The Dog Park

“Puppies require a lot of exercise.” When you get a puppy, it’s a warning you’ll hear repeatedly. As a previous dog owner, I thought I was fully prepared for my four-months old black lab mutt. Another truth I learned, not all puppies are created the same. An hour-long walk that would exhaust my Shiba puppy when he was the same age is barely just a warm-up lap to Cuevo. To a dog owner in the city, the local dog park is a necessary godsend.

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Cuevo’s favorite dog park

For a medium to large-sized breed puppy, most walks simply aren’t strenuous enough to fulfill all its exercise needs. Dog parks provide the space to actually run around and play, and more importantly find other dog friends to play with. Fortunately for me, the nearest park is just right around the corner, a mere five-minute walk. If you’re thinking about adopting a puppy, I would highly recommend that you take the time to find the nearest dog park, you’ll thank yourself later.

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Dog parks also play another extremely important role in a new puppy’s life, they’re a contained space for interacting with other dogs and owners. Early socialization is a major stage of a dog’s life. As I learned, dog’s actually have a very brief window in their life when they are most receptive to learning. The most amazing part is that it lasts for so short, it begins around 3 weeks of age and ends between 16-20 weeks.

Something else I didn’t really consider before Cuevo is that like humans, dogs like some dogs but dislike others. Cuevo doesn’t really enjoy catch or many games, instead his absolute favorite activity is wrestling with other dogs. Unfortunately, not all dogs love to be pushed around, bitten all-over, and slobbered on. For that reason, when I do find a dog that Cuevo gets along well with, I try to make an attempt to befriend the owner for future playdates. The unpredictability of the dog park-it can go from being packed to completely empty-makes the reliability of a doggy buddy invaluable.

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The end-goal
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6 thoughts on “The Dog Park

  1. This makes me miss my German Shepherd at home 😦 I’m seriously jealous. Sometimes I think about getting a dog in college but then I think about how I can’t even financially support myself let alone another animal! Early socialization is definitely key. My dog wasn’t exposed to that many people growing up and now he is super protective of my family and barks at everyone.

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  2. I had no idea how small the window for socialization is for dogs! My parents just got a puppy (a lab mix, too) and seem to be learning about these different necessities as well. (Previously, we had adopted a dog who was already a year and a half old and we had no idea what her previous socialization had been). I really loved all the action shots, but maybe would have liked to see more shots of Cuevo interacting with other dogs since this post was about socialization. Or even you with another dog owner!

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  3. Great point here Kyle. I actually dog-sit for one of my friends sometimes, she has a Border Collie and a Lab/Shepard mix. Definitely an important consideration for when I inevitably bite the bullet and get a dog. Also, did not know about that short window for learning- that is absolutely fascinating. Love your blog so far, keep it up! You’ve earned a loyal reader.

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  4. Great point about the dog park. When I had a Yorkie, she was a crazy ball of energy and nothing we did would tire her out. A dog park would have been a life-saver, but there wasn’t one in our neighborhood. But lesson learned for next time. Looking forward to hearing more about Cuevo!

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  5. Love this blog! As a pet owner in college myself (My roommate and I foster dogs and cats) this is such a relevant point when you adopt a dog. I’ve had similar problems with dogs who did not get that early socialization and they have never been able to interact well with animals. You’re really lucky to live so close to a dog park too!!

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  6. I really enjoyed this blog post, especially as a dog owner. I could not agree more that all dogs are different in personality and the amount of exercise they need. My dog, a german shepherd, needs to go to the park and chase tennis balls for about an hour each day. While I have actually never taken my dog to a dog park, this article has convinced me to try it out. While he may not be a puppy anymore, the socialization aspect of a dog park would be great for my pup. Looking forward to reading more about your experiences with a dog in college.

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