Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dog Park Etiquette

Dog park etiquette

I take my dogs to the park every day. It’s not one of those fancy
dog parks, mind you, where the regulars congregate daily and secretly
judge all the other dogs against their perfect pooch. It’s just a park,
but it does provide ‘‘poop bags’’ and plenty of open space for
tennis ball chasing. And dogs like it. The problem is, their owners are idiots.

OK, not all owners are idiots. But many are.
Take today, for instance. This morning I was walking my two
very large dogs -- a rottweiler and a lab/pit bull mix -- on one side of
the park, deliberately away from the parking lot and a chance for a
run-in with anyone. My dogs are friendly, but they’re big, and I try
to keep them away from stran gers -- human and canine -- at a
public place, for everyone’s protection. So there we were, play
ing ball and minding our own business, when some dopey dog
owner drives her Suburban tank into the parking lot, lets her
leash-free, large, aggressive dog out, and then proceeds to talk on
a cellphone while her dog charges across the field at mine.
Stupid. Dangerous, too. If you’ve ever witnessed a dog fight, you
know what I mean. Then I spend the rest of our formerly fun outing
trying to shoo the stranger dog away so no one gets hurt. If I
wanted a doggie playgroup, I would have had one. Luckily, I
convinced the other dog that it’d be in his best interest to leave us
alone and go back to his oblivious human. But our peaceful outing
was ruined. Grrrr.
Next is the inconsiderate, rude, disgustingly selfish, igno
rant dog owner who completely ignores the ‘‘poop bag’’ station,
watches his dog take a giant dump right in the middle of the
soccer field, and then walks away. Um, excuse me. Sir? I’d rather
not have my son Johnny land in your dog’s pile of poop while mak
ing a slide kick at practice this afternoon. I don’t know, maybe
that’s just me. There’s nothing that irks me more. And when I
see it, I say usually say something to the dog owner (and get a
snarly response in return). I just can’t understand how someone
can be so inconsiderate of others, and lazy too. There should be a
law against it. Oh, there already is? Maybe the police should en
force it then.
And then you have the owner who can’t control his own dog.
Granted, we’re all a little helpless when our dog decides he wants
to roll in that pile of dead animal guts (ick!), or when he needs to
run crazy for 30 seconds to get out his excitement while we pa
tiently wait. But for the most part we should be able to tell our dogs
‘‘NO!’’ if we don’t want them attacking the little terrier across
the field, or if we want them to stay with us and not visit the
town landscapers 200 yards away. If not, maybe the public
park isn’t the place to be taking your dog.
I know, I sound kinda like a grumpy old dog owner. And maybe
I am sometimes. But it’s only when a stupid or inconsiderate
human decides to ruin my favorite time of day: playtime at the
park with my dogs.

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