This weekend Christopher, Emmy, and I went to my cousin's first birthday party. My Auntie Mary brought her dog Sparky, whom Emmy has met before. They played together so well that I was embolden to take her to the dog park after our run yesterday. She has been so well behaved on our runs when she meets other dogs on leash as well that I figured that it was worth a shot. I decided that I would take her for the entire run before looping back around to let her into the dog park. I wanted to get out some of that energy so that she would be less nippy around the other dogs. We always pass the enclosed area on our runs. Because it was Mother's Day, there were only a few dogs in the park. As soon as we got in and I took off her leash she strode about five feet in front of me and sat down, waiting for her frisbee to magically appear. I did not bring her frisbee. She gave me a look as if to say, "Well then why are we in here?"
So then I went and sat on a bench because I wanted her to learn to play with the other dogs. Thankfully the other dogs were very calm. Emmy would sit by me on the bench and then go sniff about ten feet off and come back. The other dogs started to become curious about her and would slowly approach her. She did beautifully with this method of socializing. It wasn't until two giant boxers came into the park and started sprinting around. I have to say, these boxers were huge. Our neighbors have boxers who would look dwarfed next to these behemoths. At first, one of the boxers almost ran into her and she snapped at him. It was time to go. As I was getting her toward the gate, another one of the boxers was running full speed and almost knocked me over. My feet pretty much came out from right under me. My legs flew up and my left hand went to the ground. Thank goodness for all those years of gymnastics. If I hadn't jumped to the side he would have taken out my left knee and I would have been down for the count. Emmy came running back over to me and sat on my foot and looked up at me like, are you okay?! No wonder she snapped at the dogs. They were like wrecking balls!
Today I'm going to try the same method. We will run and then loop back to the dog park. There are usually a lot more people at the park during the week. Even if we just stay in the park for two to three minutes, I think that I can slowly build up her anti-social/mean dog habits. We'll see. What I have to keep reminding myself is that not all people get along, so why should all dogs? Emmy clearly did not get along with her cousin Ruby, but she LOVES her cousin Potatoes. She also gets along with a few other dog friends, all who are boys. What a flirt. So I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as far as Emmy-quirks go. Hopefully she will be able to go to to the dog park and be a well behaved, friendly girl. Wish me luck!