Saturday, November 26, 2011

Chou Chou at the Dog Park

My puppy needs more socialization with other dogs. I was told that she enjoyed playing when she was at the dog resort while I was gone. The weather is still nice, so I took her to a dog park a couple blocks from my house.
It's a very basic place. No grass, just gravel. And along the edges near the fence there are weeds. I didn't learn until the evening when I brushed her that the weeds contain burrs; her paws were covered with stickers.

There is a section for big dogs and a smaller section for little dogs. Chou is a big puppy, somewhere in between the two. I put her in with the larger dogs.

It appears that big dogs see her and gang up on her; 3 or 4 were doing this at a time, with their teeth bared aggressively, and  Chou was on the bottom, on her back and submissive, until I pulled her out of there. Labradors, a standard poodle, a German shepherd. 

Are there certain dogs who get picked on at the playground, like there are certain kids who get picked on? She's the only fluff-ball, and maybe the big dogs see her as weak? Plus she plays like a puppy. She struggles against them, but she does not go after them. 

The young male owners of these dogs say their dogs are playing; they say, "Hey, she's having the time of her life!" or "They can work it out," but it looks too aggressive to me. The dogs don't let her up and if she gets up, they go after her again. I wanted her to run, not get tackled and pinned down. 

So we changed dog parks. It's much farther from my house (35 minutes) but it is very large with 3 sections, there is grass, no burrs or weeds, there are concerned dog owners, and even a volunteer docent. 

I don't care if I seem overprotective to a few people with big dogs; I will keep Chou Chou safe. When she got jumped on by the big dogs this time, I took her into the small dog section. The owners of the little terriers and toy breeds looked at me with skepticism, but they saw how the big dogs had jumped her and invited her in. 

She was happy. She is very people-oriented and went up to each person to say hello. She watched the little dogs scamper around. A chihuahua challenged her, barking, and then took off, with Chou running after; when she got close to the chihuahua, she veered off to the side and let it go. And when a little dog got tired of her, it ran under a chair and Chou couldn't get it out. 

She was playing well with the little dogs, some as fluffy as she was, and the chihuahua owner was thrilled that her dog was getting good exercise. 

Then we went into the medium-sized dog section. Here she was more timid, watchful. She needs more playtime with other dogs. ("I don't know these pups. Not sure I trust them. But I liked that chihuahua!")

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