January 10th 2010 8:32 am
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Hi, Pep's mom here. Ok, as you can see from Pepper's last entry I have relented and now throw the ball for her at the dog park. On the visit she refers to we were not planning on the dog park but ended up there due to lack of a proper leash. We were planning on a fetching session and so I did plan to throw the ball for her a bit and go.
I intended this to be a one time exception. But have realized it is not realistic to expect her to only socialize at the dog park. There are always balls laying about, she is too insistent in bringing the ball to people and there are too many willing ball throwers at her disposal.
I wanted her to play with other dogs at the dog park rather than fetch because I thought she might be forgetting how to play and interact with other dogs. But perhaps she is just growing out of that kind of puppy play. I see no unreasonable fear or aggression in her and no problems in her dog to dog interaction. So what was MY problem?! Don't fix it if it ain't broke!
She does seem to have learned some doggy manners in all this. She picks out a ball that becomes HERS. She then brings it to another dog owner. She ONLY fetches when HER ball is thrown. This seems really smart and polite to me. But then maybe I am just anthromorphizing?
I have discovered that my reluctance to throw the ball for her has created a dog that actually now prefers to interact with strangers. I realize I created this preference (and a certain neediness). It can be a little embarrasing when she brings the slobbery ball up to people who don't really want to throw it for her. However, that is actually very rare. Most people are very good natured about it and will comply with her very obvious request. At least I think they don't mind!?
Now I am trying to get back in her good graces and get her to bring the ball to me, at least some of the time. Ah the problems we humans cause with our good intentions.
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That's okay, Pepper's mom. You just keep working at it and you'll both be on the same page in no time! It sounds like Pepper is a good trainer!