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dog village at wheaton labs  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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I had an idea ....

I guess most dog owners have a fenced in yard at home. So they can leave their dogs in the yard, go do stuff and the dogs are fine. Maybe we need a bunch of dog people to come visit and build a dog fence. An area for dogs to romp and play and people can go and do stuff knowing that their dog is in the dog play area.


The more I thought about it, the more I liked it. So I expanded on it.

I suppose "the dog park" could start off as something about the size of an average back yard. In time, maybe there could be four paddocks so that while one paddock is in use, the other three can be resting. Maybe during the rest, chickens could be run through to do bug control.

Instead of asking people to remove dog poop, we could provide sawdust and ask people to just put a lot of sawdust on the poop.

Maybe there could be a skiddable shelter made that is something of a dog house for many dogs. It could have water, kibble and the sawdust.

As the months and years pass, maybe the dog park area will become more and more elaborate to better and better facilitate dogs.


I suspect that in time, there could end up being quite the little "dog village" - a place for dogs and dog lovers. Created by and for dog lovers.

Currently we have "gapper love" and "ant love" where people send stuff here for those folks. Maybe we will end up with a similar program: "dog love"?


 
K Putnam
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In my experience, the people who know about dogs tend to keep their dogs away from dog parks while the people who don't know about dogs let them all run together...then problems.

If I was in your situation with various property owners and livestock, I would probably limit dogs to the people who actually live there. But, if I wanted to figure out a way for people to bring their dogs, I'd probably build something more along the lines of a kennel that allowed guests to bring their dogs and keep them safely individually kenneled while participating in events and then require they stay on leash in the core parts of the property.  Perhaps some off-leash areas deeper in the woods.   Or require that they be crated while taking classes or doing things that does not involve supervising the dog. Strange dogs loose together + flippant people = trips to the vet.  Flippant people being the classic "ohhhhh, they'll be fine...."

There's nothing wrong with maintaining some hard and fast rules about dogs.  I love dogs.  I have a dog.  I don't just show up at someone's house with my dog.

 
paul wheaton
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Jocelyn just asked me about dogs.  Apparently somebody is thinking of bringing a dog for one of our events.

This thread is my primary answer.

Maybe this person, with their dog, wants to come a week early.  They can build a junkpole fence paddock or two.  Maybe we can announce "dog week" and a bunch of dog owners would want to come and build something. 

Then the dog can hang out in something that resembles a "back yard" during the day while the person is attending class.  The dog is not tied up.  The dog is not disrupting class.

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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#1 challenge - base camp and the lab are not fully fenced.

We've had past issues with dogs wandering off wheaton labs property...definitely not safe for the dog, and not a neighborly thing to have happen.
Tying up a dog, or closing them up in a cabin (we do not allow any animals in the Fisher Price House), creates excitable, if not aggressive behavior in even very good dogs.
We are growing food on hugelkultur mounds and berms that some (most?) dogs find exciting to climb. This tramples our food and is not okay.

#2 challenge - shop / auditorium

Our shop at base camp (which is also our auditorium or classroom space) is not geared toward being safe for pets (or children). There could be shards of metal on the floor, there could be trash or burnables that smell yummy and are within a muzzle's reach. The dog might want to go in and out, in and out, or find other ways to disrupt class, workshops, movies, or projects.

---------

Because of these (perhaps obvious challenges), I agree that as Paul described, some kind of dog yard would be awesome! And K Putnam makes a lot of sense about not throwing dogs together willy-nilly, so separate sections for dogs would make a lot of sense, too.



 
Erica Wisner
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Dog parks work OK with supervision.
Strange dogs in a strange place without their familiar people sounds like a recipe for great escapes and/or dog fights.

A dog is not a horse or ox, to contentedly graze with other dogs in a paddock until called back to work.  Time spent without his 'people' is not a vacation.

Just like the pigness of the pig, and the crowness of the crow, there is the dogness of the dog.
"Dogness" includes
- the depth and loyalty of social attachments.  They may suffer great stress away from their people, or change their behavior as they integrate into a new 'pack'
- the sense of territory, defined with scents and familiarity.  There is a vast difference between "my backyard" and "a backyard."
- a juvenile or "neotenous" playfulness.  This allows them to learn and follow commands much later in life than their wild canine cousins, but also makes them more socially demanding
- canine dominance/submission patterns, including strong instincts about pack membership, pecking order, and the implications of who may leave whom behind.

Dog-based Dog Training:

Crate Training, or the portable "den"
Most of the folks I know who need any level of discipline from their dogs set up a crate or "safe space;" for those who travel, this is often in their vehicle.  The vehicle or crate becomes a portable 'territory' where the dog can feel safe at home, anywhere. Dogs whose sense of security and territory are supported in this way are among the quietest, happiest, and most effective working dogs I've met.

For vehicle-kenneled dogs, shaded parking areas to prevent solar-oven overheating would be a huge asset.


Dogs trapped where they can see or hear each other, but not their master, may be very noisy/upset as they try to make sense of the situation.

Isolated, dog-friendly "parking areas," like a long carport with a hog panel fence that you can park in, may allow individual dogs to feel like they are in the right place, guarding the den, while their pack leader/master does the alpha work here. 
Maybe there is a pet-friendly camping area with good privacy screening and kennel/crate runs, but again, if the dogs can see each other and no master, their social order is de-stabilized.
..
I have a hard time imagining any covered parking area on Wheaton Labs that was not immediately morphed into a shed or dwelling of some kind...
..

Then there is the complication of E&E, and possibly of future service dogs, where disability comes into play.  Ernie's limited mobility, and our close bonds between all 3 of us, means this dog-friendly parking area would need to be quite close to the main event /food spaces to be of any use to us personally.

Service dogs who live and work in the bustling heart of "human world" must have unusual aptitude and rigorous training.  Many great dogs will fail to pass the high bar for assistance/service/S&R.  Their trainers and/or handlers must also be disciplined, consistent, and deft at working with the dogs' own nature to bring them into a highly competent, functional standing. 

I wonder if the Red Cabin is the main location for disabled guests with service dogs, or if it might be worth creating something on level with the shop, where there could be a hut and a fenced poop-run.
I wonder if Wheaton Labs has any ambition to be ADA-accessible (Cob Cottage didn't).
...

The main uses of a dog park are:
- Place to run off excess energy after a dull day alone
- Being able to run and poop in the same space (the body does work that way)
- Meeting other dogs off-leash, with supervision, where both owners and dogs can relax.
This kind of open/fenced run can help dogs get acquainted, feel less stressed around strange dogs, and re-connect with their people.
Dog parks are at their best when uncrowded; as a little piece of world to play in, not a pressure-canner of trapped canine energy.  In effect, the dog park's main value is to voluntarily exclude any people who are scared or intolerant of dogs.  This allows dogs and dog-people to enjoy each other's company without fear of offending those who can't read the body language, or are less adapted to joyful chaos.  When there are not too many people at Wheaton Labs, any empty parking lot has much the same function.

I have a hard time imagining a dog park, especially in an unfamiliar place, feeling like a "backyard" to a dog.  Definitely not the "my backyard" feeling of serene routine, where the dog would remain calm and confident they are in the right place for their owner to return.
It's hard to imagine being able to leave any dog in such a paddock, unsupervised, during the first month of their stay, unless only one dog was present and they had their familiar crate/kennel.  "Doggy day-care" works mostly because of highly-skilled supervisors and well-socialized "regulars."

It would be like convincing yourself that an airliner or auditorium was your bedroom, because the ceiling is the same color.

-Erica
 
paul wheaton
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I am proposing that we have several "paddocks" and there is one dog per "paddock".  Much like how dogs are left alone in a back yard when people go do stuff.


 
Abe Coley
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Paddock shift combined with this:  https://permies.com/t/63461/Fukuoka-Seed-Turds
 
Michael Cox
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My dog would hate being left in an unfamiliar fenced paddock while I went off to do jobs. He would love a space to gallop in and chase a ball for half an hour or so.

On the other hand, he will happily stay in "his" crate for hours while I work, if he is nearby. Dogs near their owners are more relaxed.

When I work in the woods his crate is in the back of the car, with his bed in it. If I'm doing something dangerous - like felling a tree - then he goes easily in the crate until it is safe an appropriate for him to come out again.
 
Sean Pratt
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I have read over this one a few times and every new post gets my wheels turning. I think Erica is onto something regarding the dogs being in something the owner provided . If we build junk pole paddocks there not enough at base camp so junk poles have to be trucked in. who pays for that ? if the person does the labor can i expect they will show up early just to set up a paddock for there dog? what do they do with there dog while they build the paddock. can i expect a unsupervised dog to not eat the fence? so now it does. who fixes it ? ect. ect.

what i am getting at here is this is a can of worms revolving around trying to make dogs less of an issue. my gut feeling is saying that to make it the least work for everyone and the smallest headache i should be responsible for my own animal. furthermore if someone has an issue with a dog and they are not the owner of the land they should probably  go take that up with the dogs owner and those two should work things out. just my two cents cant wait to see what the end result is.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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A lot of times dogs and animals make a place feel more lively, more alive, even more cozy or familiar, and we are missing that a bit these days. Paul and I both like the idea that dogs can be here AND we want to have things work out well for everyone. (Well, most everyone, any way!)

The thing is, as the property owner, Paul could be liable if a guest's dog bites or irritates another guest. Plus, we have students coming who are paying for an intensive (or so we plan/hope) learning experience at one of our many workshops. Will the dog impede that experience? Maybe, maybe not.

(By the by, we don't allow dogs or cats inside the Fisher Price House, because it's already bearing the weight of extremely heavy human traffic - we don't want to add any animal traffic or dander.)

I think a "dog park," as Paul is envisioning it, would be paddocks, or, kennels/dog runs, outdoors, where dogs could be safe, shaded (we hope), contained separately (mostly) so that dogs are safe, people are safe, property is safe, neighbors are safe. If we already had so many paddocks that some were abandoned or not in use, that would be ideal for the start of a dog area. However, we are still in the infancy of base camp paddock construction. Sigh.

As Michael and Erica pointed out, it's true that this kind of set up could likely stress dogs to be in a new place, away from their "pack," but there are dog kennels that provide this type of service all the time. Not everyone has their dog crate trained or are able to bring said kennel or crate with them.

Erica wisely points out that shade is an issue at base camp. We're planting trees as fast as we can - really we are! (As long as both wild and domestic critters - yes, even dogs! - don't eat them, we'll have more shade soon!) Erica also wisely points out that humans and equipment might take up the choicest shadiest spots here. That is pretty much our mode these days - we have a lot going on!

Sean has a good point about the junk poles at base camp - he knows the property well! It's a limited resource at the moment. So that means folks building some kind of dog run/dog park area at base camp might need to get extra creative. 

I've been trying to write this reply for over an hour now because I SO enjoy dogs (and the people who come with them)! I'm overthinking it, clearly I am. I figure if we spell out the property issues clearly and thoroughly enough, dog owners can adjust as needed and know what will or won't work for their dog.

Maybe they'll bring black locust seeds to feed to their dogs while here, too, for the seed turds.


 
Sean Pratt
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I definitely spend to much time thinking over the content of this thread. I never gave it legality much thought. This gives more credence to my mindset that people are more issues than dogs :p . Not even sure where to start with that subject. I guess that's why i believe in "club insurance" for people who get injured and think they should call in the law .just kidding.... mostly....
 
paul wheaton
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If we have dog paddocks:

- some people would keep their dogs there right from the start.

- some people would keep their dogs there when other paths didn't work out.

- some people would keep their dogs there 24/7

- some people would keep their dogs there for just an hour or two here and there


When people ask "can I bring my dog?" then the answer is "yes."  and if there are any issues, the dog can hang out in a paddock.



A paddock would probably be 30 feet by 30 feet.   Or maybe bigger.   And there would be a dry shelter in there that would also house some sawdust buckets and a dry place to put kibble.    There would be trees and shrubs in there.  A person could put a tent inside of there for people storage, or just outside the paddock.

Dog poop would get a heavy dose of sawdust. 



It is a tool.  It makes it so there is a solution for people to be here with their dogs. 



 
Michael Cox
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We stayed at a huge and busy campsite recently that -unusually- allowed dogs. All dogs had to pass a "tummy tickle test" before being allowed on site, and the staff reserved the right to say no at the gate. They had a few dedicated areas where dogs could gallop off lead freely (big fields, not small pens), but otherwise they remained on leads, tethered in their camp area.

I was dubious at first, but it worked well.
 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
Mike Oehler's Low-Cost Underground House Workshop & Survival Shelter Seminar - 3 DVD+2 Books Deal
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