Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Santa Monica Airport Dog Park

Finn got the chance to check out yet another dog park today. This one, at Airport Park in Santa Monica, is much smaller than Laurel Canyon but it's very well kept. The entire .83 acres is fenced in and covered in a thick mulch, making it easy to clean up. There are separate areas for small and large dogs, water fountains, trash bags and even a few tennis balls. We happened into the park at around 6:00 and there were about 20 or so dogs in the big dog area, fairly busy for such a small space but there was still enough room to move around.

The one issue to note however, technically dogs must be licensed in Santa Monica to be in the park. The Park services of Santa Monica does provide a phone number for non-residents to apply for a permit.

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All in all the park is clean, well kept, had friendly dogs and owners and was generally a pleasant experience. Still, unless you live close to the park and are headed there on a walk there are better places to go (including the Palisades Park by the beach)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Laurel Canyon Dog Park

Dog parks can be a bit intimidating. Will my dog get in a fight? Will he steal some one's tennis ball or sniff someone who doesn't want to be sniffed? Will he get sick (this one is the biggest questions)?

With all the warnings in books and in the news about the health hazards of dog parks is can be stressful. The good news is although bad things can happen, if you are a generally competent owner and respectful of dog park etiquette there should be no problems.

The park we have been frequenting lately is Laurel Canyon Dog Park on Mulholland (map below). It's a great park, full of tennis balls. Dogs can also lap up some water at the fountain (see Finn in the picture below). For owners there are loads of trash cans with shovels to encourage picking up anything a dog might deposit that no one wants to step in.

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There are a few other parks in our area but we have yet to go to them. For now Laurel Canyon sets a very high standard. If all other dog parks are as clean, welcoming, and big as this one Bear is in for a lot of trips to dog parks. I'm still nervous about letting him go off leash in areas that are not fenced but hopefully we can fix that next weekend when we plan on going out in the mountains for real.

Laurel Canyon is general gets 4 of 5 bones on our unofficial scale (scale subject to change at any time)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Destroying Dog Toys

Finnegan doesn't just play with toys. He DESTROYS them. Finn has about 20 toys, ranging from Kong balls and basic tennis balls to stuffed baby duckies and AKC training ferrets. This little guy doesn't like just playing with his toys, carrying them around and playing fetch. No, he is not satisfied until he has completely ripped apart and destroyed his toy. Does it have eyes or a nose, those are a good place to start. Or possibly a tail, it doesn't matter where he begins chewing and despite the canine lack of opposable thumbs he's getting pretty good and holding toys against the floor while he lets his incisors do the "playing". It's not that he is a particularly violent pooch, he just enjoys taking things a part. Because he was young and so irresistibly cute, I kept buying him new ones, hoping that he wouldn't be able to destory it. However, my breaking point was last sunday when we bought finn a squeaky plastic hot dog. Within 3 minutes (literally) of receiving the gift, Finnegan held the hotdog down with his two front paws, took one bite of the end of the bun and yanked it right off.

It wouldn't be such a problem if it weren't for the fact that most toys have some sort of stuffing. This, by the way, is the stupidest design and manufacturing of any product I have encountered. Dog toys in general really need some more thought put into them, you know so that they are as consumable as they are now. From now on Finn will get rawhides and tennis balls only!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Cute Dog Pictures

Here's Finn's Close up.

Also, Found a picture of an adorable Labrador puppy, thought you may enjoy (check out some of these others dog pictures too.)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Birthday, Grooming and the Dog Park

It's been a while since I've posted. The list of excuses is long but boils down to just not making it a priority. In the time since the last post a lot has happened in Finnegan's life. He turned one on March 18th. We threw him a mini party including a dog cake made just for him (okay cake is not exactly the right term, more like wheat bran muffins with cottage cheese toppings)
As you may be able to tell from the pictures Finn also got a haircut. We took him down to Sparky's which took great care of him, trimmed him up and made him smell all fresh. Like any guy it took a week or so for his new haircut to start looking great but it did and soon he was back to being the king of the castle.
The other major development is that we finally started taking Finnegan to the dog park. In the past his madre has been worried that he would get hurt (his hip dysplasia), that others dog would take advantage of him and all that. Turns out Finn plays great with other dogs.
His favorite spot is Laurel Canyon Dog park. This place is GREAT. At close to 20 acres it is the largest off-leash dog park in Los Angeles (at least according to the two guide books I own). If you live in the area you have to go. Tons of tennis balls are just lying around and most patrons are more than happy to pet a friendly dog. Water is also available so no need to worry about bringing anything other than your dog and a willingness to huck a tennis ball for an hour.
Thanks to all the folks who posted comments in the past two months. Hopefully I'll get better about posting more often. Take care.