This is Nylaa, my sister’s fifteen month old pit bull terrier. Do not let this picture fool you. She is a nightmare. An adorable, loving nightmare that waits until your back is turned to eat your Fossil purse.
Nonetheless, I love her. We go to the dog park down the street everyday so she can get her exercise. And so she can be pooped out the rest of the day, leaving me to watch my TV and eat microwave burritos in peace.
Unfortunately, we don’t really fit in at the dog park. Me, a quiet, cute, sixteen-year old looking adult being pulled along by a hyper-active, goofy, 65 lb pit bull puppy. So I never really talk to the other dog owners. I just stand to the side, observing them and here is what I have come up with.
The “Dog Park Clubs”
These are the owners who have formed some sort of “group” and come to the dog park together, not for their dogs, but so they can chat. The first day I ventured to the dog park, a group of six owners and their dogs were leaving. As they walked passed me I overheard one say, “So when will our next dog park lunch be?”
These are the people you need to be wary of. Reason #1: they always come to the park around noon, which makes me curious as to why these grown adults are able to come to the dog park on a weekday afternoon. They’re usually older/newly retired people or stay-at-home moms/dads. So this is probably the most exciting social interaction they will have all day. Reason #2: They are extremely cliquey. The dogs stand in a small circle, sniffing each other’s butts while their owners stand around them in a circle, gabbing away wishing they could sniff each other’s butts. Nylaa has a habit of running full-force into these groups of dogs. All she wants to do is play, but the Dog Park Clubbers take one look at my pit bull and want nothing to do with her. They stick their noses in the air and take their dogs to the other side of park.
Whatever, we don’t need them anyways!
The Geriatric and their just as ancient dogs
Another group to look out for are the extremeeeeeely old. I’m talking like late 70’s old. Not that I have anything against the elderly, I love them, I think they’re adorable, but their dogs are usually just as old. It’s unlikely for an elderly couple to adopt a chipper, young puppy. One time, there was an elderly man with his two basset hounds. The dogs were very old and moved very slowly. I’m pretty sure one of the hounds was blind because he just stood in the middle of park, barking at nothing for about 5 minutes. The only reason I say to avoid this group is if you have a playful dog. Nylaa aggravates older dogs who want nothing to do with her. They growl and bark at her if she tries to play. It’s essentially the dog equivalent of the old man across the street telling those “pesky youngsters” to get off of his lawn. I live in constant fear that during one of Nylaa’s rocket sprints, she is going to take out one of these elderly dogs, or one of their elderly owners. I can only imagine how expensive a hip replacement surgery must be, and I can’t afford to pay that for anyone right now.
Before I came to the dog park for the first time, I went on their website and read through all the rules of the park and all the tips on how to break up a dog fight. I knew I would be arriving with a dog from a breed notoriously known for being aggressive. I wanted to be prepared for anything. A very important rule asks owners not to bring toys for their dogs as it could create conflict between the dogs.
Well clearly no one reads the rules anymore, because people show up all the time with their tennis balls, frisbees and those stupid sticky things they use to throw them.
You know that they’re just trying to show off. “Oh look at me and my dog, he can catch a frisbee in the air and then throw it back to me!” Whatever.
Whoopee, you’ve turned your dog into a circus act. I hope he doesn’t fall into drugs and alcohol like every other child with a parent who tried to turn them into a star.
These owners get frustrated when Nylaa tries to steal their frisbee or squeaky hotdog or whatever toy they happened to bring. Then the other dog will growl at Nylaa and lash out at her. And I’ll admit, I should train Nylaa better so that she doesn’t do that. But I have little sympathy for rule breakers! This is the exact situation the rule board warns you about! You have no one to blame but yourself!
The “Be Nicers”
I’m sure you’ve all been there. You’re out walking your dog and another dog is coming from the opposite direction. The dogs are sniffing each other, getting to know one another, when the other owner says, “Be nice.” That is when you need to leave because something is about to go down.
I’ve noticed this really bothering me lately. The owner always says this as her dog’s jaws are locked onto my dog’s face. “Be nice, Maxwell!”
Seriously? Your dog doesn’t understand you. I’m no Cesar Millan but I’m pretty sure just saying “be nice” does nothing for your dog. Unless he understands English, but I’m going to assume he doesn’t because I’m a pretty intelligent person despite what you might be thinking!
I think the real problem though is that it shows the owner doesn’t really care if their dog starts getting aggressive. It’s just a show for the other owners to make it look like you’re being proactive, but you’re really just standing there looking at your phone. If Nylaa starts getting aggressive with any of the dogs, we leave and that’s it. Usually when this happens, it’s because the other dog started growling and biting first, but that owner just thinks “pit bull” and assumes Nylaa started it.
If only we could just take all the leaders of our world’s nations, put them in a giant park together and just yell “Be nice!” World peace, done.
People who name their dog, “Puppy”
That one pretty much explains itself.
The people who just want to take their dog to the park
I think I could safely lump everyone else into this category. These are the dog owners who do not care about socializing with other humans. They just want their dog to have fun and get some exercise. They don’t get upset when Nylaa starts chasing their dog. They know that’s just how dogs play. They don’t sit on the bench with their designer dogs that bark incessantly. They don’t automatically judge Nylaa for being a pit bull. A lot of them are pit bull owners themselves. Every single time we go out, I get told that Nylaa is a beautiful dog. Duh, she’s perfect.
So we don’t mind that we aren’t the most popular ones at the park. We’ll just be minding our own business, eating any stray tennis balls (Nylaa) and peeing on any stray dogs (Me).