Friday, January 15, 2010

Dog Park Follies

Took Bisou to the local dog park this morning (in Vermont, that means a 45 minute drive, no traffic, gorgeous landscape). Every two weeks, from 10:30 to noon, it's Cavalier Play Group. In Vermont, that means five people and nine dogs, not all a the same time.

When Bisou and I arrived there were five males there--four Rubies, one Tri-Color--all neutered except for one. That particular one, a feisty Ruby, is waiting for the breeder to determine whether he has show potential, in which case he will get to keep his gonads.

In which case, god help us. Because that particular Ruby has been obsessed with Bisou from the minute he first set eyes on her. She was only four months old the first time we went to the park, and puberty not even in the horizon. But the minute I let her in the gate, he was on her like...like...like the Energizer Bunny on a rampage? Like some obscene windup toy? Like the ideal male lead in a porno film?

Now she is six months old, and his lust has reached new heights. This morning he and Bisou wandered over the park like a weird sort of dog tandem, one in front, pulling with the forelegs (Bisou) and one behind, pushing and shoving and, you know, humping.

I was determined to be polite and not over-protective. I know that bitches have their ways of keeping inopportune suitors at bay. But those must be more experienced bitches. All Bisou did was run, and, when caught, submit--ears back, eyes round--then run again, and submit once more. A couple of times I heard her growl, but it didn't have any effect. She didn't seem cowed or hurt in anyway, so I decided to let Nature take its course.

Which it did, over and over and over again. The male's owner was embarrassed and apologetic and would periodically call his dog and reason with him. At one point the dog, unhappy at being distracted from Bisou, grabbed his owner by the sleeve, his eyes wide, growling and tugging with all his strength. I was aghast. I've never seen such raw dog-to-owner aggression live before. If this had been a bigger dog (Wolfie, say) the owner's arm would have been torn off.

But this was a small dog, a lovely long-haired, big-eyed sweet-looking lap dog, so his owner cooed to him, and entreated him to sit (which the dog laughed at), and petted him until he was no longer snarling, and let him go. Whereupon the dog, feeling he had succeeded in teaching his owner a lesson, went back to Bisou.

Eventually three of Bisou's littermates showed up, and the older dogs went home, and the puppies had a good old pre-pubertal romp. We three puppy owners promised not to hold it against each other when the hormonal tides sweep in and turn our little darlings into sex-obsessed maniacs for whom all idea of play is a thing of the past.

2 comments :

  1. whoa. i would NOT have liked this. an amusing story as told by you. but i am seething at that owner.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's hard to know what to do in these cases. With an unneutered female, you keep her home while she's in heat. But unneutered males are, in a sense, always in heat, and a dog trainer who heard about all this said there's nothing you can do about the behavior, except separate the dogs. She did however think there was a LOT that should be done about the aggression towards the owner.

    ReplyDelete