"The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's." – Mark Twain, Letter to W D Howells, 4/2/1899

Dog Park Adventure: Zed Steps Up.

%22What is that... thing?%22

I’m not a huge fan of dog parks but…………..

We were invited to a dog park session recently and my wife took Honey but I thought it might be a bit much for Zed so I intended to not take him.

At the last minute I took him because I did not want to set him up to fail without giving him a chance to take a step forward. We turned up after the others and walked around the outside of the fence for a while before we went in.

I wanted to check out the vibe before letting him loose.

I had the feeling that people use the dog park as an excuse for not walking their dog so it is not surprising that dogs turn up at the park with a lot of pent up energy and sometimes aggression.

Also it is obvious that dog owners don’t keep an eye on their dogs and only intervene after a fight breaks out.

All of these things happened while we were there but to my amazement [and pleasure] Zed handled it all very well. His body language said that he was a bit stressed but he was handling it. He did not show any agression and as long as he could see me he was fine.

I didn’t push my luck and we went for an on lead walk around the parkland nearby after having stayed at the dog park for about twenty minutes. It’s obvious that bigger dogs like the park much more than the little dogs do, generally speaking. Honey had the worst experience when my wife lost sight of her for a moment and a little girl chased her around the park trying to pat her. Sounds hilarious, I know. Honey REALLY does not like to be patted by little girls! I laughed for quite a while when my wife described her pursuit of Honey and the little girl.

My advice is always take a moment to work out what the mood in the dog park is before going in with your dog. The mood can change very quickly, as we saw on our visit.

A woman brought her powerful dog into the park and in the blink of an eye everything changed. She kept apologising for her dog saying that he had not gotten out much lately! Great, a powerful dog that is frustrated and you bring it directly to a dog park. You guessed it, a fight broke out within a minute and then another and another. Time to go!

It was fun [and a bit stressful] while it lasted and it reminded me not to prejudge Zed’s ability to cope with new and or stressful situations. He did well and I was yet again proud of his progress.


The photo above was taken by my talented son on that day.

Photo Credit:


4 responses

  1. Absolutely understand these dynamics so Zed (and you) did really well 🙂 There is a push here to have a fenced in area in our park (most of which is already off leash) but I think it just creates these kind of problems…


    July 20, 2013 at 2:14 am

    • Thank you for your comments.
      I think I understand the whole dog park thing but I cannot help thinking that it is slightly more about the owners, which is ok I guess. I wonder if my dogs were bigger would I feel the same way?


      July 20, 2013 at 2:18 am

      • I’m on tender hooks even with ruby and her size. She is also very submissive so spends a lot of time on her back when she meets new dogs. Agree with you – owners need to be trained and educated too.


        July 20, 2013 at 4:11 am

      • No Ruby doesn’t like big dogs. She is horribly submissive and cowers when she meets new dogs. It an owner thing I think…


        July 20, 2013 at 9:41 am

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