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Friday, March 16, 2012

Can You Find Love At The Dog Park... And Other Important Questions

We enjoyed this discussion of the differences between the small dog and large dog runs in New York's East Village that appeared in The Local, an East Village newspaper, and was recently posted on The New York Times website. The differences, it seems, aren't just about the dogs who frequent each run-it's about the differences among their respective owners, too.

                   Photo courtesy of The New York Times

 But we thought this article raised a few more questions that deserved our attention: Parental Unit is frankly stumped (or perhaps just paranoid) about me or any other smaller dog getting attacked by a single dog or several dogs who are off leash at a dog park and aren't necessarily under direct control of their owners.

That's why, in our humble attempt at logical thinking, most dog parks or "runs" as they're called elsewhere, have different, fenced off areas-one for small dogs, and one for larger dogs. But if you read the above article, the author jokes about bringing his small dog to the appropriately sized dog run (small dog side) and noticing that both the dog and he feel a tad out of place (he describes his dog , Chuck, as a "kamikaze pilot [who] blazed around the [park] twice and then tackled a Yorkie." So he decides to bring his pint-sized canine over to the big doggie side, where they presumably both feel more comfortable.

Now we think this is O.K. if you're not the worrying type, and will gladly suffer any possible consequences, like, say, your small pooch being shredded by an out-of-control larger dog. Now, we're not making this up folks, we've read many a tragic tale and so have those who own or manage dog parks-that's why most have established ways (like the use of steel fences) to separate the romping canines by size.

Interestingly, just a day before we read this article, Parental Unit was chatting with her good friend, who at the time, happened to be at dog park with her two toy poodles-both of whom romp only on the 'big dog" side of the park. Our friend was laughing and chatting with the other folks at the park about how cute her little poodles looked playing with the other big dogs...and we agree that this is great, as long as nothing happens. Blessed are they who don't have the worry gene!

What about you, ye owners of small dogs? Do you let your small pooch play with much bigger dogs in a dog park or other off-leash area? We'd love to know your views on this issue!


The Daily Pip said...

Pip's really not had much interest in dog parks so not sure I can comment on this too much. He tends to be more interested in smaller dogs so I guess if we were going to go to a dog park we would go to a small dogs park. However, the only incident we have had with another dog was with a maltese. We were in Wisconsin and both dogs were off leash. Pip saw a fellow little dog and started to approach him. This dog went nuts and attacked Pip. He wasn't hurt, but it scared the heck out of him. I am cautious with any dog off leash - doesn't matter if they are small or large. It's all about the owner and how responsible they are.

Sagira said...

Personally we don't go to many of the public dog parks anymore. Too many people there making bad decisions. We were at one park a few years ago and someone brought in a dog that weighed less than a pound to the BIG dog section. Needless to say it ended very badly and the pup paid the price for their owners stupid decisions with its life.

Two French Bulldogs said...

I like the small dog park, my Lily is petrified.
Benny & Lily

Bocci said...

I guess we don't think it's always wrong to bring a small-ish dog into the big dog section, but we still think it's a risk for all involved. Thanks for the astute comments,you guys!

Cherie K. Miller said...

I live in the outskirts of Atlanta where there are only a few dog parks. Luckily, I have a large, fenced in yard for romping and don't have to take my dogs out in public, where stupidity reigns.

Thank you for the warning for others that DO live in situations where dog parks are critical for exercise.

Enjoy St. Patty's day with your sweeties.

Stopping by on the blog hop today. Have a terrific weekend celebrating St. Patty's with your furry ones! And stop by Pet Peeves to see the Ninja kitties.

Bassetmomma said...

Happy Patty's Day!

Cynthia Downer said...

Our local dog park does not have a separated big dog/small dog area. It's all one fenced in lot. Generally when things happen, its big dog vs big dog. I don't feel comfortable with my lab x around small dogs because he is the "tackle" kind of dog and may hurt them. On the other hand, my boxer x completely surprised me on our first visit. At home, she wrestles with her big brother(who is 30 lbs heavier) and beats him up all of the time. At the dog park, she is uncomfortable playing with large dogs and prefers to play with and follow the little dogs - and she is extremely careful about it. If I had a little dog, I think I would base my decision on whether to enter a park with big dogs on the general vibe of the park that day.. There's a big difference between a rowdy bunch of wrestling, growling, tackling dogs(like my lab x) and a bunch of calm, quiet dogs who are interacting and playing but not necessarily play fighting.

Kolchak Puggle said...

Koly and Fe may be small dogs, but we almost exclusively play on the "big dog" side of our park. In my experience, I have found the big dog owners to be much more aware of their dog's potential misbehaviors and therefore, seem to have a better control of them and the dog's are better trained. I find the small dog owners (at least in my neighborhood) to be more lacksadaisical and inattentive. The attitude seems to be "my dog is too small to be a trouble maker. He/She can't hurt anyone!"

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