Romance at the dog park

Leo is being neutered today. I waffled on it a bit, after reading some anti-neutering stuff on The Internet, chiefly that male dogs will look like females if testosterone production is cut off (so to speak). The decision was fairly well made when he seemed to be going through some puberty behaviors, but the clincher was the call from doggie daycare saying he wouldn’t be allowed back until he is neutered because he’s humping all the other dogs and starting fights. Not getting into fights himself, mind you, but causing other dogs to get upset.

I hadn’t actually seen a single instance of humping behavior until the other night. I’ve seen him play wonderfully with dogs of all sizes at the dog park, but Wednesday night, he became completely enamored of two pug brothers. He licked their smushed faces, sniffed their privates and several times mounted from behind and tried to hump. Mortifying.

The pugs were back last night and he ran and played with them a little, and a few times started to look amorous. I stepped between them and prevented the behavior. When the pug mom was ready to go, she picked one of her boys up and started toward the trail that leads to the parking lot. The other pug wasn’t ready to go. Leo mounted and got in a few thrusts before I pulled him away and held his collar until the pug reluctantly trailed after his mom. I waited until they were out of sight, and turned Leo toward the shepherd mixes and Australian shepherds that he had romped with happily before the entrance of the pugs. He made a half-hearted attempt at play, but then sniffed the trail of pheromones the pugs left behind. I said to another dog parent, “I will die if he goes running up the trail after them.”

Which is exactly what he did!

When I caught up to them, the pug mom was waiting for us, holding her pugs’ collars (she didn’t have their leashes), with Leo sticking his face where it didn’t belong. She was cool about it. I guess the brothers get humped a lot. And did their fair share of humping each other before they were neutered.

Oh, Leo. Wonder what will happen next time you see those boys, apres neuter.

As I walked out of the vet’s office this morning after dropping him off, a man with a pug came strutting across the parking lot. I hope they’re put in adjacent crates before surgery.

I don’t know what Leo’s future at dog parks will be. I have been frequenting two of them. The one that is most happening after work will be too dark once the time changes this weekend. The other has a regular crowd from 9-10 each morning. Don’t these people have jobs? It would be great if people started going between 8-9 after the time change, but we’ll see.

Leo has the bestest temperament in the whole world, but there have been a few dogs that seem to pick on him, getting in his face and barking. A couple of times, other dogs have gotten on either side of him and “herded,” and you can tell from the change in body language, especially the tucking of the tail, that it’s stopped being fun for Leo. I get him out of there when that happens.

At the morning park the other day, this happened with a boxer wearing an electronic collar of some sort. Red flag! There’s something wrong with that dog. Or that owner! Even if you choose to use an electronic collar for barking or biting or fleeing or whatever, under what circumstances would you use it at a dog park? To stop the dog from fighting? If you need an electronic collar for that, the dog shouldn’t be at a dog park!!

The other highly disturbing thing I saw this week, at the other park, was a mom, dad and boy sitting on a bench, watching the dogs, with a stroller parked BEHIND them, with a sleeping child in it. Leo went up to the stroller and licked the baby’s face. I called his name, and while yes, I should have enough control over my dog to keep him from licking a sleeping baby, at least I know my dog wouldn’t do more than lick it. They didn’t seem overly bothered – not enough to realize that they’d been negligent – but chose that moment to pick up and leave.