Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Prey Animal

On Tuesday night Linzy and I brought Pippen over to Alimagnet Dog Park for the first time. It went pretty well, all things considered.

Pippen very rarely gets to be outside without a leash, and never goes on any sort of walk without one, so she was a bit confused at first about what to do when we unleashed her inside the park. Initially she was trying to be good and stand still (like she is trained to do if someone drops her leash), but eventually she got the hang of it.

I was actually shocked at how well behaved Pippen was. She was a little timid with the other dogs if they charged up to her, but in general she just did a little mutual sniffing and then moved on to follow us around the path. She spent most of the time trundling along just slightly over an imaginary leash length away, as if to say "Normally I couldn't be this far away, so I'll take advantage now".

The park itself was much nicer then I was imagining, with a nice long path circling a swampy pond for the dogs to play in, and a big field for the larger dogs to burn off some energy by running around. In addition to the main park there is also a small portion that is separately fenced especially for small dogs. Unfortunately it is so small you can't really walk around in it, and there were no other dogs there so that didn't seem like very much fun.

We were actually joking a little bit about having to use the large dog park, after reading the warning on Minnesota Valley Humane Society Dog Park Page:

Dogs under 25 pounds should only use dog parks that contain small dog areas – if a small dogs slips and squeals while being chased by others, he may be perceived as a prey animal and could be attacked. Be your small dog’s advocate and keep safety first!

We were envisioning our first trip to the dog park ending with Pippen being chased and eaten by some larger dog, just because we didn't want to sit at a picnic table while Pippen sniffed all 10 plants in the small dog park 30 times.

Luckily she avoided any Prey Animal behavior during the trip, so everyone came home unscathed.


Bill Roehl said...

There's a really beautiful off-leash dog park in Empire Township near UMN's U-Lands.

It does require a fee but it's 15+ acres and very well kept.

There's more information here.

Steve Eck said...

I've seen the sign for that park a number of times while driving along 160th, but we've never stopped to check it out.

Of course $5 a visit seems a little steep. I guess the $30 a year wouldn't be so bad, if we used it a lot.