Monday, April 11, 2011

Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park

I've felt so bad recently for the number of hours I've been working. It makes it tough, not just on me, but on my loving and patient furry family back at home. The cats, Bartleby and Loki, likely miss getting fed at a reasonable hour, not the mention the daily 6pm snuggles they used to receive. But hey, they're cats. They adjust. I know that no matter what, they will greet me at the door with purrs and a quick wrap around my ankles.

It's little Gretchen I worry most about. My 6-month old Miniature Dachsie still has so much to learn. And while I'm an avid believer in crate training (it's really doing wonders for her!), being in the crate for long periods of time isn't fun for any pup, even if all they do is sleep most of the time. But she's been so good, I felt that after a long week of being cooped up, it was time she got to run free! And what better way to make that happen than to take our very first trip to the nearby DOG PARK?

Surprisingly, the Valley doesn't have a lot of advertised doggie play areas, so I knew I would likely have to try out the largest and most popular location first: the Sepulveda Basin Off-Leash Dog Park in Encino on Victory Blvd.

This vast expanse of doggie-play heaven is broken up into three sections: (1) Big Dogs, (2) Little Dogs, and (3) Timid Dogs. Each section was equipt with well-maintained grass, tables and benches for owners, and large water bowls and spiggots for the canines. The area designated for large dogs was very appropriately the biggest, but it was great to see that the small dogs were given a decent size space as well.

Let me just say, Gretchen was euphoric. A little tentative at first, it wasn't long before she started running up to groups of other doggies, most still significantly larger than her. Just like at home, all she ever wants is to chase and be chased. Of course, at home, her desperate pleas to engage the cats in a "catch me!" game tend to go unnoticed. But here, she was getting chased WHILE chasing and just couldn't have been happier!

Granted, I acted a bit like a worried mom, but tried to keep my distance and let her play. The gravity of the fact that she probably wouldn't come if I called weighed on me a little, but I knew that as long as the gate remained closed, she'd be safe and close by. The other dogs seemed to love her, and she even found the only other Dachshund in the place! She would run and roll, and change directions and roll again - she was a spitfire! I was so proud of my baby, she did such a good job.

And boy was she tired! Getting chased and continually humped will do that, I suppose. Her tiny tongue lobbed out the side of her mouth, and the second she got strapped into her car booster seat, she passed out. Mission: Accomplished.

More than anything, I'm just happy to see her socializing so well. She's got a great balance of dominant and submissive behaviors, meaning she's not agressive, but will definitely stand up for herself when other pups get a little inappropriate (little Malty-poo, I'm talkin' about you!) This was the perfect trial run before she starts Doggy Day Care, which will be a nice change from being holed up all day.

I think it also might be time to do a little more exploring to find even more parks to let her run loose.

1 comment:

  1. I cannot wait until she can play with Ennis! They will not be able to stop running and wrestling! 7 months is too long to have to wait, but once we're back down in CA, there will be many play dates!


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