There was quite a scary incident that occurred at the park last weekend, and it left everyone a little shaken up. I've been thinking about it all week long, and my conclusion is that it's time to make some changes around here. The bottom line is this: somewhere within the past 1.5 years, the dog park has become less enjoyable for Claire. Whereas she used to love going all the time, it's now a 50-50 toss up. Her needs have changed. She tried to tell me, she really did. I'm just a little slow sometimes. But after The Incident, it clicked, and I finally get it!!
So here's what I have decided to do. She still adores her time with her friends at Bark-O-Lounge (as in: she waits patiently by the door while I'm getting ready in the morning), so this is going to become a Monday-Wednesday-Friday deal. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will continue our long walks in the morning and at night. And on the weekends, like this one, we will run errands together, hang out, go walk down to the field by my house and play fetch, do some training here and there, and go for a hike or two. Stress free and fun quality time for both of us!
This weekend was our trial weekend without time at the park. Yesterday morning, poor Claire was visibly stressed out and seemed a bit depressed. But as the weekend carried on, she became happier and more relaxed and decompressed than I've seen in a really long time. It may be too soon to tell, but so far, it seems like a change is what Claire needed. And seeing her happily wagging that tail is exactly what I needed.