Under One Woof

Humber Et Cetera's Pets and Animals Blog

Making furry friends

on March 20, 2012

Oliver and his best friend Karcsi. Photo by Sarah Horwath

By Sarah Horwath

Now that the weather is warming up, for Oliver this means longer walks. One of my favourite places to take Oliver for off-leash walks is at High Park in Toronto.

When Oliver first went to “Doggy Hill” at High Park, he was so overwhelmed with the freedom and being surrounded by so many new dogs, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

I, on the other hand, was the one who was a ball of nerves because I was scared he would run away. Before “Doggy Hill,” he didn’t have many opportunities in off-leash parks because he took a long time to develop his listening skills.

However, I was recently told by my boyfriend Alex that the relationship between Oliver and I is more of a friendship, rather than a dog and master relationship. So maybe Oliver’s poor listening skills are my fault.

Oliver does listen to me eventually, but I have a hard time expressing a commanding voice in order for him to take me seriously.

What makes me laugh when I take Oliver to High Park is how he socializes with other dogs. Correction: how he is anti-social with other dogs.

I had this image in my head of Oliver making so many dog friends at the park, dogs that he could socialize with whenever we went for our walks there, start his own little dog posse, if you will.

My dream for him has yet to come true. Whenever Oliver comes into contact with other dogs, depending on their size, he either runs away or he does what is known as the “doggy handshake” (sniffing one’s behind).

You would think that he would run away from the bigger dogs, but it’s actually the dogs that are his size or smaller that he is afraid of. Whenever a little dog gets close to him to say hello, Oliver immediately runs in the opposite direction.

As for the big dogs, it’s more of a “Ring Around the Rosie” dance that takes place. Oliver could spend five minutes or more doing a circle dance with whatever big dogs that he meets along our walks. It’s the funniest thing – he never gets tired of doing the “doggy handshake.”

I thought that every time that we went to visit High Park that Oliver would get more comfortable meeting other dogs and would eventually recognize some of the familiar furry faces, but he is still shy I guess.

Or maybe it’s a matter of having “doggy chemistry.” When Oliver met my dad’s dog Karcsi for the first time, they immediately bonded. Sure, they fought over and stole each other’s toys, but they became friends right away.

They have only met each other on three occasions, and it’s amazing how well they get along. Wherever one goes, the other has to follow. They also get very jealous of each other when it comes to receiving the right amount of pats on the head or cuddles. It is so hilarious to see Oliver get upset when he see me pet Karcsi on the head – he either lets out a little bark, cries or turns away in anger to give me the cold shoulder. Karcsi does the exact same when my Dad gives Oliver attention.

I’m not sure if Oliver will ever be 100 per cent comfortable at “Doggy Hill,” or if he will ever make more furry friends other than Karcsi, but one thing is for sure, he has the time of his life when he is off-leash.

When I look at his face while he runs it almost looks like he’s smiling. And as a dog owner, that is the best feeling in the world – to see your dog having the best day ever, being happy and free outside at a beautiful green park.


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