Like a lot of new dog owners, Adriana Magarin recently got a puppy to help brighten up pandemic life. “You can only read so many books, you can only listen to so many podcasts,” she said.
Buddy, her husky, is “a troublemaker, but he gets me up in the morning and gets me outside.”
But Buddy’s first trip to a dog park in Houston, where Magarin lives, was more than she bargained for. He was “doing great” hanging out with other dogs — until he followed them to a pond and fell in. He got out fine, she said, laughing, though he “looked like a little rat.”
Go to any dog park right now and you’ll likely find lively pandemic puppies like Buddy, along with new owners learning the ins and outs of off-leash play. Fortunately, with treats and a watchful eye, you can take the anxiety out of dog park visits in no time.
Stephanie Holmes admitted to being “a little nervous” on a recent day in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, New York. It was her very first time taking her 7-month-old dog, Stella, to the park’s early morning off-leash dog run, which these days attracts dozens of pandemic puppies.
Stella did just fine with all comers, human and canine, but Tom Huang, owner of Rose, a gray-and-white pit bull, sympathized about the dog park jitters. “It can be hard to get their attention if they’re in the mix,” he said.