Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Do you snark in the park?

What? You think Bert and Ernie never fight?
How come you think they have hair like this?
Earlier this past spring, I published a post titled Do you bark in the park?, a fun recap of a Minor League baseball-filled evening that the dogs, kids and I had attended the night before.

So we did it again last night. It was fun...until Jon Farleigh and Dewi got into a brawl in the stands. Not over a foul ball (which might have been tolerated), but over discarded peanut shells that Youngest Child had been merrily tossing under his seat.

Although I was able to stop the flashing teeth and no one (including the dogs) was physically harmed, I'm pretty sure the incident (understandably) scared the bloody poo out of every other creature within earshot. I was mortified, not at the dogs, but at my inability to see it coming, and desperately wanted to stand up and declare: "No really! They get along fantastically at home!" or "No really! There's no need to gather up your belongings and flee; they're Canine Good Citizens, for goodness' sake! Really!"  But I didn't. Instead, I looked over at Youngest Child (who was unfazed) and his big, foam index finger pointed up to the sky, and then down at the panting dogs...and decided to stay.  The next thirty minutes were then spent trying to make the dogs forget about the peanuts...and each other. I left, defeated, at the start of the seventh inning.

The dogs, in contrast, trotted out amicably, side-by-side, like nothing had ever happened. They were grateful to get in the car and slept peacefully all the way home.

So maybe you're wondering the point of this post. It's not typical of me to post stories of the boys not getting along - in fact, this might be the first time I've ever admitted it. :) Sure, they're BFFs (like Bert and Ernie), but they're dogs, and dogs will be dogs. I suppose I just wanted to make a statement - that even the "sweetest" dogs can be tested if placed in "stressful" situations. What might seem like a perfectly wonderful pastime for humans, might not be equally wonderful for our four-legged friends. I'm obviously still learning how to discern what is and what isn't.

So on that note, anyone want to talk about how you decide whether or not to take your dogs to public events? And if so, what precautions do you take, if any?


P.S. I'm still borrowing computer access, so my responses to comments might be delayed. I also can't post any new photos (of last night's game or BlogPaws - which I still plan on posting about) until I get internet back at home. The cable company says maybe tomorrow...

Hint: I have an easier time posting status updates to the Facebook page than the blog. Maybe you should like us there, if you haven't already? :)

Also, you can see photos - including one wicked adorable one of Dewi - from last night's Bark in the Park at Richmond Pet Lovers.com.


  1. Hi Y'all,

    I'll have to make you feel better and post some "bad behavior" of mine the end of the week.

    As far as deciding whether I get to go...Papa usually has the final say. :( If Momma did, I'd go everywhere if the temperature wasn't too warm. I usually don't get to go unless it is a place a can walk with them or run off leash.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  2. It is hard to know what will set them off. I have girls and they will look ugly at each other and start things up over what I don't know. Food, toys the right to be Queen? If I think it might be really stressful I might only take one. That is easier for me since I have more than two.

  3. Oh yeah, I've been there too.

    Sometimes it's good to be reminded every once in a while that as good as our dogs do at fitting into our world, they're still dogs and need to express themselves in doggy ways.

    Even if it mortifies us at times.

    Of course, the boys are fine after a kerfuffle. You're the nervous wreck.

  4. First, I have to tell you what an awesome job you've done of socializing those boys. You are every breeder's dream! Now, you have two boys who are essentially rowdy teenagers. I would start splitting them up for outings - especially if it's going to be a situation where there might be triggers for bad behavior(food on the ground in close quarters)or when you will have minimal help monitoring and managing them. You have two very sweet boys but even the sweetest dogs will behave badly is they end up on system overload.

  5. I was going to comment that I snark everywhere, but then I realized you didn't mean that kind of snark. :)

    Honestly, I don't take Bella to many events. She doesn't really handle them well. After seeing your boy this weekend, however, they seem pretty well-behaved and adaptable!

  6. Food can bring out the bad dog in any dog. I would hope the people there are not total dog dummies and realize these things happen. I take my dogs a lot of places as long as its not too hot and I can hold onto them the entire time.

  7. Parker and Skye tend to be better out in public than they are at home. But Parker is sensitive about noises, and if he's on edge than Skye tends to be hyper vigilant. She loves chaos and mayhem, unless Parker is stressed- then she's a mess. They don't have trouble with each other, but will bark at the occasional stranger. Which can be very embarrassing, especially if you've just told that stranger that your pit bull is friendly and loves attention...

  8. If you can't brawl over peanut shells, what can you brawl over? (Don't answer that...lol.) We don't get to go to a lot of places that aren't doggie related (like dog shows, hunt tests, training). The humans say they need a break from us now and again. Can you believe that?

    the 2 brown dawgs

  9. Don't feel bad. Jimmy and Wilson have little disagreements like that all the time. For us it is when something stimulating is going on, like seeing a squirrel or a deer run by. Jimmy has a moment of misplaced aggression and takes the excitement out on Wilson. No one is the worse for wear, but it sounds extremely ugly. Food rarely causes a problem, but I do keep an eye on them when treats are around.

    When it comes to taking the boys somewhere, I factor in lots of things. Will it be hot? If so, they stay home. Will it be super-crowded like a street festival? If so, they stay home. Will I have a much more enjoyable time not having to manage them? If so, they stay home.

    The way I look at is, my boys get out every week to agility class, they go to lots of weekend trials, and on a daily basis they get at least an hour of walking in, plus special trips to swim, etc., so if they end up at home when we have an event, I really don't feel too bad about it. In most instances, they are probably much happier in the comfort, safety, and calm of home.

  10. Kind of on the same note as everyone has been saying. I wouldn't feel bad at all for how they behaved. There's always a 50/50 chance that somethings going to happen no matter where you go!

    I was expecting Charlie to go nuts at the conference but I lucked out it seems. He screams his head off at home when I'm working in the front yard and he's leashed/laying in the grass - at anyone (I mean ANYONE) that walks by the house.. so I'm the crazy lady with the scary dog to strangers..

    When it's a new environment for them I usually go online and look up pictures/reviews (for festivals or events) to see if it's dog friendly or not. I will also email them to ask if I'm note sure. If the past year looks like it was crazy busy I just leave the pups at home. If it looks like there may be places we can "take breaks" I'll bring them along. It's always a guessing game though..

    So don't feel like a bad mama :) The kids always have arguments now and again.

  11. I think every pet owner (and parent) has been there! Dogs will definitely be dogs. It's just all about knowing your dog's limits and personality. Dante does amazing at parties, because he looooves people, but something like a long baseball game where he would have to sit in my lap the entire time would just lead to excessive whining. Or I'd have to pay for him to have his own seat and bring a little bed for him to curl up in! ;)

  12. @browndogcbr - Yeah, the spouse puts the brakes on for us, too. :) Can't wait to see your "bad dog" story.

  13. @solsticekennels - You are right about only taking one (as much as it breaks my heart to split them up). It's better than stress and fighting, though.

  14. @All - I've been experimenting with a new comment form (where I can sort of reply to individuals), but I doesn't work well for large discussions. Anyway, sorry for the multiple e-mails...

    @Pamela - yes, I was the nervous wreck (probably well beyond the point where everyone else forgot about it). You said "kerfuffle" - reminds me of GLP. Miss that pigdog. ;)

    @RDM - Whoa, thanks. (blushing) You are right. The time has come. Close quarters plus food/toys is not good for them.

    @Pup Fan - You snark? Nooooo. BTW - I had to look up whether snark is a verb. It's not - yet, but I vote it should be. :)

    @Veronica - I think we were all forgiven, but it was a really SCARY scene for a few seconds. :(

    @OfPBaP - Embarrassed that your pit bull barks? (You totally made me chuckle.) That's just so sad. Poor Skye (and you). :)

    @2brown Dawgs - I can't believe you'd want a life outside of Thunder and Storm! (kidding) :)

    @Taryn - Many great points. JF will do that "misdirected aggression" thing in the yard sometimes, if he sees a deer or another dog. I don't feel too guilty if the boys aren't with me everywhere, I just really wanted them both to go to the ballpark (since it was a special dog thing). I really do think the answer is splitting them up in certain circumstances (at least for a while).

    @Jules - Thanks for the tips. Charlie and Roxi were SO well behaved at BlogPaws. About the barking at neighbors - isn't that what Corgis do? :) Well, I guess some might be worse than others. I'm sure some of my neighbors think I own yappers.

    @Trude - Dante seems like such a sweetie. :) I think if I'd been able to put more space between the dogs, they'd have been okay (but my arms are only so long). I learned a lot about limits this time - that's for sure.


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