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From: Saysfaa (
Subject:         dog park incident question
Date: September 24, 2008 at 9:13 pm PST

I took Chammy to the dog park, it is a half mile long by maybe a quarter mile wide with a meadow down the middle and woods on the sides and a lake at the far end. Not that the setting matters, probably, but I just wanted to convey that it isn't a fenced in yard type of thing like the doggie day care.

Anyway, after Chammy had played with all the dogs and the lake for a while we started back. A basset hound started back behind us. Chammy had already played with him a little with no problem that I noticed, but not much as he was mostly playing with a whole pack of basset hounds (different people, they started back 5 or a bit more minuets before us.... they were out of sight up the hill and around a curve of woods).

Well, Chammy was greeting all the dogs we met, and sniffing at the edges of the path as she usually does, sometimes ahead of me and sometimes behind but always within easy call distance. She was behind me when the basset caught up to her and started with asking her to play. She backed up a little and looked for me but he was between us. She got very unsure (for her). The basset kept getting in her face and roaring, but I really thought he was asking to play.

I went to Chammy and she hid behind my legs (she NEVER does that for dogs, maybe for really scary new sudden noises but never for dogs). He still didn't stop and I got in his face just a little to keep him off of her.

His person was right there, she kept saying, "He is okay, he just wants to play." She called him a little, but he didn't pay any attention to her.

Now, I am a big fan of letting the dogs work it out and Chammy has been to lots of doggie daycares and dog parks and I take her everywhere I can, so she has met literally hundreds of dogs and never had any problems. She bosses some and is bossed by some and leaves some strictly alone and plays with most of them. But, this felt really different, she was giving all the signals that she wasn't playing and was getting more and more submissive and he wasn't reading them at all.

I felt like he might be playing but she wasn't. Would that have been appropriate to tell his person?

I guess I'm posting this more because I'm a little more upset by what happened than I realized than because I really need an answer to that question.

Is there anything else I could/should have done? Afterwards, I thought maybe I shouldn't have gotten in his face even the little I did, but I've seen seriously attacking dogs and I'm sure he wasn't, I'm sure he was just trying to play with her... for one thing he was coming back from some hard playing with the pack of bassets.

That pack is another story... I'm learning all kinds of things about dogs these days. We caught up with them (there were about 8 or 10 or so), and they funneled Chammy into the middle of them, and then wouldn't let her out. They weren't mean about it at all, but she didn't like it. Their people said they always pick up a few extra dogs on the way in and the way out. It was an informative lesson on how established dog packs work. Chammy wasn't upset by them, so thankfully she didn't generalize from her previous incident. She didn't like being in there once she realized she couldn't just walk out but it was an annoyed thing not an upset thing.

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