This was a fun week to be in Athens, GA. The whole city basically shut down in lieu of the traffic issues across the Southeast earlier this year. We've had snow days off from work most of the week, even though the temperature hasn't dipped below 27 degrees during the day. It's just silly, considering one of us is from Wisconsin where the temperatures have been below zero most of 2014. But hey, we're not complaining!
Yesterday was beautiful and sunny, families were out sledding down the streets, and we took the dogs on a long walk in their matching Ruffwear Climate Changer fleece jackets. These super warm dog coats aren't the best for snow since they aren't waterproof, but we don't have anything else and our short-coated pups start to shiver once the temps reach the 30s.
We wandered around town and ended up at a local park. Seeing at it wasn't in use, the completely fenced in snowy basketball court became our own private dog park. We probably broke some laws closing the gate and letting madness ensue, but it was pure fun and no harm came of it!
There's nothing quite like watching dogs get to run free. I wholeheartedly believe that leashed walks and runs are very satisfying too, but it's really something to let their wild sides take over. For most of us, off leash freedom means heading to a dog park, but with Spartacus' issues, we are reluctant. His true reactivity is limited to being on leash, but he still has a dominant streak and is what our local doggy daycare calls "a doggy nerd", meaning he doesn't quite read social cues correctly. It's also because the boxer in him loves to throw punches and wrestle. His playing style scares off many dogs and can lead to fights when Sparty just isn't receptive to their grievances. We've had some great times at less busy hours, and Athens has some wonderful dog parks with trails where he really excels. He gets the most overwhelmed in the type of dog park where all the owners sit down and all the dogs are supposed to play in a central area. When we head to public dog parks, we are extra vigilant and often have to correct Sparty for mounting. Dog mounting in parks is a controversial subject. We've found a 3 strikes you're out program normally calms him down. If he's not responsive to corrections, we either leave or leash him up and walk the perimeter while Delilah plays on.
Incredibly, one park in Athens actually offers private dog parks that you can rent by the hour, for just one dollar per dog. These completely fenced in lots range from 2-3 acres of beautiful grassy and wooded sections. Sparty and Delilah have private parties there at least every weekend, but with the roads covered in ice and snow, this basketball court makeshift dog park was the only place accessible by foot.
It didn't take long for their coats to get soaked, not that they noticed.
We really lucked out with Delilah as she adapted instantly to Sparty's roughhousing, and he truly is her favorite dog to play with now. She gets along with everyone, but the peak of her happiness is reached going nuts with her big brother. As soon as we close the gate to any park we visit, these two immediately take off tackling each other. We wouldn't condone their disorderly play with stranger dogs, but since these two trust each other completely, there's no harm in letting them play to their heart's content.
About half an hour of insanity can really knock these two out for the rest of the day. We knew they were ready to head home when Delilah started looking cold, and Sparty's efforts were focused on lapping up melting ice.
The rest of the day was spent like this.
How do you feel about dog parks?
Are your dogs fans of the snow?