Puppy Diaries # 8: Mastering Puppy's Perfect Social Interaction

Dear Diary,

Now that we have dealt with this during the first seven months and have become the eighth month of Sommer, I found that most of my time and workouts are focused around improving her behavior. And by “refinement,” I mean “trying to make her behavior pleasant to other people … and dogs.” I do not add "dogs" lightly. One of the main problems we face is that, although she loves people, she is not so sure about her dogs. I understood She is smaller than most dogs, and, as we all know, this is the world of dog food. However, part of growing up is facing your fears and gaining confidence in the process, right? This month, I decided to engage in social interaction with puppies so that Sommer and I could walk freely and explore the world. Being an eight-month-old puppy, Sommer needs an exercise, so I was excited to put on the agenda a park for dogs without a leash, dates with puppies and pleasant long walks in our area. Boy, I was ever surprised when the events that I had been looking forward to since she became a tiny puppy turned out to be one of the most difficult that I have ever had to cope with!

When friends told me about our local dog park without a leash, I thought that we had found nirvana. I have never visited other dog parks, so I have nothing to compare with, but when I explored it on the Internet, I discovered that it is completely fenced and has an area of ​​18 acres, and hiking trails surround a grove of tall oaks. On that day, when we first arrived, I stopped in the parking lot and counted four parked pickups with an extended cab, which gave me the feeling that this was the place for sporting and sporting puppies who regularly washed pheasants. But I was excited to check it out, and I was ready with my leash bags and poop at the ready. Moreover, I prepared myself to become the borderline between being the neurotic parent of a helicopter dog and keeping a close eye on Sommer.

Unfortunately, what I prepared was not what I encountered. About 15 pounds, Sommer is a small dog, and for larger sporting dogs, she seemed to look like something funny to hunt for. In her first encounter, she was sniffed by a big Goldendoodle, who scared her and began to run in frightened circles, barking at ever higher altitudes. Goldendoodle took off in hot pursuit. The faster Sommer ran and the more she barked, the more the dog chased her. The dog definitely did not give her the message "Stay away, I do not like it." No, what kicked was the dog's booty engine. Finally, I was able to pick her up and take her back to the car.

The next time we visited this place, I noticed that she was visibly trembling, but that was the norm: she was trembling with nerves when we went to the vet, the dog kindergarten groomer and even the pet store. During our second visit, we had fun, but she always seemed on the verge. I liked it because she got a lot of fresh air and exercise, and so did I. During our third visit, she had another encounter with a larger dog, and I began to question the wisdom of our exercises. I consulted a trainer who shook me, saying that under no circumstances should we return to the dog park. She warned that small dogs can become aggressive by being placed in traumatic situations when they are puppies. “Have you ever passed a chihuahua sitting on the owner’s lap, and he automatically bares his teeth and growls at you, even if you didn’t do anything, didn’t even come close to him?” She asked me. I nodded. "This is what can happen if you continue to walk to the dog park." Needless to say, we never returned.

Playdates for puppies were another activity that seemed to be fun, but turned into a difficult adventure for parents. We have a very kind and patient neighbor, who has two mini gold astrakhan, which is about a year and a half older than Sommer. Although they are smaller than Sommer, Sommer’s typical behavior when meeting him was agitated non-stop barking and chase. As if she did with them what was done to her in the dog park. It was tiring, since I wanted to catch up with the neighbor while the dogs were playing, but we could barely hear each other because of the rumbling of the incessant barking of Sommer.

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