The thought of taking your furry friend to the dog park can sound like a dream. You long for the summer days where you can allow little Fido off the lead to run, while you gush about how sweet he is to fellow dog owners. There is, of course, the other added perk of being surrounded by dozens of other dogs from all breeds, the idea makes you just want the lie on the grass and let the dogs frolic over you, doesn’t it?
But what happens when your dream turns into a bit of a nightmare? Here are some common dog park dramas which all dog owners have experienced:
You find yourself walking on a minefield
A minefield of poop that is. Sadly, not all owners seem to understand good etiquette. Which includes cleaning up little Fido’s messes, no matter how gross it is or how squeamish it makes you feel. The worst thing about poop in a dog park, is that there is going to be a cocktail of poops from all shapes and sizes. Inevitably they will end up on your shoes and in your furry friend’s paws and no one wants that scrubbing job! It’s worth mentioning it is illegal and that you can get fined for not cleaning up your dog’s poop, so if that isn’t incentive enough – always clean up after your dog!
You meet dog owner royalty
Or at least that is what they seem to be telling you, your local park has turned into a meeting at Ascot. It is the same tale as two mothers conversing over their love of their child and their immaculate parenting skills, like a competition. Some dog owners may be judgemental or disagree with your dog ownership techniques and it can put you in a bad mood very quickly. In this case, remember what your mother told you about not retaliating. There is no such thing as a perfect parent after all, just do your best and me mindful of your dog’s behaviour and ignore the whispers – ‘haters gunna hate’ right?
It turns out the dogs aren’t actually playing
But they looked so sweet and like they were having so much fun! But now there is barking, snarling and all sorts of strange noises you never thought dogs could make. It seems like a re-enactment of Hamlet, even more so with such a large audience commentating at the event. Despite your wishes, if you do not own the dogs yourself, there is not much you can do other than approach the owner and protect your own. If it is your dog however, best get them on the lead, apologise and disappear into thin air, these things just happen sometimes!
The parks turned into a circus
You’re sitting on the bench in the sun, enjoying the day with half an eye on your little treasure. When suddenly – is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, an over energised dog has been let off their lead and is making sure to cause havoc in this new territory. Owners are tripping over dogs, dogs are forming a conga line behind Mr Zoomy over there and you don’t know how to respond. It’s easy to forget that though it is common to let your dog off the lead in a dog park, sometimes a dog will turn up who acts like a three-year-old on Christmas morning. The best you can do is just approach with caution, make sure your angel is okay and hope it all calms down soon. And please, don’t let your dog off a lead at peak times if their behaviour upsets others.