Dog Park Tragedies – Who’s REALLY Responsible?

For as much fun as a dog park can be, is as much a nightmare it can hold. We all love the dog park here but our visits are few and far between. It’s not that we can’t make the time to go, either. We would go several times a week if it weren’t for the safety issues.

The biggest safety issue I’ve seen are not the dogs, but the people! It just absolutely amazes me how people who gush and coo over their dogs, are so proud of their dogs, love their dogs … will then turn right around and intentionally put their best furry friend in a situation where they can hurt or be hurt, kill or be killed! This just makes no common sense to me at all and it makes all of us here at Riley’s Place very angry.

Is it not just common sense that if you put a cat in a room with a mouse, it’s a pretty safe bet the mouse is going to lose? Oh yeah, that’s acceptable because well, that’s what cats do. But if a little dog loses to a big dog under the same circumstances, the big dog is vicious? Hellloooooooooo and noooooooooo! What’s really going on in both cases is that some big animals see little animal as prey!

Why is it that people see little dogs as cute when they are participating in the same behavior as a big dog? Growling, snarling, snapping, or biting is not cute in any dog. The bottom line is that it’s dog behavior, no matter what size the dog. Granted, the end result of a bite is definitely more serious when the dog is a large breed. But a bite is still a bite and a little dog behaving this way should not be excused from discipline or action just because it’s small.

If you use the logic side of your brain it makes perfect sense that both dogs and cats are animals first, before they are anything else. Prey behavior is the same as animal instinct and is something you cannot breed out. Prey drive is stronger in some dogs than others. When a dog is in prey-mode he sees a target, he doesn’t have the ability like humans do to stop and think “is that a little dog or a squirrel?” It’s called prey-drive for a reason!

Let’s take a look at size differences. Picture King Kong holding Naomi Watts, the Abominal Snowman’s footprint in the snow. Gee, lookee there … your little 5lb fluffball fits right in there! Have you ever seen a group of dogs get into a group play session? Now imagine this group is large dogs and they have a tennis ball. What I’m seeing at this point is a professional football team in the middle of a football field, vying for the Super Bowl Title and your itty bitty dog is the the football. The visual translates into the fact that a group of large dogs in the midst of play can easily injure or kill a small dog just by the small dog being underfoot.

Owners of Little Dogs

Are you getting the picture here? You the owner are supposed to have more sense than your dog. You the owner are responsible for the safety of your dog.

Owners of Big Dogs

You big dog owners are not excused! You need to remember and respect the same rules and concepts as the little dog owners. Remember that your dog is potentially the one with the dangerous prey drive and big feet. You may honestly believe that your dog would never do something like that. Dogs are no different than small children who are totally unpredictable at times.

Do not believe for one single moment that your dog does not have the capability to be an animal by instinct if the mood strikes or the spontaneous situation warrants it in your dog’s mind. Dogs and humans brains function in a totally different world!

Big dogs and little dogs should not be together in an unleashed dog park. The environment is to uncontrolled and in many cases the dog owners are not paying enough attention to their dogs. If you’re going to attend a dog park with your dog, you really need to study up on dog behaviors. You may just be amazed at the things you learn about dog behavior in general.

You don’t believe these things can happen? Well, you’re entitled to your opinion, but YOU are the people that need to click and read these links the most:

Additional Suggested Reading

Now that you have some information, if your local dog park does not have safety rules in place, does not have fenced or safe designated areas for different dog sizes, I urge you to contact your park board and try to get something done to change that so that your dog park can become a more safe place for your dog to be with other dogs.

If you are a dog owner who feels they don’t need to follow the rules, you need to think again. What makes you so special that you don’t need to follow the rules? Who are you to put other people’s dogs in jeopardy? There is absolutely no excuse for a dog owner to feel the rules don’t apply to them for any reason. If you violate the sizing rules and you’re in the wrong part of the park and your dog gets hurt or killed or hurts or kills another dog, we’ll feel badly for the dog(s), but we won’t have any sympathy for you. You created your own heartache or someone else’s and you alone are responsible for the safety aspect. You are the people who make dog parks unsafe and ruin it for others. You took your dog there, your dog didn’t get their on it’s own. You put your dog in a position of danger or of harming another dog. Your dog didn’t make the decision which gate to enter through.

No dog should have to pay the price of being injured or killed or to be labeled vicious because you didn’t have the common sense or concern for the safety your dog or of others and their beloved pets when you made your decision.


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