Dog Park Play


Almost everyone at the dog park knows that Dixie is a non-aggressive, dominant bitch. This almost seems like a contradiction in terms. I call Dixie non-aggressive because she does not have a mean bone in her body; even when pushed to the extreme limits by an aggressor, she usually refuses to get into a fight. That is not to say that she won’t fight in self-defense; she just seems to prefer making peace to making war. Many humans could learn a lesson from her. On the other hand, she is dominant and she never allows any dog in the vicinity to forget who is really the boss.

Dixie loves to play and like most large dogs she plays rough; her favorite form of roughhousing is wrestling. She probably loves this because she always wins even against much younger dogs. Dixie is almost six years old and will soon be considered a doggy senior citizen. I fear that soon her wrestling days will be behind her.

One afternoon a very handsome and strong rottweiler entered the park. He sauntered across the main lawn with the easy gait of a confident young male. Most of the smaller dogs and their owners gave the rottweiler a wide berth even though he appeared friendly and eager to play. The rottweiler’s owner approached me and asked if I thought whether his dog and my German shepherd could play together, seeing as they were the only two large dogs in the park.

“I don’t know,” I replied. I am usually leery about letting Dixie play with dogs whose owners I don’t know. The dog did not worry me; I worried how his owner would react to Dixie’s love of roughhousing. “He is really much younger and bigger than Dixie; She is only about eight-eight pounds. How much does he weigh?”

“Mac weighs one hundred and fifteen pounds,” Mac’s owner said with evident pride. “But, don’t worry. If he gets too rough for your bitch, I’ll step in and stop him from hurting her.”

Hmm. . . .

I looked over at Dixie who had a distinct gleam in her eyes as she eyed the handsome male standing in front of her. “Well, I don’t want anyone hurt,” I said. “As long as you think you can stop Mac.”

“Don’t worry about it. They’ll be fine. Roughhousing is good for them. Go ahead, Mac. Go play with Dixie.”

The two dogs needed no further encouragement and for the next three or four minutes they wrestled with the abandon of happy puppies. Several dog owners approached to watch. Dixie’s admirers cheered her on. Oh, good Lord, Dixie was in her glory.

Suddenly and without warning my German shepherd executed one of her well-known moves. She twirled the big male up in the air, dropped him to the ground and as he lay there in abject astonishment, Dixie jumped on him. Pinned!

“Oh, my God!” Mac’s owned yelled. “What a lucky move; she is good.”

“Yes, she is,” I chuckled.

“Okay, he just got up; let’s see what happens now. Mac won’t be fooled twice.”

The spectators all laughed; I think they knew what would happen next.

The two dogs circled each other. Mac was definitely much more wary this time around. Dixie’s eyes were shining and she had this decidedly wicked grin on her face—just before she performed her famous coup de grâce and Mac went down hard. This time he took a little longer in getting up.

“Okay,” I said. “I think they have had enough.” I said and grabbed hold of Dixie’s collar.

“No!” Mac’s owner said. “Give him one more chance. Look, he just got up. Let her go.”

“I don’t think so.”

“Come on. Let her go!”

“Okay!” I let her go.

Dixie sashayed over to the rottweiler, who promptly went down on the ground belly up!

“You did not tell me she is a dominant bitch!” Mac’s owner cried out in surprise.

“You didn’t ask,” I replied.

“Oh, for Heaven’s sake! Come on, Mac! Let’s go home.”

Those of us remaining managed to suppress our laughter until man and dog had left the park.

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