As promised, I want to tell you about our recent trip to the dog park! Even though I wanted to go last night, I had to take Aaron to bowling, and it was too dark and too cold by the time I got back. To make up for it, I gave her an egg on her food this morning!
We went to the park Wednesday night, despite the darkness, and there was an all new crew there for Sammie to play with. While she can enjoy making new friends, it takes her a little while and she stuck pretty close to us. About 20min. after we arrived, a woman came with her two pups named Winnie and Chloe. The owner was super nice, and she said her dogs love to run, too! We were excited and hoped they would all hit it off. While Sammie immediately took to Chloe, she wasn’t so sure about Winnie, and neither were we. Winnie was very vocal – unlike Sammie who barks to get another dog’s attention or lure them into play, this girl would growl. Of course, you hear growling and you immediately think the dog is being aggressive, but I’m still not entirely sure that was the case… Either way, Sammie didn’t take to it well and would run back to us, the other dogs right behind her. As a result, as soon as she got close to us, she felt the need to protect us and would lunge a bit, trying to intimidate the other dogs away.
At that point, everyone would break apart and do their own thing, Sammie joining Aaron and me on our walk along the track. Since that’s not the kind of exercise she needs, I tried to encourage her to play by jogging around in the grass (can’t go too fast ’cause she likes to cut you off!), Sammie loping along beside me. However, with the other two dogs still at the park, that just caused problems: Winnie and Chloe wanted to come and join us. Instead of it staying light and fun, Sammie went into protector mode – again, not in a harmful way, but in an intimidating fashion, like “leave my girl alone!” At that point, I would go back to towards the watering hole and benches where everyone likes to congregate. We thought they might eventually work it out, but the tensions seemed to grow the longer we were there, so we just left.
I wish I knew more about dog behaviors and could read them better. I think even if I could, it would have been difficult in the dark. If I sign Sammie and myself up for obedience training/lessons, is that something that they teach as well? I think it would be very useful in these kinds of situations!