We had a horrible night at Bark in the Park.
Ossian was being sweet and loving on two college girls who had came over to pet him. He loves all people but he just can’t get enough of the girls that make a fuss over him. We were all so happy laughing and chatting and loving on Ossian, that I didn’t notice a dog (about the size of Ossian) walk by. And by walk by I mean probably 8 feet or so away.
Well Ossian did, and he took off after the dog. He was attached to my chair but pulled hard enough that he knocked over the picnic table in front of us, including the girls beers and caused a pretty nasty bruise on my leg. He didn’t reach the dog…but made a huge scene and it was fucking embarrassing.
It makes me feel like a horrible dog owner.
When Ossian turned 4, he went through a phrase we called the “jackass phase”.
He wasn’t able to go anywhere on leash without lunging at dogs his size or bigger. (I guess we started to believe he was Koda’s size)…so there were quite a few dogs we’d walk by and he’d think they were bigger.
I started learning about leash aggression and worked hard with him…but it did not seem to help. So we stopped taking him places where he had to be on leash. Then he started acting out at the dog parks. It would be random. (All dogs have bad days, I know this but he was moody most of the time.) He would even growl at young females that were small like 15 pounds. He has never attacked a dog. We won’t allow this. But he would growl and run up to them. So we stopped going to the park for a while.
After our park sabbatical we decided to try it again.
He was now almost 5 years old, and we were hoping he’d grown out of this jackass phase. Please note he has never had an issue with any human it was just dogs.
This time at the park went well. The only time he showed any aggression was when he growled at a great dane…who was much bigger. We started looking at the dogs in the park before going in to make sure there were not any “bigger” dogs that he may feel inferior to.
I guess we thought his issue was that being the runt and weighing only 86lbs for a saint, was hitting him hard in this jackass phase. (During this phase, he stayed at his daycare that he had been going to since a puppy.) The owners would always tell us they have never had an issue with him. So then we thought: okay he is being protective or feeling our stress levels escalate when larger dogs come into a park or when we were on a leash.
So we started trying to keep our emotions calm when larger dogs would come into the park, or when walking by a larger dog on a leash.
It seemed to help.
When he turned 6, it was like none of that had ever happened. He was nice and started playing with other dogs, including big ones. We could go to places like pet expos and walk on a leash close to other dogs and he would greet them like a gentleman.
We were estatic, his jackass phase had ended.
And as I write this, he is trying to suck up to me by laying his head on my lap.
I just dont understand. Is he back in the phase?
Should we not take him places?
Should he be a home body?
I wanted my boy to experience everything possible in his lifetime. I work hard to find dog friendly events to let him go and explore and meet new people. But he does this tonight and I feel like I failed as a pet mom.
I am just sad and depressed by the whole thing.