Over time, dog park parishioners are going to witness some exceptionally weird behavior. I’m not talking about failing to police your poo, or shirking responsibility for a humpy or dominant dog. Those mundane matters have been covered already. Today, I’m talking about the surreal and bizarro world of: Dog Park Don’ts!
Don’t be an Oswald Cobblepot. Umbrellas are not recommended since they will drive most dogs to the verge of a Mary Poppins flip out. It may be drizzly, but the temporary shelter that bumbershoot provides pales in comparison to the unnumbered splashes of muddy and soupy Klingons that will be earned during a rainy dog park visit.
More than once I’ve seen a dog park member bring in a chicken biscuit, bacon cheeseburger, or even a bowl of crispy taters. Dogs go bananas over this sort of thing, and I’ll tell you what, if they don’t steal it, I will!
All seriousness aside, my favorite story was when a happy family of three plopped down on the gazebo bench with several Subway sandwiches one afternoon. I stared in disbelief as these hilarious folks began the whole ritual of unrolling each sandwich, pouring the tato chips onto the “wrapper-plate,” and dealing out the napkins (as if they were going to get that far).
The dogs were all over them of course, and the best part was the way the dad tried to shoo those “pesky, disobedient, and entitled” dogs hovering over his cold cut combo. After several minutes of vain attempts to deter the Bumpus-esque swarm of hounds, the family rolled up their sandwiches and stormed out in a big huff.
The Lance Armstrong
Bicycles are a wonderful invention, but don’t ride them into the park. Usually, it’s teenagers that do this. I’ve got nothing against teenagers, I mean, they probably don’t have a car yet (but don’t drive a car into a dog park either).
I always cringe when someone decides to bring their baby into the dog park. They generally roll in with a stroller or are suited up with one of those tactical baby carriers.
First of all, dogs love to jump up and nip at dangling baby feet. They also like to bark, lunge, and otherwise engage in a total freak-out when a screaming stroller comes flapping by.
The serious risk of course, is that mom will do an endo after a group of dogs with the zoomies runs into her shins at 20+ miles per hour.
The Drill Sergeant
It’s annoying when folks don’t pay attention to their dog. Particularly while serial humping, stealing your frisbee, or pooping with abandon. Don’t yell at them, it just makes it worse. Leave and come back later, and while you’re out, you can report them to the Town or let the air out of their tires. They’ll never know.
The Tire Kicker
We all have to try the dog park for that first time but go ahead and take your pup off the leash right away. Walking your dog around the park with a leash on makes it harder for him, and you can’t control the other dogs anyway. Another good tip is to make that first visit during one of the many non-peak times during the week.
The “Maybe” Section
Toys, treats, and chairs are prohibited at most dog parks, and I’ve noticed several other bloggers call these out as big “no no’s,” but it is common practice to bring them anyway.
A key strategy when bringing a frisbee or the famous “Chuckit!” mega ball launcher, is to bring a decoy toy (or two) so you can fake out the interlopers.
Milk Bone treats kept in a Ziploc, preferably in a breast pocket, won’t be noticed by most dogs. Aromatic treats like Beggin’ Strips, Pup-peroni, or deviled eggs are going to be detected, so all I can say is bring enough for everyone!
Several folks I know like to bring those comfy folding chairs because park benches are harder than woodpecker lips and covered with covid breath. Chairs aren’t a significant risk management multiplier, but DO expect them to get peed on.
It can get crazy out there, so don’t be afraid to talk to folks about risky behavior. Be considerate, playful, and friendly – like your dog!
Featured photo – Ruby, Millie, and Nitro by the woodpile. Nitro’s side eye seems to say, “Don’t!”