Playtime!

April 23, 2015 | We Love

There are tons and tons and more tons of dogs in San Francisco. The good, the bad, and the ugly of dogs is seen in each dog park microsystem-some parks attract large dogs, noisy dogs, small dogs, aggressive dogs, scared dogs, neglected dogs (I am talking to all the owners on their phones) and all of their attached owners.

When I make the choice to go to a dog park, it is often because of ease. For instance, Heron’s Head is close to home, hence super convenient. Or China Basin for visits to the Safeway. Or Bernal when we’re brunching at Precita. If ease is important, then safety is the foundation from which all dog park visits are implemented. If my dogs don’t feel safe, I know the signs. Barnaby gets reclusive, and lays down in a corner. Wes, shaking between my legs, won’t venture far. Safety is huge for their health and happiness and I must say, I get concerned that Playtime isn’t what it is cracked up to be all of the time, for many reasons, but more often than not it is because owners have unsafe practices with their aggressive dogs. The risks are so high when there are aggressive, un-muzzled dogs at parks.

Aggressive dog owners in SF have a hard time finding places to visit, I totally understand this. I have been there myself. Heron’s Head is quiet and for a long time, didn’t attract the general population, so aggressive dog owners would have relatively free reign. That is becoming less and less the case as that park gets more populated, but where can they go from here? Part of me feels compassion for their plight. Part of me revels in knowing they are being pushed to other locations. Why? Because my dogs safety is paramount. I put booties on hurt paws (things that look like balloons).-Barnaby in particular hates the booties, but I do it for his well being.

 

“Part of me feels compassion for their plight. Part of me revels in knowing they are being pushed to other locations.”

And now, the irritant is not just aggressive dogs at parks with under trained owners, but the owners that know how ill trained their dogs are and keep the general population of dog owners out of the park by barring entrance. Many times, I have experienced owners not letting in other dogs to the park because they know their dog will start a fight. I am shocked they take that risk at all, peeved that they think they have the right to do so in a public park, and surprised that muzzles are not more common. I think what saddens me most is how many aggressive dogs there are in the first place (and I am not being at all breed specific). Nature vs. Nurture is a long debate, but owners are not taking their full load of responsibility. And not letting others into a public park is a far cry from responsible dog parenting…

I will talk more about aggressive dogs because it is such a theme in my neck of San Francisco, I will also vent, quite likely, about all the other annoying things about sharing public space with dogs and their owners (and usually the owners are way worse than the dogs). Stay tuned but please feel free to tell me your thoughts-any experiences with aggressive dogs in SF? Do you have a dog you would consider aggressive? If so, how do you handle him in public places?

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