Major success #1
Luckily, as I was hoping, the small dog portion of the park was vacant. The park is essentially one large grassy area with a steep hill (it's in a valley between mountains), and the small dog park is just a small, fenced off portion of it. The fence is chain-link, so Dolce could soak up all the commotion without having to be part of it. It only took him 15 minutes of CU exercises to be comfortable. I was floored. I didn't even know if we'd make it into the big park today.
I let JoJo into the park. I am so lucky to have such a wonderfully social, rock solid dog. Meanwhile, I just held Dolce in my arms. I let him soak up being in the park from the safety of Mama's height. It worked like a charm. I walked slowly, and he just observed from my arms nice and calmly. When we got to a part of the park that was pretty empty, I let him down. He ran off to sniff and pee and poop. Eventually, we were approached by a friendly lab. Dolce was a little snarky at first, but quickly warmed up and greeted with rear end sniffs. This continued for the next half-hour or so, and his snarks became less and less.
I can honestly say that before we left, Dolce seemed comfortable and happy among all those dogs. There were probably at least 2 dozen dogs there, of all shapes and sizes. He made friends with a mini Aussie and a mutt his size -- both males!
Major success #2
To my delight and shock, Dolce was fine with Oliver instantly. He never once barked or growled at Oliver, they had a very friendly rear-sniffing greeting, and that was that. I've always had a suspicion from our encounters on walks that he's more comfortable with puppies -- I think this confirms it.
Here's a snippet from playing with Oliver:
I love seeing Dolce play like a dog.
And here's a little training Pam got in with her dogs + Dolce.
Order left to right: Lily, Oliver, Bella, Dolce.
Dolce did three amazing things here.
1) He shared food nicely with other dogs who were also getting food.
2) He sat patiently for his turn and wasn't grabby.
3) He gave Pam his undivided focus among intense distractions!
We next got to play with Pam's jumps and practice our agility exercises. Alas, my jumps are not here yet. We also got to show off some of our tricks. Dolce is getting more comfortable performing on grass. :)
So that was our amazing day. I'm so proud of him. I can't wait for him to get his CGC!