Updated: Sep 24, 2020
One of my favorite and least favorite places to take Athena is the dog park. She absolutely loves going to the park! It is an excellent way to both exercise and socialize. Another neat thing is all the other dog parents, a whole other little community of dog owners/parents. I loved that we mainly knew each other's dog's names rather than the owner. I talk about this in the past tense because we recently moved and are exploring new dog parks where I haven't quite established the park's community's feel/type. The dog park can also be a great way to get recommendations from other owners, but it is essential to remember that trainers and veterinarians are the experts.
Athena loves to play with other dogs. She mainly likes to chase. Chase the ball. Chase other dogs running. Chase people who run. When she was younger, she would do the wrestle type play. Athena no longer plays like this often. It is always interesting to see her favor some dogs better than others, which brings me to my next point: Why dog parks are my least favorite place to go.
Not all dog owners are attentive to their dogs or bring a dog that has a history of aggression. This can be a massive disappointment to the owners if nonaggressive dogs. Don't get me wrong. I am a Dog Lover. However, I don't want anything to happen to my dog, nor do I like it when she's scared of individual dogs due to their behavior. She's a big playful shepherd. It takes a lot of aggressive bullying to make her fearful. It is hard not to feel like a mom when your dog is yelping in pain because another dog pinned them to the ground by the throat. Luckily, Athena is not afraid of dog parks, just that dog. But it saddens me that she now hides behind me or the bench, which she has never done before. Maybe I would understand if this was an isolated incident with this dog, but it wasn't. As much as I don't like to criticize other dog parents, some owners don't care that their dog is aggressive or don't see it (maybe blind love). It can be challenging to tell someone to leave, and you don't want to have conflict. I have left a dog park many times because owners write off the dog's behavior as normal. As unfortunate as it is, it's not worth mine or my dog's safety to stay.
So, dog parents, if you feel unsafe, it's best to leave. Safety is always first. On the bright side, the dog park community can be great for socialization for you and your dog as well as a great way to get the zoomies out. I am a firm believer that 90% of destructive behavior is related to too much energy. Therefore, check out your local dog park but always remember safety is first!
Thanks fur the read,
The Pawsitive Writer