Editor’s note: Simply put, rocks are the new dogs. To meet the needs of this growing population of pet parents, we are switching our focus to become THE source for all things rock related. Rockster will deliver the latest care info from experts in the mineralogy field, the best training advice from leading rock behaviorists, and the most helpful tips from our team of rock lovers, who will help you navigate life with a not-so-furry friend. Also look for inspiring stories of rock rescue and adoption, as well as profiles of Rockster Heroes. And be sure to create a page in our Community area — we want to see your pets, pebbles and boulders alike! We hope you enjoy Rockster. — Pamela Mitchell, Senior Rockster Editor
My pup, Riggins, loves the dog park. So it made perfect sense that when I added a sweet pet rock named Fuzzy to our family that he should enjoy some off-leash time with his friends, too. Unfortunately, my community has yet to realize that rocks need their own designated space. Until this happens, Fuzzy has to share with his doggie friends.
Thankfully, like most rocks, Fuzzy is so well behaved and amazingly tolerant of other pets that he doesn’t mind being placed into the chaos that exists at some dog parks. Although, it is because of his well-mannered personality that I have to be extra careful and watch out for him.
With that in mind, I put together these tips for helping your rock enjoy a trip to the dog park. I hope you will get your rock out and about, too!
It’s important that all of your kids, no matter the species, make it to the park safely. I’m sure you already have car seats for your human children and car restraints for your pups, but what about your rock? There hasn’t been much research done on the safest way for someone like Fuzzy to travel. He tends to slip out of seat belts, and the harnesses currently available on the market just don’t fit his cute tubby body.
For Fuzzy’s safety and the safety of my other passengers, he gets to ride in a small animal crate in the way-back of my car. He loves it back there and feels like he is one of the gang, snuggled safely between the toys and hiking gear!
Poor Fuzzy has had the unfortunate experience of being mistaken for a park rock. Of course the difference between him and his non-pet relatives is obvious to us humans, but to the pups wandering around, it can be a bit confusing. Usually, this misunderstanding is harmless, but every now and then a male dog comes around and marks Fuzzy! Once marked, it becomes a free for all, and poor Fuzzy has to endure a half dozen dudes peeing all over him, one after the other, unless I get to him first.
To help keep your rock safe from such disrespectful and impolite behavior, you will need to keep a close eye on him. If you see a male dog sniffing around, it’s best to go over and pick up your rock and remove him from the area.
It was extremely hot in Los Angeles — 90-plus degrees in the middle of March! — during a recent trip to the dog park. That heat is just torture for pups, and most pet parents stay away from the park for the health of their dogs. Although I don’t experience snow in my area, I’m told that dog parks in very cold climates also tend to empty out in harsh weather.
Swings in weather are the perfect time to get your rock out to play! In fact, it’s a time when the rocks can take over the park and socialize freely without being sniffed and peed on by their canine friends.
One more plus is that Fuzzy doesn’t require water! If the water at your local dog park is hard to come by, just too dirty to consume safely or frozen over, it doesn’t matter. Unlike with your pup, there is no need to carry your own water or to head over to the community bowl every few minutes to clean it out and fill it back up.
I’m lucky in that Fuzzy is much too big and hefty (although his doctor assures me his weight is fine for his type) to be mistaken for a ball. Some of Fuzzy’s more petite friends have been less fortunate. Be sure to keep a sharp eye on any small round rocks. Although, if a dog does sniff around and decide a pet rock is something to grab in his mouth and play with, it’s more likely that the dog will be hurt than your little rock darling.
We all know that heated arguments can happen between well-meaning owners at a dog park. Energetic play between two pups can escalate to a rumble, leaving the parents to throw around insults and accusations. No matter what happens, DO NOT use your adorable rock as a weapon. Just because he is handy, hard, and easy to chuck, that doesn’t mean it’s fair to involve him. There is nothing scarier to a rock than being hurled at someone. It’s unsafe for your pet and certainly not good for the victim — or your criminal record.
I hope you find these tips helpful. Have lots of park fun with your rock!
Read more about pet rocks on Rockster:
Learn more ways to share dog-centric spaces:
About the author: Wendy Newell is a former VP of Sales turned Grade A Dog Sitter. After years of stress, she decided to leave the world of “always be closing” to one of tail wags and licks. Wendy’s new career keeps her busy hiking, being a dog chauffeur, picking up poo, sacrificing her bed, and other fur-filled activities. Wendy and her dog, Riggins, take their always-changing pack of pups on adventures throughout the Los Angeles area, where they live together in a cozy, happy home. You can learn more about Wendy, Riggins, Fuzzy, and their adventures on Facebook and Instagram.