Airedale dog visits the social dog pack at the dogpark
For regular visitors to a dog park, this photo will garnish a knowing nod.
Social dogs in an off lead dog park, look forward to greeting each other and ‘exchanging phone numbers’ by a sniff or two. That is how they meet and socialise. The sniff of the anal gland giving far more information about health and general body dynamics than many vets can ascertain in a few minutes.
Airedale’s seem to have a reputation in public of being a little snobby or off standish. It is true that given little socialisation they, as can any dog, easily revert to fear and lack of social skills. Perhaps certain dogs attract certain owners who are less likely to take their dogs to the park, who can tell.
The point about this photo and this dog blog is what is NOT scary in the photo. I saw this airedale doing all of the right things as it approached the pack. He waited and kept a slow wagging tail, letting dogs approach him from the front and side. He was social and could tell that my pack was social. No dog had anything to fear and everything to gain from meeting with a new dog. That is how socialisation gets reinforced and the chance of a dog misreading a situation and acting out of fear diminishes.
This whole interaction took about 30 seconds before the airedale dog ran off to his teenage owner who was playing a ball game on the oval with their friends.
It is great when a dog gets to this level that an owner doesn’t have fear of what their dog may do wrong to get into a fight. That the dog can hang close to where the owner is, and still enjoy approaching dogs on even footing. Not being tied up at home or at the park. Sure it wasn’t the same as an actual pack walk with dogs in the dog park, but it was a great half way alternative.
Only my pack who were finishing their migration pack walk, exploring as one whole, could know the difference in the experience they had, and the satisfaction that they had gained. That is why my pack were all so much more confident at meeting this new and large dog, than the airedale was at meeting them. Yes even with the pretty high level of confidence, the airdale still showed a slight hesitation and reservedness. But then again, the average owner would not know or see this in their dog, so they wouldnt even know what was missing from their dog being complete.
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