Yeah, you... put a leash on it!! No, not your dog, your kid! Yes, your kid. Why? Because your kid is running around and freaking out some of the dogs. Just because your dog will tolerate your childs behavior, doesn't mean all the dogs will. I have had this very conversation NUMEROUS times at the dog park. If it was up to me, kids under a certain age wouldn't even be allowed at the dog park unless they are leashed. I have seen children, knocked over, snapped at, playing in dirt that a dog just urinated in and other unpleasant incidents at the dog park. It is a difficult thing for young children to understand that the other dogs may not be as friendly as the dog they have at home. In fact, some dogs, just don't like little kids. They can get nervous, anxious, or aggressive when little kids run, jump, yell or reach for them. I have had heated discussions about kids behavior at the dog park with parents. Mostly, these discussions are with parents of poorly behaved children. I have even had to physically stop toddlers from grabbing at my faithful dog, Rusty. I should not have to control someones child because the parent cannot.
If nothing else, think of it this way...a small child running, engages the prey drive in many animals. Animals that are predators (dogs) have an instinctual drive to chase and stop prey. Some dogs have a higher prey drive than others, but all have it. When your little one runs, to a predator, it is a small mammal that needs to be caught.
Have a talk with your child before going to the dog park. Decide if your child is old enough or well-behaved enough to even go to the dog park. Let them know the rules about approaching OTHER dogs, about staying calm (no running) and not screaming. I know that the vast fields of the dog park call to your childs wild side, but not everyone thinks your little angel should express that side in that setting.
Dog parks are for dogs... playgrounds are for children. I certainly don't bring my dog to run around and play to the playground. In fact, I pay to use the dog park and the playground is free. So, I have a right to expect that any child that is at the dog park, will behave appropriately. Just as I would expect any dog to be well behaved. So next time you are at the dog park, for a family outing and your sweet child gets trampled over, or slobbered on, or growled at... take a good look at yourself and ask if you should have leashed it!
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