Socializing a dog and dog park etiquette
I adopted my yellow Lab Lucy about 3 months ago. She had been a breeder at a backyard breeder's. She is sweet and mellow, but was wary of strangers. Not a confident dog. I worked on that with her, and slowly she is more confident and less tentative of strangers.
She maintains a wariness of children. I've been working on that, too, but it is way harder than with adults because children are unpredictable and sometimes unrestrained in behavior.
Lucy gained alot of confidence by being around other dogs AND the people with them. It's like magic. I took her on long walks with a friend's dogs, and she absorbed their confidence as we spent more time with them. At the dog park she is very friendly to the people there. So it is great for socializing her with people.
The dog park does not allow children there. There is a sign saying so. But there are often children there. If the children are calm and ignore her, she is friendly and approaches them. I ask the children who are more attentive to her to ignore her and let her approach if she wants. I supervise the interaction to make sure it is a positive one for her. For the most part, being at the dog park has helped her become more comfortable around everyone.
Which brings me to today. I took her to the dog park to socialize, and she was comfortable and calm. Then a mother came with two children, one a boy who was active. While I was taking to one of the people there, she alerted and started barking. She never does that.
I saw that the boy was walking around jerkily, swinging his arms literally 360 degrees in the sockets, like a whirligig. Lucy was watching him and started (fearful) barking again. The mom looked at me because my dog was barking at her child. I told her that Lucy was fearful of him because he was he was swinging his arms
So she tells her son that he's scaring Lucy by swinging his arms.
And what does he do? He stops, then starts swinging his arms to get a rise out of her. I waited a few seconds, to see if the mom would do something, but she did not.
So I left.
What am I supposed to do in that situation? I was very annoyed. As I approached the gate (a football field away) he was still jerking and twirling his arms.