Having a nice day in the dog park is more than just opening the gate.You dont have to be a yoga guru or state of mind scientist to know that when you are living in the moment, but you and your dog are fully engaged and having the best time.
Picture this, almost every time I met someone in the park (who doesn't go there often) I get the same story ' you have an ideal job' or 'aren't you lucky to do this for a living'.
There are several things that come to mind about these comments:
They are usually made by novices who don't take their dog walks seriously. Dont put the hard yards into training or daily dog walks, socialisation, cooling down over playing dogs, preventing dog fights etc
These comments usually happen in spring or autumn in optimal 'human' weather.
People dont realise that in optimal 'human' weather it is often snake season, or that if the sun is out, your dog's have just as much chance of being sun burned on the face or developing cataracts from UV exposure as their human handlers. So for me an ideal day isnt always sunny (particularly when it gets warmer and the UV is higher.
These people's primary jobs pay four times my annual income as a pro dog walker - yet they love their dog so much, they are not actually willing to ensure they have the best where it counts - walks and meat based food.
The notion of a great day in the park for me is often very different from a person with a single dog or who doesn't come to the park that often.
When I run a larger sized pack, I want to see that every dog is participating or at least not too anxious or straying behind the pack etc. Just because your dog is older or smaller and dont want to play doesn't mean that they cant explore or shouldn't feel safe exploring. There are many roles that dogs take in forming a strong pack, and they are just as important as the alpha dog role.
Many people think that taking a dog out, is a great thing they are doing - but great would be twice a day for the dogs entire life. They would also encourage their dog to learn to understand what dogs to approach and what not to. Knowing this implicitly because of their vast experience with random dogs in dog parks. What to do when another dominating dog comes over that they don't want to engage with, but they dont want to encourage a bite either (ie getting your dog to the social state that they dont go automatically into fight or flight mode).
The day in the park should be fun for dog and owner, but its that kind of boring fun, you know, responsible fun. The fine line is not micro managing dogs, which many overly anxious owners do, but also not being engrossed with your phone or being distracted and not watching your dog. THIS is your dog's time, so I always make sure that they are getting fully out of it what they can. Not forcing it, but looking at ways to remove obstacles to them developing and having an enriched experience.
Or is this just me?