Sharing at Dog Park

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So the other day Jack and I were at the dog park. Jack was having a blast running around- barking like the goofy mutt he is… I was standing in a circle of dog parents, talking about, go figure, the weather. Get any group of strangers at the dog park and they’ll normally talk about the weather ( and for a very odd extended amount of time) .. how much can you possibly say about weather in San Diego. It’s the same. perfect. pretty. much. every. day.

Anyway, at one point a couple and border collie were playing fetch- and a great game of it, when inconveniently for them, they caught the attention of Jack and a few other dogs at the park who wanted to partake in the fun. Normally I’m not one to let Jack intrude on activity flow between dog and owner, but Jack was very captivated by this dog and her frisbee… God forbid he or any of the active dogs wants to join in on the fun.

Now this is where I scratch y head wondering if the border collies parents thought this through- Is there a rule that says dogs can’t play with other dogs toys at dog park? I decided to let him play with the collie will I continued my weather jumbo with the dog parents. THEN out of nowhere, the border collie’s parents walk over to our circle and say “Excuse me, whoever owns that reddish dog can you please tell him or her NOT to fetch our toy? We’re playing over here”. That reddish dog, was my Jack…. I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this person serious?”

OK, I’ve taken Jack to our share of  dog playgrounds since he was a puppy. Every now and then I expect to come across an overbearing, uptight dog owner who solely just wants to spend time with their dog and no one else’s. In my opinion these dog owners just as antisocial as their dogs. When Jack and I go to the dog park, we set out to have fun, make some friends and always make an honest effort to respect other people and their dog’s, boundaries. We often accomplish our goal.

I always hate to be one to start confrontation at the dog park, but hey in this situation these people were asking me to tell my dog he can’t play with their dogs’ ball. Frankly, I thought they sounded ridiculous. Newsflash people- it’s not like speaking to a child! I responded to the couple by calling Jack over and sarcastically but politely telling him, “Jack please do not play with their ball. That is their ball, not yours.” Now….. you can imagine what group the humans standing around thought when they heard me talking to Jack in this manner? Yep, crazy. Which is exactly how that couple appeared to look when they asked me to ask Jack to not go after their dogs ball. After I slowly, and very publicly spoke with Jack, the collie’s parents walked away… I was hoping by then they understood how coo coo for cocoa puffs their request sound.

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That being said, I suspect if you plan to be antisocial at the dog park and don’t want other dogs to join in on your fetch of fun – my suggestion is don’t come to the dog park. Anyone who brings a ball or toy to dog park or dog beach should be aware that other dogs may want to play with that toy or ball as well. Even more so expect to possibly not get that toy back, it might get destroyed. Don’t bring an aggressive dog who’s possessive of their ball to the park, as the dog park is a place where all dogs are invited to get alone, play together and share.

While it’s obvious some dogs get in the “zone” with their ball during an intense game of fetch, all humans should be adult enough to not to act like a 5 year old when it comes to a dog toy or ball.  If for any reason your game of fetch happens to get interrupted for a minute or two because other dogs want to join in on the fun, LET THEM!! IT’S not the END of the WORLD, humans! Dogs should socialize, play and have fun together- it’s dog park!

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One comment

  1. […] Before every chapter, we are introduced to a set of “dog rules” that chapter is based on. In Chapter 3 “Dog Park Rules: Dogs over Kids” one of the rules states: “Kids toys are terrible idea at the dog park. We will attempt to take them, we do not know the difference between dog toys and kid toys. They all look the same.” I couldn’t agree more with this rule! I related a lot to this chapter in particular because it was only a few months ago I blogged about wishing pet parents knew how to better share toys at the dog park. […]

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