The famous Newport Melbourne Dog Park Bench.
There isn’t much that is a better gauge of how the dog pack is going than this Newport Melbourne Park bench.
Originally I would stop at the bench because we would meet people there, or it gave us a focus for the pack to stay around while some members played on the grass, then slowly it became much more central.
Most days I will take photos of my dog pack posing on the chair. Several dogs need to be lifted up because they are small or older, but most want to jump up knowing that a Blackdog Beef liver treat will soon follow.
The fact that this pack is social enough to enjoy each other’s company in the car on the way to the park, and in the middle of a walk or play also says credit to them, but I am used to this from social dogs.
The more amazing things about this bench are that it gets the dogs to be complete with each other if there are any underlying tensions (rarely happens) or if they want to play and I want them to pose, it gives me some control back.
The bench also means the dogs have to have no food guarding issues, another test of socialisation.
All these things are great, but it also is a very good barometer for how the dogs are reacting to the weather on the day. There is always a big difference in how dogs behave in the cold of winter and the heat of summer (generally more lethargic). But the bench refines this even further. Depending on the nuances of barometric pressure and wind combination .. will usually show up in how settled the pack are.
Knowing how settled the pack are by how still and patient they are on the park bench, lets me know of any other things I may need to look out for from the pack on their walk. Things like which dogs are likely to become skittish when other foreign dogs approach, which dogs are likely to backtrack and sit under a tree, or just generally try and go AWOL.
Reading the pack energy and how they are feeling on the day is an important piece of the puzzle to how to keep the pack safely together while allowing them to have fun. The whole point of dog walking off the lead, besides burning energy, is allowing dogs to make choices. And if the choices are poor for them to listen to me and stop what they are doing or have a recall.
There are many more things the bench represents to me and the dog pack, but I will leave that for another post.
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