If you choose to bring a leashed dog to a childrens playground show some respect for other community members and keep your dog outside of childrens reach. What a beautiful day today turned out to be. It was a perfect day to take the kiddo to the park and get a bit of exercise. Another member of the community made the decision to bring his kid to the park and their family pooch in tow. The pooch in question was a 80lbs Rottweiler on a leash. I’m a dog lover and have enjoyed the company of pets for over 30 years and during this time I’ve learned that dogs bite. So this parent decides it’s a great idea to allow his dog on a leash with roughly six to eight feet of play to lay and roam inside the childrens playground perimiter. The perimiter of the park has a concrete walkway roughly three to four feet in width and this 80lbs dog took up the walkway so children could not run or ride their bikes, scooters, skateboards, or have access to the walkway without having this 80lbs dog lunging at the children. It was time for us to leave, so I went to give my child the “5 more minutes” warning, and while walking toward my child the dog lunged at me. It was clear the dog wasn’t trying to bite me and was interested in something new, but it startled me and I had to jump off the concrete walkway and into the wood chip play area.
The dog owner quickly stated his dog was super friendly and he was just saying hello. This infuriated me and I started lecturing this man about the dangers of having his dog so close to children. I then started pointing out that since his arrival, children were avoiding the section of walkway his dog had now claimed its territory and how rude it was that instead of keeping his leashed dog on the grass side, he was choosing to keep his dog on inner perimiter sidewalk and obstructing the right of way for children to play. I explained that the sidwalk was for children to ride their bikes and play around the park and having his dog claim ownership of that section of play area removed the ability for children to have full use of the play area.
He wasn’t really understanding my point. I started to point out that other parents were looking at him, their children, then directing their children away from his general location. It took a bit of time for him to grasp the concept of having common courtesy and how having his dog within reach of children was a liability. This is the type of dog owner that gives other peoples children permission to pet his dog. I watched several young children outside of their parents field of view walk up and this guy was encouraging unsupervised children to pet his 80lbs 2 year old dog! I told him I have a 9lbs dog and anytime a child wants to touch my dog I tell them not to touch or pet my dog because the child is not my child and I do not have the right or permission of their parents to pet my dog.
He finally apologized after a lengthy 5-10 minute conversation. You might think your dog is cute and well behaved, but that does not give you the right as a dog owner to allow other children to touch your dog without their parents permission. This does not give you the right to disrupt the general path where children can enjoy the full use of the park. I included a picture up above. He could have easily kept his dog on the acres upon acres of green grass, but he instead chose to make his dog something for other parents and children notice. I’m all for allowing dogs at parks when they’re leashed, but once your leashed dog lunges at someone it’s time to reasess where your dog is located.