After some more not very successful encounters on the canyon trails this weekend (i.e. barking at strangers and snarling at other dogs), we decided to step up the socialisation process a notch and hit the dogpark today. We were apprehensive, and yet everyone behaved impeccably, just as we know they can. So why don't they? Largely the lead issue probably, and the feeling that they are not in control, combined with a need to 'protect' us. So we went to the dogpark twice, once with problem pair Louis and Daisy and then again with 'easy' pair Bertie and Roxy. The results were amazing. Four happy dogs either ignoring other dogs and people, or socialising appropriately with other dogs and people. Louis let the side down a bit with a couple of snarls at other dogs, but dogs, being the smart creatures that they are, read his signals a mile off, accepted them, and left him alone. No problem. The owners were all very cool as well, and there were at least 40 dogs in the park and probably as many people. When we went to leave and put the dogs back on their leads, hot and tired, they even walked past other dogs and people without batting an eyelid (unheard of). This is our ultimate goal! Suddenly it seems a lot more manageable, and relief is one of the most powerful reinforcers of all.