Whenever I can I like to take Wiley to an off leash dog park. While he is there he can play with other dogs, sniff a spot for as long as he wants and do the zoomies at a speed that is really quite remarkable.
I don’t think anything relieves built up energy or stress like a good romp with a fellow dog. All the better if the other dog is another lab as they seem to be Wiley favourite playtime buddies.
I am always a little anxious when we are at a dog park. As soon as I let Wiley off lead I can no longer feel what he is up to. I put a bell on him so I can hear where he is, but if he stops to sniff I loose him. For this reason I only ever go to a dog park with a sighted friend or family member.
Yesterday a friend and I took our dogs to a dog park at Yarralumlla, Wiley and I hadn’t been to this particular dog park before. It was lovely with a separate area for large and small dogs. There was lots of shady trees and plenty of space for the dogs to run around. To Wiley’s delight there were quite a few other dogs, including lots of labs, for him to hang out with.
My friend and I had a nice chat to some of the other dog owners. I think they found it hard to believe that the Wiley was a fully trained Guide Dog as he zoomed past them at incredible speed, or had a wrestling match with another dog. I explained that having a Guide Dog is like having two dogs, the working dog, who in harness is very focused and self controlled and the off duty dog who loves to play as much as any other dog.
After we got home I had one very tired dog who happily slept the afternoon away. I always designate dog park days as a day off for Wiley. I try to organise things so Wiley has at least one full day off work each week. On that day we will go go for an extra long recreational walk, visit the dog park or have a doggy play date with a friend. He also gets a lovely long lasting chew on those days as a reward for a week worth of great work.
Today it is back to work for both of us but at least we are nice and refreshed after a very enjoyable day yesterday.