That one dog who ruins it for everyone

A peaceful alternative to the noisy dog park: lying in the grass by a ball field while Rob practices flying a drone.
A peaceful alternative to the noisy dog park: lying in a ball field while Rob practices flying a drone.

Dog parks are risky for reactive dogs – all dogs, really – but we’re lucky to have three off-leash areas that aren’t usually too crowded where we can manage our well-socialized dogs. We leave as soon as a small, uncontrollable child arrives, or at the first sign of an unstable dog.

We tend to rotate between these three areas. I was thinking about taking the pups to one of these tonight, instead of the same exact walk we went on yesterday and the day before.

Perhaps the one that’s close to a new Poke restaurant in town. Oh, but no, I don’t want to go there because that’s where the weird lady with the reactive long-haired shepherd goes. (If your dog doesn’t like other dogs, maybe don’t bring it to an off-leash area where there are other dogs. People are always asking if our dogs are friendly. No, they eat other dogs. We just brought them here for a little snack. How does yours taste?)

And we can’t go to the Good Dog Park, because that’s where that dog goes who lifts his upper lip when Leo chases him chasing his ball.

Worse is the Bad Dog Park, monopolized during all the afterwork daylight hours by this ponytailed dude and his spazzy dog. She’s an overly friendly dog who runs up and wiggles against everyone. She gets in Mia’s face. When Mia snarls and tells her to back off, she gets in her face again! She has this crazed energy that infects the whole park, and if I’m feeling particularly empathetic, I can imagine that this guy gets home from work and his dog’s been cooped up all day, so he spends his entire evening with her at the park or else she whines and chews stuff. Except, he doesn’t even play with her! He lets her run rampant while he 1) chit-chats with other owners, usually women, or 2) naps on the bench. And you just know he thinks it’s wonderful she’s so friendly!

So, each of our parks has one (1) dog that ruins it for us. Of course, we’re probably ruining it for someone else. But hey, all of this will be moot soon as we lose daylight and will be walking them around the neighborhood wearing headlamps.

Published by Kari Neumeyer

Writer, editor, dog mom, ovarian cancer survivor

9 thoughts on “That one dog who ruins it for everyone

  1. Yeah, I hate all those people asking if my dog is friendly when I’m walking him or her on a leash. My dog is leashed, so we’re all good. But I don’t like to talk to the dog people, so I say my dog is “shy.” Really, it’s just me. But the creepy old men don’t seem to be saying their dog is friendly – they seem to mean themselves. So I figure I can do the same. If they push it, I say we’re vicious. If only my dogs would stop wagging their tails and looking friendly!

    1. I guess I’m a hypocrite, because sometimes I do say he’s not friendly when he’s on leash. (Although I should just say he doesn’t like strangers). But in the off-leash area? They’re either friendly, or I think they’re friendly, or I know they’re not friendly, in which case I’m not going to tell you the truth when you ask me!

      1. I think my dogs like strangers, but I’m the one that wants to be left alone. I’m there to enjoy my dog and not all the strangers. But you’re right, pretty soon the walking paths will be deserted. When the snow is up to their bellies, it seems cruel to take them for walks.

  2. I stay clear of dog parks. Too many “stupid” people who have no idea of how their dog reacts or how to control their dog hang out there. Something bad is just waiting to happen in these types of situations. It’s just the luck of the draw as to which crazy dog you may run into there with an ignorant owner. Some have gone for years with nothing happening and then one day……..

  3. Saturday I spent the afternoon at a puppy pool party (County pools closed this weekend and turned them into pup pools) with 200+ of the most well behaved socialized dogs ever! Jaxson had a blast. Perhaps because there was a “fee” to bring your dog – it became a deterrent to those whose dogs aren’t truly social. It was a wonderful time.

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