Rocket and I made our first visit to the dog park and we did not experience or take part in Dogageddian . Which of course came as a giant surprise to me as the minute we walked in the gate I began having flash backs and I wanted to pick my dog up and go home where we would be safe and the other dogs would be safe from us .
I haven't been to the dog park since May 30, 2008. I went back and reviewed old entries and I'm pretty sure that the sad, rainy, muddy -yay-we're-all-alone-at-the-park day I talk about is the last day we went. I gave up. The only way Daisy and I could be at the off leash dog park was for Daisy to be on a leash. I talked in several entries about Daisy increasing aggression and how miserable and frightened it made me and how I had to limit her interactions and ultimately stop going to to the park because it just wasn't worth the aggravation anymore. As frantic as the situation it was making me, she never seemed to have a problem and always had a good time, even on leash.
Fast forward to March 13, 2013. The park itself looks pretty much the same, the gate where Daisy got into her last fight was the same, the shed they ran behind to more effectively brutalize each other is gone now and the park has lost a couple of trees and there is a new fence on one side.
There is a new crowd with new dogs and all our old dog friends are gone. Probably, literally, gone, like Daisy. I try to not think about this as I eye the new dogs and their people. They don't know they are new, they think they are old and I am new. I am not new, my dog is new. I was here before the park opened officially and I was there every day for two years. Seven years ago...
Now I'm new again and my old dog is not here. I took Rocket to the small dog park to let us both get acclimated. Rocket seemed okay until some mid sized dog in the big dog park started to bark at him through the fence - freaking us both out. The dog and Rocket ran up and down the fence a few times and the other dog stopped barking at Rocket and eventually I decided that we needed to jump in to the big park because I didn't bring him here to play by himself.
The other dogs barked at him! His little hackles came up and he ran away! I was horrified. He seemed to get it figured out though and he played chase with a few of them until one fuzzy dog took him down. I was again horrified. I had to keep repeating to myself Not Daisy. Not Daisy. NOT DAISY Rocket seemed to like the dogs that barked at him the best! I was like IS THAT AWFUL DOG BARKING AT YOU? DON'T BARK BACK! STOPITSTOPTSTOPIT! MOMMY WILL RESCUE YOU! BE NICE TO THAT DOG! and then I looked around to see which dog person was neglecting his or her animal to the point it was BARKING AT MY DOG! and clearly they were not freaked out to the level I was, dog neglecters! occasionally someone would break from their cell phone to suggest that little Barney or Karma or whatever, "Leave it" or whatever and stop freaking that weird lady out. My dog was fine but I was experiencing agita.
Rocket did okay with the other dogs, he ran and nuzzled and wrestled - all good , except Rocket has his balls and they can lead to dog on dog violence at the park. I've noticed he is lifting his leg more and more and that's a sign that my little boy puppy is growing into a male dog and unaltered male dogs can be a problem. I want to keep taking puppy boy Rocket to the park because its a great chance for him to get socialized with other dogs and people but I'm not as sure about male dog Rocket.
Another positive I saw at the park, Rocket approached all the people very calmly and did not jump or be in any way obnoxious. He acted like a dog gentleman. I left the park happy and relived and he left exhausted. Yay!