Jack is a young dog, and he loves to play with other dogs. He has a couple of neighborhood friends, but when he goes out for a walk, we keep him on the leash, so his playing is pretty controlled and constrained.
Since his recent great breakthrough in learning to ride in the car, we've been able to take him not only to our local hiking trails, but also to a Dog Park. The one we like is in Calabasas, California, called the Bark Park.
There's a grassy fenced area, and another area covered with bark mulch. There's also a nice little fenced space with piped water to a doggie-height bowl. The first time we went, you could go into either area, but in recent weeks they've closed the grassy space for lawn rehab, and we're only allowed to use the bark mulch area.
Each time we've gone, Jack has had a blast. There's always a cohort of dogs - ranging from giant Newfoundlands to tiny Chihuahuas. The dog owners are fun to talk with. There is a core group of "regulars" - some of them retired folks who visit at the same time each day. I have never seen a badly behaved dog at the park.
The dogs wander alone, and then gravitate towards one another. They ignore one another, and then they roll on the ground together. They may cluster in front of one park bench with a human being, or they might range together to investigate the perimeter fence. An entire pack might start chasing around and around and around the park, going through the legs of standing humans, or slithering beneath the park benches.
When they exhaust themselves, they lie down together, like Jack and this sweet brindle Akita-cross girlie we met the other day. She licked his face!
It's hilarious. [The Man I Love] has likened it to watching an aquarium full of fish interacting with one another. Watching them play and ramble makes you smile and is one of the most relaxing things a human being can do.