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Learn How to Speak Dog Saturday at Virginia Ave Park

The Virginia Avenue Park Partners community group is hosting a special pop-up “Tail Talk” workshop 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Virginia Ave Dog Park (900-1098 L St. SE). You can finally learn how to speak dog at this “Tail Talk” session on “What’s in a Wag?” conducted by Courtney Sexton, a PhD researcher in animal behavior at George Washington University.

As in any city, DC dogs and people co-habitate in oft-times tight spaces. In this environment, being armed with even a basic understanding of how dogs communicate could reduce stress on the animals, and help to avoid confrontations with neighbors and other members of the community.

Winner of an Awesome Foundation DC Grant, “Decoding Dog Talk” is a series of planned pop-up “Tail Talk” tables at dog parks and recreation areas across the city where residents will be provided with free information, diagrams and mini-demos to help them get a grasp on basic principles of canine communication during dog-dog play.

Visitors will learn that there are lots of ways to “hear” what dogs are trying to tell us —and each other— even though our furry friends don’t generally use spoken language.

Towel and blanket donations for the Humane Rescue Alliance will also be accepted at the event.

Courtney Sexton is a long-time DC resident and third-year PhD student at The George Washington University Department of Anthropology’s Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP), where she studies the coevolution of humans and dogs. Her research focuses on nonverbal communication and behavior, and links between domestication and behavior.

This educational outreach project is intended to empower people to play a more active role in increasing the quality of life for the dogs who bring joy to so many in our community by being more educated neighbors and guardians.

This is the first session Sexton is conducting in DC. The first was originally scheduled to take place in March, but then: pandemic.

The event will be an open table demonstration talk for a couple hours, so smaller groups can come and go to learn. Masks and social distancing will be mandatory. Rain date: Sunday, Oct. 4th at the same time and place.

This event is organized and hosted by the volunteers of the Virginia Avenue Dog Park Partners community group, an all-volunteer community member team who helps maintain the dog park, from cleanings, to refilling poop bags, to hosting events like this. Get involved by joining at bit.ly/vadogpark or donate to support dog park supply purchases at: https://paypal.me/VADogPark

“Decoding Dog Talk” is made possible with support from the Center for Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, Awesome Foundation – DC Chapter, and the Humane Rescue Alliance. Learn more by visiting the Virginia Avenue Park Facebook Event Page.

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