Mr. Tee’s story continues. Raymond (in the red fleece) socialized him for 2 months. Invited by Raymond to join a ‘playdate’ this morning we witnessed, for the first time, the great fun T and dogs like him can have together. Also, I learned a great deal about the power of the pack.
The pack at home, or, our 2 dogs are polar opposites.
I have known it in theory, but it finally hit home when I saw Tee playing rough with 4 dogs at a time — running, chasing, play-biting, performing roll-overs (to show that he’s means well and fun). This went on non-stop for an hour, and would have continued, had the off-leash hours been extended. Mu, in contrast, only plays one-on-one, 5 minutes at the time — and it took her at least a year to come to that point. He’s bold, confident, rough young rascal who wants to play with every dog; she is a gentle, dignified and even shy, well-mannered, human-focused lady. His biggest problem is over-excitement; hers was fear and separation-anxiety.
It’s been a learning curve to realize that we need 2 very different sets of skills to have a balanced pack. But it’s also clear that Mu and Tee teach one another. She has started to play much more (in the age of 10); he listens to her and gives her space.
The pack in the park, or, the healing power of those alike.
Raymond told us a few months back that there are few dogs who couldn’t be off-leash, given that their owners/handlers understand the circumstances. Today he proved it. Saturday mornings are the craziest in Prospect Park, hundreds of all kinds of dogs off-leash. However, the area is big enough for monitoring the play and retreating from dogs that don’t seem to match one’s own.
Also, witnessing a group of 8 pits (as well as a few other very athletic, bold dogs) playing together was an eye-opener to how dogs that are alike can help one another to socialize and be nice. That just looks different than play by Yorkies.
And Raymond taught me something even more important. He noted that we all should form an informal group and meet (those who can) in the mornings for play at the same spot. He stressed that as pit owners, we have the responsibility to provide our dogs with right ‘friends’ to play with, and to advocate for the breed by keeping them from harm’s way. He rightly pointed out that dogs are animals and conflicts, even fights, will happen sometimes. But we, as a pit owner group, will learn to know the dogs in our group, so we can understand them all better, as well as in a case of an incident solve it without drama, as a learning experience.
Lucky, lucky us for Raymond and for our new Prospect Park posse. Also, lucky me to have such a brave, fun, and active, strong dog who was able to learn and rehabilitate himself, with the help of the packs.
PS: This is Mr. Tee, after a total of 2 hours of walk, and 1 hour of non-stop play.