So when we got there today we didn't go inside but instead immediately followed my trainer to the dog park. Now a little explanation. I and some other SD owners would never take our dogs inside of a dog park. It's just too risky to bring our SDs in there. Although our dogs are very well behaved many people have dogs that aren't. If an SD were to be attacked (even if it wasn't super aggressive or causing injury) it could cause them to be fearful, anxious and /or aggressive with dogs in the future. This will wash out any service dog. So then why did I take him to the park today? Well, I wanted to work on his confidence around other dogs so that he will stop the mild growling that he sometimes does. My trainer and I walked Bailey and his brother Liam through the parking lot and would stop at places where we knew we would see other dogs. At first Bailey was very uneasy and would mildly growl when he saw another dog. We asked him to re-focus on us and when he did we rewarded him. We also would use silly happy voices and say things like "what are you growling at silly boy?" so that the dogs would know that they had nothing to be fearful of. By the end of the outing Bailey was much better. When we were getting ready to leave an SUV pulled up next to my van. The driver walked around to the back opened up the doors and six different dogs came jumping and tumbling out the back. None of them was on leash yet luckily they just headed straight for the gate. Bailey looked at this crew with curiosity but he never once barked or growled at them. And he quickly turned away from them and focused on me. I am definitely going to make this a weekly training event. I know soon Bailey will not give a second glance to another dog if I keep doing this exercise.
So after that we headed back to my trainer's house and had some lunch. After that it was play time and I was so bummed that I had lent my camera to a friend and didn't have it with me today. Dara, Bailey and Liam (three doodle mixes) were all playing together. Usually Liam (since he is bigger) dominates the play time and can easily steal any toy from another dog's mouth. Yet today Bailey and Dara joined forces and decided to gang up on Liam. It was adorable the way they kept playfully wrestling him to the ground. It was the first time he had been outnumbered, but he took the beating pretty well and the play session lasted quite a while.They were so cute! A good day.