As someone who takes many dogs, including my own to dog parks, this used to be the question on my mind when walking through the gate. Now, I realize I’ve been asking myself the wrong question all along. The real question is, are these responsible pet owners at this dog park?
First, I am not alone as a dog owner who does not want every rambunctious dog to tackle my pal when we’re entering the dog park. Yet, so many pet owners are not paying attention to their dogs but rather talking with other people in the park, on their cell phones or taking a nap on the bench!
Once inside the park, this is a time for owners to be on heightened awareness, watching their dogs interactions and controlling their misbehavior. Unfortunately, more times than not, dog owners with a dog who has over rambunctious, bordering aggressive behavior is either distracted or in denial that their dog is about to create a bad situation.
There seems to be more distracted people with poorly socialized dogs who lose control of (or make no effort to control) their pets. These people, who often have a cup of coffee in one hand and a cellphone in the other (and a leash in none), chase haplessly after their dogs who run to greet, tackle, or pick a fight with another dog. Occasionally, as the chase or attack occurs, the people yell their dog’s name and, in turn, the words “My dog is friendly!” Ha! Really people?
By this time, it’s usually too late. The next thing you know, people are scrambling to damage control and often times sadly, a dog gets seriously hurt. Sometimes, even people who try to stop the attacks.
Just this weekend, at one of the so called “friendly dog parks”, I witnessed an owner with a highly charged and aggressive dog, sitting and chatting with someone while his dog went after and attacked 3 different dogs. I watched him sit on the bench, laughing at this, like it was amusing instead of frightful.
One by one, pet owners leashed their dogs and left the park. As I did the same, I looked back to see the wrong person and dog still inside the dog park.
Come on pet owners, show a little respect and awareness. A dog park is a place to bring social dogs. Not aggressive dogs. Dog parks are a place where the dogs get to play and interact, not the owners. Owners, you’re there to make sure all dogs have a great experience playing, socializing and exercising. Do it for yourself on your own time!