We did it! We survived the dog park. Pierogi first visited the dog park last week in the evening. The last dogs were leaving, so she had the run of it by herself. She was terrified of some male dog owners who were leaving the park, and she was even a little skittish around the little puppies making their exit. But she ran in the dog run off-leash and enjoyed herself. She won’t come when called (too many things to sniff), so we have to work on that.
We tried it again early in the morning before it got hot, and the park was HOPPIN’. There were probably close to 40 dogs on the small dog side, and she hid behind me as we entered. About six little dogs ran over to greet her, which was too much for her to handle. We made our way to a quiet area of the run and she was much better. She sniffed butts with a few dogs and sniffed all over the ground. She had no interest in her toy, which a couple of puppies gladly took off her hands. Later, as she grew more comfortable in the park, she decided she wanted the toy back and went after it. That was a little nerve-wracking. Despite her sweet disposition, I don’t know how she’ll react in new situations. That last thing I want is for her to attack a puppy to guard her toy. And what behavior is ok and what is not? Is it okay to growl at other dogs who try to take her toy? It’s tough to tell play from rough behavior sometimes, and I don’t want to become the hated dog owner at the dog run. Looks like we have some questions to ask the trainer at the next session.
She’s been okay so far, playing with a couple of puppies and running around with other dogs. She grabs her toy away, but forgets to hold onto it as she runs away. They take it back, and the battle begins anew. She’s not the brightest pup, our Pierogi. But she’s learning.
Here’s a pic of the little one, ready to battle anyone who dare take her rope toy: