Let’s talk about dog park, kids. Why? Because most people who go to the dog park know nothing about dogs, refuse to learn anything about dogs, and cause problems (generally, for their own dogs).
So I’m going to review some realities of the dog park many people don’t realize/ignore:
Your dog is going to start a fight.
I don’t care if you dog’s breed is Sweetie McDocile, it’s name is Cupcake, and it was born when the King of Kindness had a one night stand with the Goodness Fairy. That little asshole is going to start a fight at least once. I don’t mean they’re going to start a fight every time they go to the dog park. That would be bad and you should probably stop going. But if you go consistently, it’s going to happen. It’s a reality you need to accept and be prepared for, which is why you should always watch your dog. Do not sit there on your phone. Do not bring your friends and gossip in the corner. Pay attention to your dog. Or everyone will secretly judge you. I know I will.
Another dog is going to attack your dog. And that doesn’t mean it’s a bad dog.
If your dog is going to start a fight, then any other dog there could also start a fight. Some dogs are aggressive and shouldn’t be there. Some are just having a bad day. Sometimes playing goes too far and a fight starts. You need to be calm and you need to forgive the dog. EXAMPLE: I have a bruise the size of my hand on my thigh because I was bit by a dog on Tuesday. I got bit when the dog attacked Azlan and I tried to break it up (which I should not have done, I know this and I made a mistake. Shame on me.). The dog attacked Azlan because Azlan pushed him off a black lab this other dog was humping. I didn’t panic, the owner didn’t panic, and I stayed at the dog park and became friends with this dog. I gave him pets and he gave me kisses. Life goes on.
Dear Lord, you need to learn the difference between fighting and playing.
Some dogs play rough. Some dogs bark when they play. Some dogs growl. Some dogs tackle, or jump, or nip at ankles, or do a million other things. Again, it is important to not panic and look at the situation objectively. If you react to everything like it’s a fight, you’re going to stress out your dog, the other dogs and make everything much worse. No matter what is going on, you cannot panic. You can be forceful and confident (I encourage you to), but DO NOT PANIC. If you panic during a fight, they will fight harder. If you panic when dogs start to play rough, they will continue to play because you’re exciting them and now you are playing too and everything is fun and playing and you’re making it worse. Dogs are very sensitive to your moods and panic and fear will never help. Stay calm, stay confident, trust your dog and the other owners at the park. No one wants anyone to get hurt.
You have to let your dog learn how to say “no”.
This is going to be the advice I give other owners before they tell me to “Fuck off, you bitch.” Because Elena plays rough, but she’s a powderpuff. If a dog growls at her, or stops running, or barks, she backs off. She plays rough and we’re working on it, but she’s not aggressive in anyway. She isn’t going to start a fight (except for the one day when she does, see above) and I play with them enough to know that it looks a lot more painful than it actually is. Anyway, you’re dog is going to get beat up. It’s going to panic and look to you to defend it, but if you want to go to the dog park, you can’t do that. Keep them from getting hurt, makes sure no one is being aggressive, but you have to let them learn how to defend themselves. You have to let them learn how to say “no” without being aggressive or getting scared. And it’s scary if this is your first dog, but it’s necessary and important for them to learn these lessons for them to play well with other dogs. And I walk the walk. I let Elena get beat up and never help her, because she still has to work on this (Azlan has already learned this lesson). And she’s getting better (and also, I’m not getting run over as often. It’s really a win-win).
At the end of the day, it’s just important to make an attempt to understand how dog behavior works and always attempt to remain calm and confident. No one wants anyone to get hurt. Dogs are as unique and different as people and you need to take that into a account.
Also, leave my dogs alone, they haven’t ever actually hurt anyone, ya pansies. Rant over.