People who visit dog parks encounter issues. These problems are not unexpected when you gather strangers in a public place and hope that they will follow rules and be courteous. Short of having dog park police at every off-leash area in the county, there's not much that can be done to make everyone happy.
I received an email from a reader today:
Most dog parks in Phoenix are divided between large dogs and small dogs. My question to you is: is there a general weight limit between large and small dogs? What is it? The park where I am going my 3 pound dog is with 65-100+ pound dogs. Everyone says their dog is gentle and used to small dogs. My concern is that while their dog is running and playing it might land on or run into my tiny dog and physically harm or kill it. If there is a general consensus of pounds between large and small could it possibly be posted along with the words? If not, my tiny dog is not able to play in the park with 30-40 pound dogs. I will not be able to use it. I will hunt for another dog park in my area where perhaps the people are more considerate.
At the Dog Park
© Judy Hedding
I have the same concern as you do regarding my dog being hurt. I have had the experience of being at a dog park when another owner of a smallish dog thought his dog was being cute when pinning my dog to the ground with its teeth in her neck. After some discussion, about all I could do was take my dog home. I asked the man when he typically uses the park so I could make sure I was never there when he was.
If you force me to come up with an unofficial estimate, I'd say about 25 pounds. Is it a general consensus? I doubt it. Small dog owners usually know when a dog doesn't belong in that area. If a calm 30-pounder was in the small dog area, I wouldn't try to force the owner to remove her.
Finally, some dogs don't belong at any dog park. They are either not under control by their owner, too aggressive, or simply are not socialized well enough to play nice. If you find that your dog is too fragile, no matter what part of the dog park you are using, it's possible that your dog needs to find another way to socialize, like in a friend's yard. I think your idea of trying different dog parks is a good one for now.
My dog park pet peeve: people who bring little kids into the dog park who play with the dog toys and run around among the dogs. There's a good reason that dog parks require people to be over a certain age in the fenced area. Why do people think the rules apply to everyone but them? If you have a dog park pet peeve, or if you want to share a story about an experience you had at a dog park, please share your comments here.
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