chased, but not that many really like to be caught. Guinness is fast, and he can be a rough player, so he was always bringing thimgs to an abrupt end. Now, he’s finally figured out that body-slamming your playmate to the ground might not be the best way to make friends. (Except for Kaylee, who freaking loves that. I missed the moment on camera, but at one point, while Guinness was chasing Indy, out of nowhere Kaylee headed him off and just plowed him straight into the grass. It was hilarious, particularly with the smug “that’s for the last 1000 times, a$$^&*#!” look on her face. )
As soon Indy hits hit the field, it’s a mad dash to see who can catch who… Kaylee’s a lot slower, but she makes up for it plucky determination (and wears herself out in the process).
And of course, we take a few breaks here and there for rests, water, and t-r-e-a-t-s…
In the end, we have two tired dogs, and uh.. well Indy takes the edge off, anyway…
(That’s not Kaylee panting, by the way… that’s Guinness, sitting under the camera!)
A good day of play makes for a happy dog. Or in this case, three happy dogs.
Kaylee played a little too hard this time out and has a little limp, but she’ll be fine in a couple days… but until then, I get to deal with this face.