Sunday, November 13, 2011


Germantown dog park

After Laddie was attacked in the holding blind at a trial this spring, he showed some signs of dog aggression on a couple of training days. He had a lot of socialization when he was a puppy, and I thought it might be time for a refresher. Therefore, we've been going to dog parks a few times a month for the last few months.

Today was typical: a well-socialized but rough-housing Pit Bull, a speedy young Weimie wanting to get Laddie's bumper and play keep-away, a grouchy Shibu Inu growling and baring her teeth at Laddie one time, a Shepard and a BC interested in the bumper for short periods, a growly Golden in a pinch collar more interested in shadowing Laddie than getting the toy.

I watch Laddie like a hawk, but it's been weeks since I've seen any hint of aggression from him. He pesters the females, parades his bumper in front of as many people and dogs as possible, engages in sniffing and chase rituals with new arrivals, shows good obedience skills in the face of major distractions, and is becoming increasing more interested in playing with me than activities with other dogs.

When Lumi was a pup, Renee and I took her to the dog park frequently. She had some regular doggie friends, became a sublimely adept diplomat, and then, after a few months,  she gradually changed. A time finally came where she just had no interest in other dogs, all she wanted to do was play with me. After awhile, we stopped bothering with trips to the dog park.

I think I'm seeing a similar trend with Laddie, though I'm not sure.  Even more,  I'm not sure this kind of socializing will transfer to being around other retrievers in a field training scenario. At least I hope it's not doing his field work skills any harm.


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