Sit. Stay. No Begging.

22 01 2009

or, How to Not be a Complete Jerk at the Dog Park

One of the highlights of my day is taking Henry (seen below at Capehart Dog Park in San Diego) to our local doggy park. The sun is setting, the breeze is blowing, and the air is fresh with the scent of… well, nevermind. But even though the dogs at our park are wonderfully sweet, silly and downright bizarre, some of their people can be a bit much at the end of a long day.

Of course, everyone knows the official rules: Be current on vaccinations, fill any holes your dog digs and pick up any “presents” he leaves behind. Great. But there’s also unwritten, and often violated, dog park etiquette that helps keep the park a fun, safe and reasonably sane place for everybody to unwind and get their wiggles out. So sit, stay and read on for Urbzen’s five things you should never bring to the dog park:

Food: This applies to both the human and canine variety. Whether it’s Fido’s favorite treat or a quick lunch for you, bringing food into the dog park is one of the best ways to go from zero to anarchy in seconds. And don’t think you can hide those morsels in your pocket; With a sense of smell that is 100,000 times greater than that of a human, they’ll find it every time. After all, they don’t have bomb-sniffing humans, do they?

dog park

Your own toys: Of course, bringing your dog’s personal toys to the dog park is fine–as long as neither of you wants to see them again. The beauty of the dog park is the communal atmosphere, so expect to see plenty of sharing, but don’t expect to see Rover politely return Fluffy’s ball when it’s time for her to go home.

Small kids: A dog park may seem like an ideal place to let your two-legged charges run loose as well, but even the friendliest medium- to large-sized dog can knock a toddler to the ground with so much as an enthusiastic greeting, causing inevitable conflict between parent and pet owner. Kid parks outnumber dog parks by at least 100 to 1, so for everyone’s safety and peace of mind, keep at least one hand  (or better yet, a leash) on your tots when they’re in canine territory.

A leash: Though a must in most situations, a leash should never enter the dog park attached to a dog. Rather than keeping your pooch safe, being tethered to a leash can make your furry friend a sitting duck, unable to get away from dominant or aggressive dogs. Last year in San Diego, a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix was killed at Dusty Rhodes Dog Park when its leash kept it from evading an aggressive Husky. While the leash was obviously not to blame for the incident, it left the small dog open to attack.

An attitude: Your love for Lassie may be unconditional, but that doesn’t mean she can do no wrong. Always keep an eye on your pup and be ready to intervene if playtime gets out of hand.

By following the rules–both written and implied–the dog park can be a great place for everyone who is lucky enough to be owned by a dog. Let the butt-sniffing begin!


Weekly Henry, Inaugural Edition

16 01 2009


Keep your eye on Urbzen for sexy Inauguration updates live from Washington, DC.  For even more awesome inaugural goodness, follow me on Twitter.

Weekly Henry is not pleased

12 12 2008

Mr. Henry does NOT like baths. But he DOES like it when you help homeless pets, and a great way to do that this holiday season is to consider purchasing the “Key to my Heart” Collar Charm for the furry little diva in your life.  When you buy the charm, donates 100 percent of the profits to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.


 Best Friends runs the No More Homeless Pets campaign, a grass roots effort to find forever homes for pets others have deemed “unadoptable”.  Every charm purchased helps feed a hungry dog or rehabilitate a dog for his forever home. Also, from now through the end of 2008, Metro Dog will donate 10 percent of total profits to Best Friends, so get shopping!

A happy and healthy holiday season for your furry loved ones

9 12 2008

The holiday season is a magical time of year, both for us and for our four-legged best friends. Mr. Henry is especially fond of tearing wrapping paper (off of his presents or anyone else’s), as well as the Christmas stocking his grammy prepares for him.

But there are a few important precautions you can take to keep your festivities from taking a tragic turn. Many thanks to Michael’s Pet Sitting of NYC for this wonderful list of holiday pet safety tips:

If you decorate with plants, be careful. Cats, dogs and birds can nibble household plants, and many, including mistletoe and some poinsettias, can make your pet very ill. Be sure your holiday greenery is out of your pet’s reach.

The same is true if you have a Christmas tree. Put only unbreakable, nontoxic decorations at the bottom of the tree so there is no danger of your little ones batting a glass ball and breaking it, or of your pup chewing up your grandmother’s antique bubble lights.

Why not put some kitty baubles or doggie toys on the lower branches instead? Or, if you have both pets and kids, put the tree and gifts into a playpen. It may not stop Kitty, but at least the tree won’t easily fall down if she climbs it.

If you have a live tree, wrap the base so your pets won’t drink from the tree’s water, and keep the birds away from the tree. Many modern live trees are covered in chemicals that can be toxic to your little friends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Weekly Henry, holiday edition

5 12 2008


Happy holidays from your favorite furry supermodel!

Weekly Henry, Holiday Edition

26 11 2008


O Hai!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Next update on Monday.

Weekly Henry: Blast from the past

21 11 2008


[Ed. note: I’ll be out of the country all next week. I’m going to set some stuff to auto-post, but I apologize in advance if I don’t respond to your emails or comments right away. Have a happy Thanksgiving!]