We haven't been to the dog park since early spring but decided to take a trip there today. The dogs get SO excited when we get close. Even though they haven't been there for awhile they seemed to realize where we were going. It didn't disappoint. Had we stayed out of the small dog section it would have been perfect. As Engineering Dad says "Large dog owners train their dogs and small dog owners don't seem to think they need to". While I obviously don't agree with him I will agree that the people who bring their large dogs to the London dog park DO spend time training and socializing their dogs. The closest we've come to having a dog behave inappropriately is occasionally a large young dog doesn't quite realize that they can't play with small dogs quite the same way. This did happen today when a large german shepherd type dog thought Rylie looked like a good play toy. Engineering Dad managed the situation by getting between the dogs (even though Rylie would have preferred to jump into his arms) until the GSD owner called the dog away. The other thing that happened today was a Doberman dared to take Rylie's stick away from him. Rylie was shocked (most dogs follow his rules - if I have it - it's mine) but gamely followed the dobie back to her owner. The owner threw the stick for Rylie while trying to distract the dobie but she chased him down and took it again. Poor Rylie - not a bad lesson for him though and not a nasty word was spoken.
When we were done running around the regular section we ventured into the small dog section. I really don't like it there at all. There was a Min Pin who was continuously being scolded. I think it might have been for trying to escape the park. The owner finally tied it to a bench. I really wanted to suggest that if he just moved away from the entrance and encouraged his dog to engage with him instead of scolding it he might have better success but Neil makes me bite my tongue when other people's dog training methods annoy me.
There were three cute fluffy energetic dogs who were very sweet. One of them was playing frisbee - Rylie thought THAT looked like fun but got told - EXCUSE ME THIS IS MY FRISBEE! Rylie is much better at picking up social cues than he was a year ago so he took the hint. I credit this to the border collie girl in our class. She's pretty crabby.
As we were getting ready to leave Max was attacked by a shih tzu. This dog was probably not even half Max's size but was pretty nasty. Max was such a good boy and didn't retaliate. He's fine - no skin was broken. He's the one who walked beside me the entire time at the dog park and didn't spend any time exploring (no squirrels or bunnies apparently). That's what led Neil to remark on the untrained small dogs. It's strange but the only time we've seen aggression is in the small dog section of the park. We do tend to steer clear of it - my dogs don't really "play" with others and are more interested in people so the size of the other dogs around them doesn't really make a difference. They are happy to say hello and run together but that's about it.