Sunday, January 14, 2007

"He's not aggressive... just annoying"

We took Tomokee to the Mitchell Park dog run today, where he had a grand old time. We took Tomokee to his first dog park visit several months ago, when we visited the Mountain View dog park. On that first trip, he was deathly afraid of everything, especially of the "ooh, fresh meat" greeting party of dogs that welcomes every incoming dog. On our second visit, we started him out in the small-dog enclosure, where he made friends with a min-pin, then set him loose in the main run, where he became wing-man to a beagle. By the third visit, he was a dog park pro.

Tomokee loves to run fast and hard with the other dogs, and Mitchell Park has a larger area for running. Unfortunately, he does have the annoying habit of sharply barking at other dogs if they don't want to play with him. As another dog owner said, "he's not agressive... just annoying".

Tomokee is well trained on recall at home, but not so good when he's out having too much fun. We thought that waving a piece of fresh hot pizza would guarantee that he would come when called, but that's not practical at a dog park. Instead, we brought along a silent dog whistle, which has never failed at home. Sadly, the whistle had no effect at the park (although we think he did turn his head once to look at us). To add insult to injury, several other dogs came at sat at our feet waiting for treats when they heard the whistle. Oh well -- more training is clearly needed.

The whistle didn't work, and we didn't have any pizza, and Tomokee can easily out-run us, so we didn't know if we could round him up to go home. This issue was resolved when, during a vigorous run, a dog in front of Tomokee stopped and Tomokee didn't and t-boned the other dog's side with his head. This actually stopped play long enough for us to leash him up and go home.

A good time was had by all, we think.