Saturday, April 14, 2012

A dog park day of playing, sniffing, and yelping

Alanis explored the park.

Time for a sniff-fest

Sheila the groomer brought her Airedales.

Miro and Rummy introduced themselves to each other.

Then they played. The park is built on a slope, making it difficult to keep the ground cover (hog fuel) in place. Soon we'll be raising funds for more work on the park, adding names to the donor board you can see in the background.

That's Miro with Lupe walking toward the action.

All the big dogs ran, played and sniffed until some people came in with a small dog who threw a wrench into the works. The small dog, Stanley, had a particularly piercing, persistent yelp. He kept yelping and leaping at the larger dogs' faces until there was a big pile-up of wrestling dogs. People waded in to break it up before the excited dogs forgot their manners and somebody got hurt. This happened a couple of times. There was an even more dangerous pile-up when some larger dogs rolled a small Sheltie onto her back.  I said to Stanley's owners, "You know, there's a small dog area and several small dogs here today. You could all go over there and be safer." They shrugged me off.

It's important to note that none of the dogs were aggressive; they were simply getting excited, just like children. How many times have you seen childrens' games end in tears when no harm was intended?

Soon after that, I gathered my dogs and left, hearing Stanley begin his yelping again at another part of the park. 

I wrote once about a large dog scooping up small dog by the harness and carrying it around (park rules ask that people remove harnesses).  Being on the volunteer group, I've received reports of other problems between differently sized dogs, usually on sunny days when the park attracts lots of visitors. Differently sized dogs who get along fine at home or in small groups encounter a changed dynamic at a busy dog park or a doggy daycare. Every dog daycare I've seen separates large and small dogs for safety reasons.

So my question is: why do so many people persist in putting their small dogs in the large dog area, even when they can see it's not working out? Is it OK just because the people happened to be alert enough to stop anyone, canine or human, getting hurt?

I'd really like to see your answers. Scroll way down to the comment section.


  1. Looks like they had fun at the park! I'm glad no one was hurt. I don't know why they didn't just take their small dog over to play with the other small dogs, that was strange of them. Even though none of the dogs were being aggressive, a small dog could still easily be harmed playing with a bunch of excited big dogs.
    Accidents happen. Accidents can happen so quickly that there isn't any time for anyone to stop it before someone's hurt. I think they should've gone to the small dog area, because it's better to be safe then sorry.

  2. I answer your question with a quotation: "The same reason why people do anything: because they're STUPID!" Homer Simpson said this in answer to a completely different question, but it has endless applications.

  3. By the way, that is not meant as a serious answer. What I find apt in it is its application to all those cases in which one cannot bring oneself to try to understand something that someone else does because one is so irritated by it that all one can think of it is to attribute it to stupidity.

  4. Ugh. People do that in our dog park as well. I have absolutely nothing against small dogs, love them, in fact. But I feel a tremendous sense of responsibility when they're running with my great big dogs. If anything, ANYTHING goes wrong, my dogs are going to be blamed for it, and those little dogs are NOT going to be the ones that come out on top.

    It also annoys me when owners of little dogs are so amused that their little guys are so easily able to intimidate my larger ones. Hello... they've been TRAINED, relentlessly, to not eat your small dog. They are afraid that they are going to be reprimanded and don't know what to do when the little dog is jumping on them.

    When someone brings a little into the enclosure, I usually just leash up and leave rather than deal with the stress of trying to keep everyone safe.

  5. Well I have small dogs, and large dogs, and when we rarely visit the dog park in the city we go to a park with just one run, all sizes. Another park does have a small side but it is extremely ultra tiny and used by no one. The fence is also so small that my pugs could practically jump it. That said we are really careul at the dog park and I keep close tabs on my guys. The dog park is a pretty infrequent stop for us these days, but when we do go we do exercise extra caution.

    urban hounds

  6. Dog parks can be alot of fun, always someone new to meet!! We are going to follow along, Bark on by and say hi over at Brando and Bogart!!

  7. Sure all of them were having lots of fun there!
    Hmmm... until that small doggie came, right?
    Some humans are the ones who need to show their good manners!
    Happy weekend!
    Kisses and hugs

  8. What fun!

    Stop on by for a visit

  9. I've never been to a dog park and it sure looks like tons of fun to me!

    Love ya lots,

  10. We don't go to a dog park but it sure looks like Miro and Alanis have tons of fun there!

  11. Looks like a very nice park. Not sure why folks don't stick to the rules. Maybe it looks like more action is going on with the big dogs??

    Critter Alley

  12. Found you on the Saturday Blog Hop and I'm glad I did. Love your blog. My Mommy has a bumper sticker that sez 'We stop for Dog Parks'. BOL!

  13. The dog park looks fantastic. I remember when it was just being constructed! :)

  14. We so agree. We have seen it happen, so many times. We avoid some public dog parks for that reason and stick to the places and parks where we feel comfortable.

    Wyatt and Stanzie

  15. Gun with Callista and Windsor&Lambert(c*t) in Ada, MIApril 24, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    We have a great dog park, Shaggy Pines - has been voted first on the lists of parks in the country a few times - here in Grand Rapids, MI. Our park is a members-only with electronic gate, only accessed by card. Shaggy Pines has a fenced space for smaller/shyer or older dogs and in this space we also have a wooded'remembrance' area with a brick patio and some seating. Many bricks bear the name of a loved pet who is now at the RB. I have my Ursula du Bayou and Paddington there and I go with Windsor and Callista to say 'hello' when we visit the park.
    However, we do sometimess have the same problems with small dog owners. This happens mostly with week-enders, hardly ever with regulars who come during the week. Of course, the week-end dogs are already excited to the max as they don't get to go to the park very often and have to cram as much fun into the time allotted as possible.
    We do have a clubhouse which is staffed the whole day at the week-ends so we have not had anything really nasty happening.

  16. Gun, how nice to hear from you. I think membership helps create a group of people who will care for the park--or at least donate toward its care. I wish we could do that.

  17. Your dog park looks like lots of fun!

    Big Nose Pokes
    The Thugletsx