Monday, March 11, 2013

Isaac's First Trip to a Dog Park

There are no dog parks close to where I live, so Isaac had never been to one before today.  Plus, I was hesitant to take him to a dog park because I've heard so many scary stories of people taking  their aggressive poorly trained dogs there.  I know people who've had their dogs attacked by other dogs at dog parks.  A friend of a friend of mine actually had her dog attacked and killed at a dog park.  How scary is that?

But I decided to try it out.  I think in the future I will try to go during the week and during the day, when it will be least crowded.  But I went on Saturday this time because a friend was going with me and that's when she was available.

It was almost a 90 minute drive to the dog park, which was OK because Isaac loves to ride in the car.  Absolutely loves it.  Map Quest gave me crappy directions and told me to turn left where I was supposed to turn right, so I had trouble finding the dog park, but I finally got there.

Isaac was thrilled just walking from the car to the fenced in area because apparently about a million dogs had peed on every bush and tree along the path.  He wanted to sniff and sniff and pee and pee.  I kept telling him the fun part was inside the dog park but he was like a little kid that isn't interested in their present but just wants to play with the box it came in.

We finally made it into the fenced in area and a bunch of dogs came running over to greet Isaac by sniffing his butt.  He looked a bit intimidated by it all.  He would let them sniff him for a minute, then come over to me for reassurance.  After all the other dogs said hello, Isaac wandered off by himself, sniffing and peeing on trees, benches, the fence, etc.  I had expected him to want to run around since he was off leash but no, he wanted to stroll very slowly, sniffing and peeing as he went.

After a good 20 minutes or so, I guess he's sniffed and peed enough, and then he became interested in the other dog owners at the park.  Not in the dogs, but in the people.  He went from person to person, greeting them, getting petted and told he was a pretty dog, and happily slobbering all over them.  One woman was throwing a toy for her dog, another yellow lab, to fetch, and Isaac was interested in that.  I brought one of his toys to throw for him but he would not even look at it.  He wanted the toy the other dog was playing with.  He chased it a few times when the lady threw it but let the other dog actually catch it.

Finally, he was ready to check out some of the other dogs.  He seemed to enjoy sniffing their butts.  He always wants to sniff my cats' butts, but they won't let him.  The other doggies were happy to be sniffed, though.  For the most part, he behaved nicely.  There were two dogs that he didn't seem to like too much for some reason and he made a kind of snarly noise at them.  My friend said she thought he was telling them that they weren't playing right.  When he did that, I made him come away from those dogs.

Another time, there was a dog about half his size that he ran over to sniff, and that dog seemed very intimidated by him.  The dog dropped down to his belly and flattened himself out on the ground.  Isaac then stood over that dog, further intimidating him.  I made him leave that dog alone, too.

Other than those few things, he did really well.  He ran around a little but not nearly as much as I'd thought he would.

He got really thirsty with all that running around, of course.  I took water for him and was surprised to see that apparently not one other dog owner there had brought water for their dogs.  I had a half gallon container of water, and when I poured some into a bowl for Isaac, the other dogs swarmed around us, wanting some, too.  Isaac looked a little distressed but he did share, which made me feel really proud of him.  I let the other dogs have some water but made sure Isaac got enough.

The dog park was very muddy, but I was kind of expecting it would be.  I was disappointed to see some of the dog owners weren't picking up after their dogs.  I saw a couple dogs pooping and no one was around.  I wasn't sure who they belonged to, otherwise I would have said something.  I think it's really important to pick up after your dog at a dog park.

Isaac was really exhausted by the time we left.  He conked out in the car on the way home.  I was pretty tired myself.

It was fun, though, so we will do it again.  But I'm going to try another park that is a little closer to home and try going during the week when it might be less crowded.

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