4.28.2006

Showdown at the Dog Park

Over the course of the last couple of months, we've become pretty regular visitors to the local dog park. Its a great place to let Nande stretch her legs for real. And a chance to get some social time with other dogs.

Or sometimes not as the case usually is because she's the queen of fixation. And her fixation is for me to flip sticks into the air for her to run and leap after to catch in her mouth, most of the time in mid-leap. She's really quite good at it and we've had trips where she's only dropped her stick three or four times.

But sometimes, when we first get to the park and she's turned all way up to 11, pinned to the end of the dial, she gets some ya-yas out with the traditional sniffing, yipping and playing around with the other dogs that happen to be there.

And somedays there are some good sized pooches running about. There are three regular Great Danes as well as a whole bunch of next size down hounds that Nande fits in with. Big dogs who play kind of rough.

On our last trip to the dog park there was a big Newfie/Sheepdog looking mix charging around that I'd not seen before. She was a big dog. I'd guess 130 pounds plus at least. And she was asserting pretty aggressive dominance over every dog that came within her sphere. Nande was one and the Newfie growled a bit and sort of bum rushed Nande from the side. Well, one thing led to another and there were teeth being bared in kind of short order. I got Nande away from the pack of dogs, admonished her and figured that would be the end of it. But the Newfie came out of the group of other dogs and made a charge towards Nande and me again. By this point, I was looking for this dog's concerned owner coming to get this overly aggressive and pretty damned uncool hound.

But he was nowhere to be seen and I really didn't feel like letting things escalate. I could tell the Newfie was thinking more attempted dominance over Nande but I stepped in front of her and shouted for her to fuck off. Loud enough for her owner, who was waaaaay off in the corner of the fenced in area talking on his cell phone. He made his way slowly down, never getting off his call, never apologizing for his dog, just saying "She's just saying hello", to which I responded "Dogs don't say hello with their teeth bared." And he spent a while sitting with the Newfie on a leash while he talked.

Eventually he set off on a walk around the perimeter path, still talking on his phone. I found out from a couple of the ladies that were there that his dog had been bullying other dogs before I got there. Not cool at all and the next time I see him or the dog, I'll let him know that he's gotta be alot more hands-on or his dog's gonna get him sued. Or worse.

I ended that trip to the dog park with a couple of laps around the perimeter path on my bike with Nande running with me. I'm teaching her how to stay up with me and not make me wreck so I can start taking her with me when I go riding. I mean, when I go riding again.

Now if I can figure out some way to gracefully ask people to keep their dogs from trying to put the humpty dance moves on Nande all the time. Even the little fellas can't resist my pretty girl. Its almost funny.

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