Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dog Park - The Parkening

I was going to take Rocket for a walk after work but instead I made us both an early dinner and we watched TV. This isn't good enough for Rocket and so later I made the decision to go to the dog park, this wasn't done lightly.

I still have dog aggression PTSD and any interaction Rocket has with other dogs makes me tense, it gets worse when its interaction off leash. I avoid this.  I have to remember that Rocket is not later years Daisy and he is a completely different dog. He is Rocket Dog and he does not have a bad history, he hardly has a history at all. I took him there once when he was very young and intact and while it went okay, I never took him back either. Today we went back.

The hipsters have taken over the dog park. The hipsters and their unsupervised mid-range dogs that they don't seem to pay a lot of attention to. They sit on the picnic tables and talk about whatever it is hipsters talk to each other about - beards, irony, premature nostalgia... You will notice "where my dog is" is not included in there.  Now, I admit, when Daisy and I would go to the park, I didn't exactly follow her around like I do with Rocket, but there were far, far fewer (much fewer) dogs at the park then and I really didn't need to keep a close eye on her because there were only seven dogs there.

Seven big dogs, big dogs who were comfortable with who there were and they didn't spend a lot of time having to prove anything to each other. There were a handful of  smaller dogs with Napoleon complexes, Daisy decided she really hated one of those, but for the most part, it was easy to tell who was there and how alert you needed to be.  I can't see how they can do that now. I think I will go back though, maybe shooting for a once a week visit so he can run full out more frequently, but we aren't going to make it our second home like it was to Daisy and I.

I guess if you go there a lot you know the dogs and what they temperaments are and how they react to stimuli. You also probably have learned over time what each dogs uses for a  doggy "Hello!" from a  canine "Fuck You" . I have lost that skill, to my unpracticed ears, I hear all barking as bad barking. The other people know the dogs body language and all the different subtle clues to when a greeting is going to turn into a confrontation. I don't speak that language anymore.

I used to know  all the dogs by name. I knew their people at least by sight and I could gauge a situation pretty correctly, now  of course I can't do that and I bet most of the people can't do that either. There are just a bunch of dogs, a few barked  just to bark and a few more seemed o bark at other dogs and that is what makes a problem. I was also surprised that you would get a ring of dogs barking and no one would  call their dog or wade in a grab the dog or do anything to defuse the situation. They were playing Chicken with their pets.  Those clutches of barking dogs can go bad very fast and its best to break them up sooner rather then later and everyone at the park seemed to be in the "later" school of  dog separation.

I wanted to follow Rocket everywhere, if he was more than ten feet away form me I could feel the panic starting. If a dog barked while Rocket was out of my line of sight I knew the worst was happening. What I didn't grasp, is that Rocket is good in groups, he likes groups! Rocket loves Doggy Daycare and from all reports, is a good day care citizen and  is a very dog friendly dog. He likes being in dog groups, and to his small brained doggy stand point, the dog park is just an out door extension of daycare.  Rocket lurves other dogs, he likes meeting other dogs and likes to be met, he wants to be around dogs and he is apparently good at being around other dogs. Rocket isn't thrown into a panic when other dogs sniff his butt, Rocket doesn't hyperventilate when other dogs bark at him, Rocket happily joins into doggy games. Rocket is a dogs dog. Rocket is also a little bit submissive and is not at all an alpha, which probably helps him ingratiate himself with other dogs too.

I also noticed that I didn't recognize any of the dogs. Not a single one.  I started to count back and realized that most of Daisys'  friends from back then are probably with Daisy now.  There weren't a lot of puppies in that first group and some of them were quite senior a few years ago so there is pretty good chance that those guys are all gone now. Which is sad because I liked those dogs, most of those dogs, some of them were assholes - if you think a dog can't be an asshole, spend some time a dog park.

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