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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took the puppies to the dog park today. It was a fairly positive experience. Most of the time we were there, both of them ran around with their noses glued to the ground (especially the potty area). We met a 6-month-old beagle puppy and 4 full-grown beagles, which was amazing, since I bet there were fewer than 20 dogs in the park at any point when we were there. Spock managed to find pieces of fruit that someone had left on the ground, then started bothering a lady who was eating sunflower seeds (that's when I took them home to feed them).

Bones ran around and played with other dogs off and on (though most of the time she lost interest after a few seconds and ran off to sniff the fence). Spock, though, would have nothing to do with any of the other dogs besides a cursory sniff to the butt. He ran up to people who were crouched next to their dogs or sitting in order to be petted and to bestow some affection, but anytime a dog approached him to play, he cowered with his tail between his legs.

He and Bones go at it like little fuzzy chainsaw-armed wrestlers when they play at home, but he ran away from one of the few dogs who play chased him today. He actually curled up in a ball on the ground and rolled over, and I saw on his face that telltale dog look that means they're about to get mean and possibly bite, so I stepped between him and the other dog, who got the message and trotted off to find a more willing playmate (he was quite polite, I thought).

Bones may be better socialized to play with other dogs than he is, since he was alone with us until he was a little over 7 months old, whereas she came into a two-dog household at age 5 months. I thought that my former roommate's dog (who lived with us for 4 months) and Bones would help Spock come out of his shell and be more confident, and he is braver and has taken up the older brother role in some ways, but he needs more work to be confident enough to play with strange dogs.

My boyfriend and I have been considering enrolling Bones in training classes at PetSmart when my stimulus check rolls in this week (though Bones is really coming along well, she still needs a bit more discipline); perhaps Spock could benefit from classes, too? It's twice as much, but it might be worth it. Maybe he's never going to enjoy the company of other dogs as much as Bones does; as long as he's not feeling threatened, that should be fine, but you never know what situations your dog is going to encounter, so he should be ready for anything life throws at him. Should I continue to take him to the park if he's never really enjoyed it any time we've been? Any suggestions?
 

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I have found a controlled environment like an obedience class, where all the dogs are on lead and under control, is a much better place to socialise a puppy and younger dog than a dog park.

Younger submissive dogs are targets at dog parks, especially for more dominant dogs. If Spock is timid, the dog park can actually increase his fear of other dogs, especially if he has a bad experience. Dog parks are often accidents waiting to happen, because so many owners can't read doggy language properly and think putting 20 odd dogs together in the one run and expecting them all to get along is ok.

This is a great article about dogs in dog parks, I found it very useful. I generally only take Daisy to the dog park when its empty, I have set up a puppy play date with dogs we know or only a couple of other dogs are there (that I have seen before or know are friendly). Any other socialisation is done at obedience club /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif

http://www.flyingdogpress.com/sayhi.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oh, I think I read that a while back! It's always worth looking over again, and I'd neglected to bookmark it last time I saw it, so thank you for posting it again! /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/eek.gif It's where I learned to step between my dog and anything he might feel threatened by. I think I will talk to my boyfriend about enrolling both dogs in classes.
 

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I agree with Smeagle completely.

Socialization for a timid dog is very important but it must be controlled socialization such as in an obediance class not a "free for all" at the local park.

You never know what is going to happen at a dog park and whilst many dogs can take care of themselves and it's no big deal, to a timid dog like Spock every scary interaction with a dog is a step back.
 
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