What an eventful weekend! We kicked off on Friday with a beautiful Border Collie mix called Melody and her owner, R. Melody and R live in the same apartment complex and we started having playdates about a month ago. Melody was a little mouthy at first, but she’s improved drastically in the past few weeks. She is just as energetic as Kip so they’re quite the match! Melody and R invited us to a puppy playgroup held at the Humane Society where Melody and Kip are both taking manner classes. Melody is in Puppy Manners, and Kip’s Dog Manners class just started this past Saturday.
There was a $10 admissions fee for the play group and I’m still not sure how I feel about the price. There were some strong advantages to this playgroup worth considering though
1. There was a professional (PhD, CPDT, KPA-CTP) that supervised the entire session. How was this different from a dog daycare or the dog park? Well, having a professional makes a difference because they know the subtle differences in a dog’s body language. We’re talking about a different level than just looking at the tail wagging or the play bow.
2. The professional also had the judgement to match up different dogs according to their level of energy and needs. For example, she knew that one puppy needed to be separated but have exposure to other dogs that could come up and sniff at the gate. She also knew that some dogs weren’t going to tolerate intense running/chasing and mouth play. It was a good thing Kip and Melody went together, because there was no other dog that had as much energy as they did.
3. Honestly you could feel the difference in the level of ownership mentality. For owners that are interested in training their dogs, sometimes the worst enemy can be an enthusiastic stranger on the street. I’m currently trying to break Kip’s habit of jumping up on people. This requires consistency where Kip does not get rewarded for jumping up on people. Unfortunately many strangers will say “OH HOW CUTE” and let Kip jump all over them and pet him for doing so. Just today a neighbor enthusiastically held Kip’s paws when he jumped up. At the playgroup, everyone was told to turn away from any dog that jumps up in order to discourage jumping. It does make a difference. I was amazed to see Kip give up on jumping on people after being rejected a few times.
One thing I learned was if two dogs are playing and their body movements are curvy and going around each other it means they’re really enjoying each other’s company. Our instructor C.Y. told us that “that’s exactly what it should look like!” It was a pretty amazing moment and we were all told to give them some space!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to take very many photos. I was informed that taking pictures wasn’t allowed since nobody had signed a waiver. Hence I have only posted two pictures that don’t show “faces”. I’m not exactly sure how portrait rights work with dogs. Does it count even if I just posted a blur? In any case, if you live in the greater Seattle area and recognize your dog on my blog and would prefer to not have your dog posted, please leave a comment and I will take the photo down immediately. I’ve never had an owner express that they didn’t want me taking pictures of their dog before. If I saw a dog and owner on a walk I asked permission, and at the dog park I was taking pictures while I was talking and standing near the other owners. They never said anything nor did they seemed annoyed or put off, so I’m going to take a wild guess that it was ok with them. I’m going to guess that it was more to do with the fact that we were at an institution like the Humane Society? Or maybe there is a portrait right for dogs that I’m not aware of. Please point me in the right direction and don’t sue me. I’m fresh out of college (it means I’m really poor and not even worth suing).