Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Dog Park!

I'm pretty sure it's obvious who's happy about this
Me giving Siggy love at the park
After my complete and utter failure to find the local dog park on my own, my mother and I went hunting and, amazingly, found it fairly easily. It's tucked away, so I'm really not that surprised that I would have missed it. There's some awkward turns on poorly aligned roads involved. It also happens to be behind the stadium that the local minor league baseball team uses. The enclosure is full of pine trees, and includes several picnic tables and raised gravel beds for the pools and water buckets.

We've been going at least once a week since.

Willow after numerous rounds of fetch
Unfortunately, I have noticed a few issues with Ebon now that we've been a handful of times. He's almost anti-social. If I have a ball with me, which I always do as I want to tire him out while we're there, he doesn't care about anything else. The other dogs could be puffs of smoke for all that dog cares. He follows me around, staring at me, growing more and more excited until I throw the ball. If I put the ball away in my bag he starts jumping on me as if putting the ball out of his line of sight is too much for him. If I sit down, he decides to climb onto the picnic bench.

Ebon jumping to catch a ball

Next time I go I might just leave the ball at home. Part of the reason I'm there is so that he'll get social interaction, after all. Sure, he'll sniff a dog or two every once in a while, but unless a dog approaches him he generally will ignore them. Amazingly, even if a dog is in his face sometimes he still ignores them. One day, a deaf double merle great Dane even decided to hump Ebon and all Ebon did was sit down and act like the Dane wasn't even there.

I think part of it is that Ebon is just an absurdly tolerant dog. He is pretty darn tolerant. He's also never been one to get snappy if another dog snaps at him. In fact, when growled at his first reaction is to back away and crouch down, ears back and tail down. When that Dane wouldn't leave him alone, he did eventually bark at him, though of course it doesn't do any good to bark at a deaf dog.
Ebon and a corgi who wanted to herd everything

I also suspect that Ebon might be growing less playful with age. When he was younger he regularly engaged other dogs in play when given the chance. When Charlie was still alive and fit enough for it, he would play almost daily with Ebon, who was just a puppy at the time. Ebon was always the instigator in the play, bouncing around the then ten-year-old Charlie like there were springs in his paws. He would literally run laps around the house while Charlie would stand there, panting, waiting for Ebon to come back so that they could wrestle.

Things have changed a lot since then, though. Eight years is pretty old for a dog Ebon's size. I find it quite possible that his choice to completely ignore behaviors that are impolite in canine society may be like an old man going, "Those rude young people. Best not even acknowledge their deplorable behavior!" Some dogs grow less tolerant with age, Ebon might be going in the other direction.

Then again, the truth of the matter is likely that Ebon just has an unhealthy obsession with tennis balls.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's it.

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