Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dog Park Etiquette

As many of you know, I have three fur babies. Achilles, my husky, is the only one that picked me instead of my husband to love the most so he is the star of nearly all of my animal stories. This one is no exception. One of our favorite things to do is to go to the dog park on base (for some reason, this city hasn't realized that non-military dependent civilians can have dogs, too). Sometimes we go with his doggie friends. Other times it's just him and me going to hang out. This sad story is one of the latter times and has turned me off of this particular dog park altogether so long as it's just the two of us.

We got to the dog park around 2:30 which is right when it starts to get full of running buddies for Achilles. Around 4, most of the ladies left. Their dogs were tired, and their husbands were getting off work. Some of Achilles' best running buddies were still there so we stayed. And that's when it happened.

One of the Marines showed up with his two bulldogs. His grown up bulldog, whom we'll call BD, is a problem. BD doesn't like Achilles. In fact, one of Achilles' first trips to the dog park ever when he was maybe four months old got cut short because BD attacked him. Achilles was acting pretty skittish so I thought that maybe his fear is what triggered the attack. His fur is so thick no teeth touched his skin so he was completely unharmed.

Flash forward to the present. Achilles turned eight months old on the 14th so he's still quite the goofy puppy. This Marine has shown up with BD and his bulldog puppy heretofore to be known as LP. The five dogs seem to be playing well together until BD and Achilles come face to face. BD once attacked Achilles. The other lady who was still there was the first one to try to break up the fight. The Marine and I start running. I get there first and scoop up my baby away from BD while kicking him away. I high tail it to the holding pen where Achilles will be safe. Once again, his thick fur saved him from harm.

It is with this point in time that I have the biggest issue. Mr. Marine walks up to me to explain how ever since they got LP, BD has started to become overly aggressive towards some dogs (and puppies apparently). This guy KNEW about his dog's issues and still chose to bring him to a place that would have other dogs (read potential fights). He KNEW! BD was even wearing an e-collar, but Mr. Marine didn't bother to utilize it. There was no training or anything. Just a useless explanation that shows he didn't care to remove his problem dog from the situation.

There are rules at the dog park. One of them is that if your dog starts a fight, it is to be leashed and taken from the dog park immediately. Did he comply? Of course not. After all, "it's only with some dogs." Hogwash. If your dog has a guarding problem, your dog needs one on one training to correct the issue. Until such training can be provided, you DO NOT put your dog into a situation that could end in your dog getting put down. That's being an irresponsible owner.

So ya. That's my little rant about dog park etiquette. There are rules to protect all dogs who utilize the chance to socialize at the dog park. Those rules matter. Does anyone else have any bad experiences with dog parks? Or a favorite dog park? How would you react in that situation?