Better to be over-protected, or aware, than not aware, as MAC has just pointed out.
Quite point blank, I think poppy is doing great so far. Hats off to you for all you've learnt and achieved, Amy.
I don't think Poppy's up to the protecting stage yet.
Yes she can use you as a shield as stated by both DA and Hyacinth, but you just ignore the fact that she is having to do that. Be aware if she is using other people as a shield in case their dog returns and doesn't appreciate some strange dog cuddled up to their person.
Going to a dog park for a small young dog in most cases is very stressful. When I say watch the other dogs I mean see if there are any scuffles going on, any facing off where one or the other doesn't look like they are about to back down. The dog that no matter what is always the chaser and pins down the other dogs with the owner say he/she only wants to play.
I'm not a lover of dog parks as I've stated many times, but realise that not everyone has a ready made park and pack of dogs at home. I'd wish they'd divide the parks into small, medium and large dogs.
Steer Poppy in the direction of smaller dogs so she can actually have some time enjoying herself. Don't encourage her to run or anything like that at this stage, the other dogs might want to join in/chase her and this would probably scare her at this stage, just let her take it all in and processes it.
Next week my two puppies are off to Doggy Day Care which is operating out of a boarding kennel up the road. I pity the ladies running it, they don't know what is about to hit them. I've suggested they separate them after a short time but they are reluctant to do that. I'll be interested to find out how long before they see the wisdom in that.
Good luck with the dog park Amy.
Sorry to hi-jack btu i think it may help others also,
How do you tell if the approching dog and your dog are going to play nice?
I'm really torn now if its something I will continue to do. Perhaps I will go suring the day on weekends when there are less doggies there!
Most importantly don't approach head on. While this is deemed polite to us it is the opposite in the dog world.
Look for up on toes, hackles, ears forward and erect, teeth, shape of mouth. Not averting gaze, eyes large and round, tail erect and steady. Think proud and majestic.
Also the face gives you the clearest signals.
Putting head and shoulders over the top of the others dogs neck.
All this is fine if one dog is doing it and the other is showing submissive signs - head and body lowered, looking away, ears back. It's when they are both wanting to be the dominant dog that problems can occur, mind you sometimes these are sorted out quickly and easily and at other times a bit of fur has to fly first.
Think two boxers at the weigh in.
For introductions on leash, keep leash loose & relaxed, don't let them tangle, let them circle and sniff each other, not face each off. A dog straining on a collar can be interpreted as the above dominant signals.
Amy, don't let me turn you off dog parks.
As I've said it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation with dog parks. We want our dogs to be social but how do we do that without going to a dog park so that they can continue to develop their social skills.
I think going on the weekend for a couple of weeks is a good thing.
It's also not a bad thing to have a lot of dogs in the park, this way they can generally find a friend of equal temperament, speed, plays rough, plays soft or whatever suits. It's just a big step first time in.
I like dog obedience clubs myself because the dogs are on lead and you can often find friends with dogs similar to your own.
At our club there is fenced areas the dogs can have a romp in after class. A while ago I took a beginners class into the fenced area and sent the GSD and BC into one area and the others into a separate area. After the larger dogs had let of some steam we all joined up and they played together really well.
Maybe I should look into Dog Obedience again! I REALLY enjoyed Puppy Preschool so I think I would enjoy that! And anything I enjoy Poppy does!
How do you know the dog is going to play nice, because it comes screaming up to you but stops about 20 meters out, and then crawls on her belly, inviting your dog to come check out silly dog here, and when your dog arrives, she rolls over and puts her paws in the air while your dog sniffs. When your dog finishes sniffing, she gets up and invites play with a play - bow.
Nasty dogs - approach directly at very high speed, often with hackles up and growling and a panicked owner (if you're lucky) running after. And your dog tries to run away.
Step between your dog and the fast approaching one and stand as tall as you can and ROAR at it "BAD DOG". You have to be bigger, fiercer, and faster. And prepared to take the hit for your dog. Don't try to run, there's no way you can run as fast as most dogs, and it will just think you're a rabbit to be killed. Do something unexpected and step up to it. If it does happen to grab you, you can use "necessary" force to make it let go. Pulling doesn't usually work but pushing sometimes does - dog will choke on your arm and try to spit you out. Otherwise, go for whatever bit you can grab to disable it.
PS, I've always gotten what I wanted by yelling "BAD DOG" and stepping towards the BAD DOG. Scares the hell out of the owners too.
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