Learning The Ropes From The Big Dogs

by Houndstooth on

This past Sunday, we were supposed to go up and play with puppies at Miss Breeder’s house.  That’s right, I was going to go suffer puppy teeth and toenails all to make you readers happy.  I might have also been planning to sneak a bottle of puppy breath home with me to get me through another week or two at school, but nobody can prove that.  That stuff has potent powers to make you forget bad things in your life, like say, a giant orthopedic dog bed being destroyed.  Alas, I digress.  Just as we were leaving the house, we got a message from Ms. Breeder saying that another of her mama dogs was going into labor early and that the visit wouldn’t work out that day.

We already had Bunny and Kuster in the van.  After a little discussion, we decided to go home, get Morgan and Blueberry and head to the dog park.  After all, it actually rained here on Saturday and you could stand being outside longer than three seconds without fear of combustion.  It was just too nice to miss and we didn’t want any of the dogs to miss it, either.  Even though Blueberry really doesn’t “do” the outdoors any longer than necessary to take care of her powder room business, we were still going.

Blueberry in the ShadeAs we arrived at the dog park, we saw that there were just a few other dogs there, which was what we were counting on.  There was a fourteen month old German Shepherd named Yogi, an Australian Shepherd cross whose name I never heard, and a four month old German Shepherd puppy named Abby.  As soon as I saw Abby, I was a little bit smitten.  She reminded me a lot of what Morgan looked like as a puppy.  She was also a little on the skittish side.

Abby on the RunWatching her was amusing.  She really wanted to play with the older dogs, but she was a little uncertain of them.  After a little while, she cautiously approached Bunny, then ran back to the safety area under the picnic table.  She started to approach Morgan, who took it as an invitation to play, then she retreated to the picnic table again.  Finally, Mr. Taleteller came into the dog park with Kuster and she overcame her curiosity to go over and have a good sniff of him.

King of the Tennis BallsKuster surprised me.  He tends to play rather rough at times, which is why he and Morgan don’t have playing privileges in the house.  Still, he was pretty gentle with little Abby and she loved playing with him.  I watched as she watched him and initiated play with him several times.  He didn’t stay with her the whole time, he had to go run around some and burn off some energy.  However, he kept coming back and he’d spend several minutes playing chase and a little bitey face with her before he’d head out again.

After a while, Morgan and Kuster ran off to the back of the park to see what Bunny had found that was of interest.  Abby came out of her hiding spot and took a few tentative steps towards where they’d gone.  After a few moments, she ventured about halfway to where they were and stood watching, waiting to see if they’d notice her.  All of a sudden, Morgan and Kuster were barreling towards us and Abby turned and ran back towards us.

Watching the Big DogsI think part of her was a little scared, but the other part of her was very excited that the big dogs were playing with her.  At least, in her mind they were.  After a few times, I saw that she was clearly hoping that Kuster was going to play chase so that she could run under the table.  She was getting a lot braver.

Here They ComeAfter a little while of more playing, where the big dogs were clearly doing what Abby was hoping they’d do, a couple entered with another pair of dogs.  One of them was an eighteen month old Boxer named Oogie, who clearly had no sense of boundaries.  He was like a kangaroo on crack, and I suddenly found myself glad that I was going  home with the black tornado.  Abby was clearly intimidated and confused by him, and she tried to stay away from him.

Bunny with her Shepherd MinionsSure enough, nothing was deterring Oogie from pestering Abby.  She was clearly out of her league, and she came back to the picnic table to hide.  Of course, Kuster wasn’t even a little bit afraid of Oogie.  He was all gung ho to be manly dogs doing manly dog things.  He wrestled around with Oogie for a while and Oogie, with the attention span of a gnat, went off to look for another dog to chase.

Kuster came back and played some more with Abby, only to have Oogie crash their little party again.  I was really surprised to see Kuster take the time to teach  Abby how to handle those kinds of shenanigans.  They worked together, double teaming the wild Boxer and I saw Abby looking like she was having fun again.  I have no idea how Kuster knew to do this, but he was having a great time showing off for little Abby and keeping the wild Boxer at bay.

Hi MomWatching Abby and Kuster reminded me a lot of myself when I try new things.  I am a horrible perfectionist, and I often enter things wanting to do it right from the beginning.  This often results in me really holding back instead of jumping in and having fun, especially in social situations.

When Abby quit worrying and started to enjoy herself, she had a lot more fun.  Suddenly she was making friends and really having a great time.  After she made one friend, she seemed to be a lot more comfortable trying to make friends with others.  The same is true of us humans.  When we quit worrying about all the things we should or shouldn’t do, things come a lot more naturally for us.  If only I could remember to carry a little of Abby’s cautiously adventurous spirit with me when I go out in the world, I think I’d do pretty well!

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  • How lovely to have been part of Abby’s first big park play! It’s nice to have doggy friends. Georgia wants to know what you mean by “boundaries”.

  • So true! Love all the pictures. They capture the fun and joy of the day.

  • Sue

    Glad the pack had a good time.

  • Jed & Abby in MerryLand

    Sorry we aren’t getting around as much as we’d like; mama is deteriorating, especially in her right arm and shoulder, and she keeps complaining it hurts to spend all those hours on the computer checking our blog pals. Phooey.

    What a pleasure to meet another Abby. Hope you get to see more of her; sounds like she really benefited from the opportunity to play with Kuster, and he benefited from being able to teach her. What happened with Yogi, the other GSD?

    You’re lucky to have dog friendly ice cream parlors where you live! And dog friendly public drinking fountains! And artificial streams just right for the cooling of paws. You live in a really nice place. Cannot believe school has already started there, though. Is that just for the teachers, or are the little kids back in class already? Sure hope the schools have AC.

    Jed & Abby

    • I teach in a year round school. We always go back in July and yes, we do have air conditioning. When everybody else is coming back to school and getting started with their year, we’ll be going on our fall intersession and have three weeks off in October.

  • Oh my goodness, I think I’m in love with Abby! And how cute that Kuster took care of her and showed her the ropes. He may be a black tornado, but that boy has a heart of gold. =)

  • Ah yes, what a guy will do to make a good impression on the ladies. Beau was quite the ladies dog. 🙂

  • We’re puppy sitting Journey and he chewed up the bedding in his crate 🙁 The bedding actually belonged to us and not Journey. At least it wasn’t a giant orthopedic dog bed. At least you got to see a puppy at the dog park. Lucky for us we see puppies on a weekly basis at puppy kindergarten class.

    Happy Wednesday!
    Colby

  • What a gentleman that Kuster is becoming. Glad he looked out for little Abby. It must have been fun to watch.

    Looks like a lovely day.

    Love and licks, Winnie

  • jet

    No photos of Oogie!! Sounds like his name suits him! Oogie is exactly the kind of dog that Bender doesn’t like and if he is to gripe at someone at the dog park it is because they are hopping all over him when all he wants is to fetch his ball. Barbie used to defend him from such dogs by doing flybys and luring them away in a game of chase, or perhaps using her ancient herding instincts to head them off and away (yes, greyhounds have lots of herding breed genes, I was surprised too, but then it all made sense!)

  • Maybe being a good teacher runs in the family 🙂 I’m not exactly known for jumping into things either. It’s always nice to have a guiding hand on new adventures.

  • Veronique

    How cute is that! Kuster playing big brother to the shy little girl 🙂
    How did the birth at Mrs breeder’s go?

    • The puppies were finally born yesterday — four boys and three girls!

  • Kat

    Wonderful post! They have so much to teach us, yes? I could definitely relate.

  • I like the picture of Bunny walking arould with her security force of GSD’s. Kuster’s running point of course.

  • Oh dis was a luverly post! You knows we dogs everything so I am sures Kuster sensed Abby needed him.
    We can teach you hoomans so much. I just wished more hoomans would listen and pay attention.
    See, momma Houndstooth, just suck it up and go out and have fun…or fake it till you make it…hehehe.

    Puddles

  • Shine Jake

    That really sounds like a great day out with the dogs! Abbey is so adorable and just reading about her and Kuster’s antics makes me love them even more!

  • I have to remind my MOM to let got of her caution or shyness too. But when she does it almost always ends up to be a wonderful experence.
    Blessings,
    Goose

  • I have to remind my MOM to let got of her caution or shyness too. But when she does it almost always ends up to be a wonderful experence.
    Blessings,
    Goose

  • What a fun time! Some times the best days and “lessons” are those that are unplanned.

    We had a Boxer when I was little, they are great and fun dogs, just super high energy and crazy! But they are great dogs!

  • Hey, where’s the picture of Ogie? You can’t go throwing accusations like “wild boxer” around without some evidence! He was helping Abby learn to play in his own way. 🙂

  • Good boy Kuster. Eva sounds exactly like Abby. Pretty shy but she does want to play, she just never had a guy like Kuster teaching her the ropes. Hope you meet this sweetie again!

  • Abby sounds like a sweet girl. That’s so sweet that Kuster was playing with her and showing her the ropes. Maybe they’ll get to play together again?

  • By the length of all those tongues, you can tell that everyone was getting exercise and having a good time! It’s so interesting to observe doggie dynamics.

  • Benny & Lily

    Puppy! Ut oh…Abby is a beauty. She looks like she was finally settling in
    Benny & Lily

  • Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

    So is the moral of this story that Kuster needs a puppymate? BOL and ducking.

    Hmmmm, so you had a bed explosion at your place too? Funny thing about that:) SomePup was up to no good at our place.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  • So I guess you kind of got your puppy fix with Abby. What a cutie and how nice of Kuster to step up to the plate to show her the ropes.

    Cindy

  • That’s a great lesson to learn from dogs, I’ve tried to apply it myself. Like you, I get easily discouraged if I can’t do things right away. But this often keeps me from trying new things and exploring all the opportunities out there. It’s hard to change but this is one area I definitely need to work on.

    Thanks for all the happy photos!

  • Abby sounds a lot like Sage. She’s spent time under a table, too, to get away from dogs that pestered her. She needs a Kuster!

  • Well, I would pass for being an Abby, but it takes a lot to get my curiosity high enough to come out from under the table. 🙂 What a great time you must have had watching her and all your dogs be part of each other and help each other out.

    Yea, it’s tough to come out from under that table. BOL!

  • Abby is so cute and Kuster is a good teacher. Looks like a fun day. Have you ever encountered dogs that are too rough in a dog park? I am so scared mine will get hurt.

  • Hehehehe…a kangaroo on crack, yup, dat is how us boxers is. 😉

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae and Max

  • Rottrover

    Kuster, you had very good doggie teachers, you sweet boy!

    Bart and Ruby

  • Jen

    What a gallant sweetheart Kuster is! This was a really great story, and from the pictures, your dog park looks big and spectacular (maybe just spectacular because it’s big….I don’t have a dog park at all!).