So now that Zenzi has had her final round of puppy shots, we went to the dog park for the first time together today.
I will begin by saying that she was a superstar. She fetched her bumper obediently and happily, always brought right to my feet and/or hand, and waited relatively patiently for me to throw it again. She even sat first. She didn't mind any of the commotion, watched interestedly as a parti poodle fetched nearby, and was totally cool about everything.
The other dogs at the park, however, were either fine and minded their own business, or totally rude. One young GSD mix came over and chased Zenzi around while she was fetching. She didn't mind -- just ignored him, because don't you know, it's all about the game? But he began to get frustrated with her playing hard to get. I had to push him away several times before his owners, sitting on a bench not too far away, FINALLY got up and got their dog.
Then, at the other end of the park, a large GSD mix and a very large pit bull got into a gruesome fight. While the pit bull's owners (who were NOT at fault) were cleaning the dog's wounds, the idiot GSD mix's owners came over to inquire about the pit bull's condition. They brought the dog with them, and attempted to let the dogs meet again. Of course, the GSD mix went off AGAIN, and the owners were told to leave the park by a friend of the pit bull's owners. They refused, so the pit bull left just as Zenzi and I were calling it a day before it got too ugly.
I really think dog parks are an excellent idea, but the ones here are just nasty. Every time I go, the park is pretty crowded, and the owners are clueless about their socially rude or even aggressive dogs. It's such a temptation, because the principle is so great. However, we will NOT be revisiting that park. This is terribly sad, because it's literally five minutes up the road from where we live. We'll have to drive the 20 minutes to the Laguna Beach Dog Park. We've had much more success there during off-times. Unfortunately, you have to pay for parking there.
So our first trip to the dog park was a bust for the principles of socializing a dog with other dogs, but a win for practicing fetch in a new, highly distracting environment.