Monday, April 14, 2008

Made It To The Dog Park

So Saturday evening I was finally able to get to the dog park, and I have some bad and good things to report. I'll start with the bad, since it happened in the very beginning of the visit, so we'll just get it out of the way. Theo was attacked. He's fine, and it probably sounded worse than it was due to the fact that he's a total chicken sh*t. There were two dogs that looked to me like Min Pins. They were totally obese (their mid-section was about twice as wide as their head. I kid you not, it looked disgusting), which I should have taken as a sign of an over-indulgent owner. I was sitting on the bench while Theo explored the area around it (he never strayed far from me, what a good boy) when all of a sudden I heard dogs growling and my little Theo squealing like he was being murdered slowly. My poor baby! I ran over to see the two Min Pins, teeth bared, standing over Theo, who was fully in the submissive position, crying for the dogs to leave him alone. I was terrified for my little boy. I saw the owner come over too, but she made no moves to stop her dogs, she just called to them in a lazy, disappointed tone, as if they do this all the time, so of course they didn't listen and kept on snapping at Theo. Now I've never broken up a dog fight, and I wasn't sure what to do. I had my "chuck-it" stick, so I plowed it down in between them, trying to use it to pull the other dog off Theo without getting my hands in there. Luckily, there was a fearless woman who thought it was her dog being bullied, so she pulled one of them off right away. Looking back, that's just what I should have done, and next time I'll know to just get right in it and break it up. Ain't no bullies gonna bite up my little puppy!

After the dogs were off of him, Theo bolted to a distance he felt safe, then sat down and pouted. I scooped him up in my protective arms, gave him a bunch of reassuring kisses, and then inspected him for wounds. There were none, as I figured. They were just being bullies and Theo was just being a scaredy-cat. The owner of the fat bullies (can you tell I don't like them now?) at least had the decency to ask if Theo was ok, and then promptly left the park. Good riddance.

After that Theo stayed very close to me. He was scared for awhile, but luckily the other dogs there were all sweethearts, who left him alone, or politely sniffed him. After a few minutes he got over "the incident" and was himself again. There ended up being like four Pugs there at once, and they were all soooo cute! It was super hot, so they were grunting away. Most people seem to think Pugs are ugly and sound gross because of their breathing, but I think it's endearing and I think they're just the cutest! There were some other dogs, but only pugs seemed interested in Theo, and he let them sniff him very calmly, and even sniffed a few butts himself!

Now the way my dog park is sectioned off there is a small dogs area (under 30 pounds), a large dog area (over 30 pounds), and an all dogs area. The large dog area was empty. All the large dog-owning butt heads went into the all dog area! Sure, I can't really fault them for that, but they also happened to be playing very rough. Whenever a new dog would enter, a handful of huge dogs would come bounding up, barking. At one point there was blood on a bunch of the dogs, though they couldn't figure out who the bleeder was. With all that going on I stayed far away from that pen. But Mouth showed up with his three dogs (2 small and 1 large), and we wanted to all play together. So we took over the large dog pen. It was totally empty, so it was great. The 4 dogs got to play together without other psycho dogs picking on them. A few more dogs came in, but they ended up being very friendly (I kept Theo close until I was sure), so we had a wonderful time. Since it was mostly empty I was able to run around the pen without 20 dogs chasing after me, and Theo got to get some herding out of his system for the day.

And by the way, Theo was totally the star of the small dog pen! Almost every person who came in went straight to Theo and asked what breed he was, hold old he was, what his name was. They squatted down to his level and gave him lots of love. That was definitely the part he loved the most. That dog is definitely a charmer!

I think Jenna's advice and apprehension of dog parks came in handy (thanks Jenna!). I still want a place to run him around off-leash, and to interact with people, and a few nice dogs. I've decided that the dog park might be a nice thing once or twice a week, during non-peak hours. If I go early in the morning or late at night when not a lot of other people are there, I think that's when it'll be best. Saturday afternoon (actually it was early evening, but it was really hot, so I think people came after it cooled down) was just too crazy for us. But a time when we can run around and interact with a few others will be beneficial, I think.

10 comments:

Cathy Santarsiero, "The Christmas Corgi" said...

How scary for you and Theo. I found this blog from a Jane Austen post on your other blog. Glad you are all OK...

ivykam said...

Glad to hear that Theo's OK! That must have been a scary moment, but I absolutely commend you for not swooping him away and leaving the park (which is what us less experienced people might have done out of fear of safety)! This way, you let him get over the negative experience, and leave the park on a positive note after having some good interactions. Great job!

Sounds like Theo's coming to his own, I'm so proud of him! I wish some day Bryson and Theo could meet :)

Jenna Z said...

That sounds really scary, I'm glad it ended up being a good experience in the end. But then, I am a VERY over protective corgi mom, to a fault sometimes as my husband will tell you. Sometimes he says I should just let things be but I am a worrier and can only think of all the bad things that could happen. And on a side note from my comment yesterday, dog class orientation went A-OK and I think we're on track with a good group this year! Some BIG dogs though (Tervuren, Bernese, Collie mix, Shepherd mix) so I hope they are all sweeties and we can all just have fun this year!

JuLo said...

Hi Cathy! I'm glad we have love of Corgis, Jane Austen, and art in common! I've seen your adorable Corgi art before! It's awesome! :)

Ivy, thanks! I figured it wouldn't bode well for future attempted trips if we left after only a few minutes. I could tell once the trouble-makers left, we had a friendly bunch left. Now I just know to watch him ever more like a hawk. No doggie gets near my baby without first getting past me and proving their friendliness.

Jenna, Sully is lucky to have such a loving mom. :) So what kind of dog orientation was it exactly? Are you teaching obedience classes?

JuLo said...

Oh, and Ivy, Husband's parents live in your neck of the woods, so I'm sure we'll be up there with Theo sooner or later! :)

Jenna Z said...

Oh, yes, I've been teaching 4-H dog obedience for a few years now. I thought I had mentioned in a previous comment I was anxious about orientation because I had yet to meet our new instructor who was joining us after he other two we had last year quit. She seems very nice and competent so I am looking forward to a good year! Last year we had one problem after another, aggressive dogs, parent problems and some bad blood between instructors. :(

JuLo said...

Yeah, I just wasn't sure what the orientation was for. :) So if you teach it, and there's a new instructor, are there multiple instructors then? The place I go to just has the one instructor, so I'm not sure how that all works. Just curious. :)

Jenna Z said...

Yes, we always try to have at least 2 people there. Because 4-H is for kids it's always good to have at least two people there for emergencies and liability-wise. This year I am teaching the advanced kids at the same time as our new instructor is teaching the beginners. Last year I co-taught beginner with another instructor and someone else taught advanced and showmanship. I'm teaching showmanship this year after our regular class is over.

JuLo said...

Oooh, I see. You're working with kids! How fun! Showmanship, is that where you teach them how to show? That sounds like a fun thing to be involved in. :)

Jenna Z said...

Yep, showmanship is a class for young people (under 18) that teaches them how to present a dog as a handler would in a conformation show. But instead of the dog's conformation being judged, the handler's ability to show off the dog is judged, as well as their knowledge of anatomy, breeds, health, etc. And this year in my advanced obedience class, I'll also be doing a couple of nights on rally and set up some rally courses! Should be fun!