Monday, August 23, 2010

My Dogs Are Too Darned Popular

This is not a post about how Bunny now has more friends than I do on Facebook, although that has recently happened.  Today's post is about our visit to the dog park on Saturday night.  It was a problem that I haven't encountered before, and I'm still scratching my head over it a bit.

Saturday turned out to be a pretty toasty day, so we waited until after dinner to take the girls to the dog park to burn off some steam.  As we walked into the gate leading into the second gate, we saw that there was a young German Shepherd puppy and a Pit Bull puppy playing with some people inside the dog park.  Morgan was in heaven, barking and wagging her plume of a tail in anticipation of a rousing game of chase me and bitey face. 

However, as we were about to enter the park, two teenaged girls approached and grabbed the Pit Bull puppy.  That's not terribly unusual, a lot of people will pull back their dogs so others can enter.  The Shepherd's owner called her back, too.  As we walked in, though, the girls began gushing over Bunny and Blueberry.  We've gotten used to people fussing over them, too, and that's okay.  I know that people have questions about them and a certain fascination.  I let the girls both go and the two teens were both very insistent on petting them.  Usually the girls will just walk off, though, and ignore people when they've had enough of their attentions like the true little princesses they are.

The usual small talk ensued as the girls began to make their way around the park.  The teenagers were accompanied by their parents and the Shepherd had an older couple there with her.  We were asked their names and I told them.  No sooner had the girls learned their names then they began really pursuing all three of our dogs.  Calling their names and running around the park after them.

Certainly, they weren't hurting the dogs.  Their mother joked "I'm not sure if the girls are wearing the dogs out or the dogs are wearing the girls out."  I just thought, "We came here so the dogs could play with other dogs, not be pestered by annoying children."  Despite the fact that I thought that, I did not say that.  I wanted to, but I didn't.  I just felt like, the girls seemed like they were old enough that they ought to have known better and if they didn't, perhaps the parents should have put leashes on them. 

I'm still at a loss as to how to respond to the situation.  If someone had an aggressive dog that had bothered mine, I wouldn't have hesistated to tell them to call their dog off, and most likely would would have left.  It wasn't a situation where the dogs were in danger, it was just interfering with their and our enjoyment of the dog park experience.  I've met other kids there who were very pleasant and fun to be around, but these two were not. 

On a positive note, after they left I saw our best Bunny and Morgan moment to date.  Bunny walked through the trees and laid down under a tree like a crouching lion.  She stared at Morgan and Morgan stood staring back at her.  After a few minutes of stare down, Bunny leaped up in the air, ran straight at Morgan and then veered off, leading Morgan into a nice game of chase, and Morgan managed to play this round without putting any parts of Bunny in her mouth.  The game and the evening ended on a high note, with three tails wagging.  My only regret is that it was too dark to get a picture of the event!

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  1. I'm sure it's no fun for the dogs to go through with this name calling and chasing game with the children. However, it's also something dogs have to learn and get used to because not all children know how to behave with dogs.
    My niece and nephew are like that. They never had dogs therefore they don't know how to handle them. Eva has learnt how to cope with sudden movements, running away from her, screaming, yelling. I guess it's all part of a learning process to them. And of course, we cannot yell at the children LOL

  2. Some kids have never been brought up with dogs and just don't have the first idea about how to behave around them. We had the same experience on the beach in Italy when a brother and sister of around eight just chased Wilf and his little brother with sticks. Thankfully the children got tired before the boyz did but it was a tense time for us.

  3. Hi, oh yes, we have that too, what with us being so handsome and just fun to be around, he he he!

    We agree that it's a pain but, like the otherws who have commented, we know that some human pups (usually the slightly older ones as you've just experienced!) are not the brightest and just don't know how to behave properly! So, annoying though it is when we've gone out to have a nice 'fun' walk, we have to get our minds round viewing these walks as 'training walks' and just feel glad that we're better socialised than the human pups - ha!

    FH would like to comment that it's odd that the teenagers were like that when they have their own dog. We, on the other paw, think their dog has probably trained her delinquent teenagers to pester other dogs to give her a slight break - imagine what she has to put up with at home, poor thing!!

    Schnauzer snuggles - JD and Max.

  4. We don't have dog parks over hear, in the sense you can let them off and its fenced in.
    You know your dogs best and maybe if they are getting stressed I would have asked the kids to back off, after all it is the dogs free time and should be fun for them.

  5. We sometimes have kids do the same thing with our two - to the extent that they will walk up to them and start patting them, both our dogs are great with kids - but, kids that come up and just pat them without asking, especially on the tops of their heads, is not on! I usually find myself explaining to the kids HOW they should approach and pat a dog, let them pat the dog, then make a point of actually saying goodbye to the child, so they get the message that they have had enough - normally does the trick :)

  6. Hmm, it's very tricky. I don't suppose your park is big enough for you to all just wander off in another direction or would the girls have followed you? I probably would have done the same as you all the time wishing they'd go find something else to amuse themselves. At least you had a good finish to the walk with Bunny and Morgan having a great chase:-)

  7. Bender loves that kind of attention and Barbie makes it pretty clear shes not interested, so people play with Bender. I do have problems with kids teasing him with his ball though, and idiots who will throw the ball close to people so bender is likely to mow them down. If it happens more than once, i say something. I don't want bender to be responsible for a knee reconstruction!

  8. That is a sticky wicket. If your animals seem stressed I would speak up. We`ve had the same thing occur with young children who visit chasing the poultry and I will usually tell them nicely to stop. Seems teenagers would know better though don`t it?

  9. I cannot tolerate those sorts of attentions and will become quite gruff. Had it been me (or even PeeWee) momma would have said something like, "You need to leave my dog alone now and let him have his fun." Then left if it didn't happen. That's just the way she is.

    One time a girl was with her mom and the girl put her face right into Raja's and wouldn't back off and momma could see Raja getting pissed off and the mom was just laughing about how much her daughter loves dogs and momma shoved herself between the girl and Raja and told her to never stick her face in a dog's face like that and the mom was all PO'd and momma is like, whatever, and walks away.


  10. We have a dog park near us buts we dont go there as it is surround by busy roads and noisy teens being loud and rambunctious. Even if Molly could see fine and was in her prime I would not go as there are far better places near me to go we have some lovely canal walks and the beach of course but neither of them are really for Molly maybe with Jack we might but if anyone was like that with mine I would tell them to back off to be honest

  11. Mayzie's mom here. I can't believe their parents didn't say anything to them. They obviously haven't been taught any better and it could get them bitten one day by another dog if they're not careful. I never have any problems telling people or children what my dogs like or don't like. I think I would've just nicely said, "My dogs aren't used to that." or "They get nervous when people follow them around like that. Would you mind not doing that?" And if they'd continued, I probably would've just left. Of course, I have VERY low child-tolerance to begin with. Ha!

    But I'm SO happy that the evening ended so well for Morgan and Bunny!

  12. We have had this happen once too, but it was 2 adults. I wanted to tell them "hey this is our space, yours is on the other side of the park!"

    I hope your cold is getting better:)

  13. We see this all the times when hiking. Peeples complain about dogs running amok on the trails and yes, sometimes there is bad dog pawrents wot lets them run amok but most of the dogs we see on the trails is furry well behaved. Howefur, mom woz so annoyed one time when peeples had a screaming toddler wot woz not cooperating and had the trail all back up with hikers wot could not pass around them. Wot about childruns behaving badly on hiking trails? They do be needing a leash AND muzzle! Akshually, the need to be lefted at home. There do be bad dog pawrents and bad childrun pawrents.

    Furry kewl how you all played there! I dussn't play much any mores but I metted a dog on the trail last Saturday. After the obligatory butt sniffing introdukshuns, we did the butt in the air and wented a round of chasing and paw thwocking. It was so much funs. I hadn't done that in a long time. Mom woz shocked. (Yes, I do be a senior, I is 9 1/2 years old now.)

  14. I don't visit our dog park anymore. I had a run-in with a "gentleman" that scared me. He had a fat lab that didn't leave his side. He felt Calhoun was too aggressive but Boxers play VERY loudly. I don't think this man would've been so assertive had my husband been there with me.

    Since McIver has rejoined our pack, I don't allow any interaction with people while we walk the neighborhood. McIver won't have it. I don't mind yelling down the sidewalk to approaching people that "we aren't friendly!" Ha! Typically, 2 Germies and 2 Boxers that "aren't friendly" get their attention and they don't chance it.

    When I took on 2 breeds that are often misunderstood, I decided that it was my job as Momma to protect them in every way but completing obedience school and becoming very protective and vocal about what is okay and what is not. I truly don't care what these people think of me. I just want my dogs to be happy and safe.

    Hope this perspective helps!

  15. CORRECTION: ...every way BY completing obedience school...

  16. It does sound like those girls were acting oddly for their age... and it's very odd that their parents didn't straighten them out. Sometimes, the dog training class that I go to meets in a dog park and the biggest problems are often with the little kids in the park. Their parents seem to think that all the dogs should know to leave their precious babies alone. I keep thinking "It's a *dog* park. Get a clue!".

    I love your description of the Bunny-Morgan play. It sounds like they're rapidly becoming good buddies! Isn't that wonderful to see?

    You have read between the lines in my blog correctly. In some ways, it's been a very trying summer. This last event was the straw that broke the camel's back and I was raging yesterday. The other neighbors who are trying to take part of our land are darn lucky that they didn't run into me in that mood.

    Thanks so much for your support. It means a lot.

  17. Sounds like Bunny is teaching Morgan what is acceptable play. Very cool.

    I am finding that, as I get older, I am less likely to hold my tongue in situations like you describe (though teenage is a shock). When a child wants to pet The Herd and tries over the top of the head, I calmly explain why it is important to approach a dog in a different way. The children soak up the news (and their parents are usually too stunned to stop me).

    But yours was a little more so not sure how I would have handled it.

  18. Glad the night ended on a high note for Bunny, Blueberry and Morgan... and as for those pesky teenagers, well, sometimes hoomans need to attend OB classes rather than us.

    Licks, hero

  19. Hmm, I wonder how human parents would react to dogs chasing their kids around the human kid park ...

  20. It will take one dog that is not so kid-friendly to scare those kids straight.

  21. Dis is intresting. Now I has a girl myself...howevers, her knows better than to do dat. Now them teenagers had there own dog they should haves paid attention to. Where was their pit puppy when they were playing withs da girls?
    But, your girls can't helps da fact dat peoples seem to flock to 'em.

    I knew your mom would be da furst to raise her hand furs a Puddles puppy...hehehehehe!


  22. Their parents were there? I would have asked the parents to tell the girls to stop calling them so they could have some "people free" play time.

    Or I would have asked the girls myself.

    I can't imagine the parents not doing that themselves, but no one is raised today like I was!

  23. Getting great pics is always a challenge, we have had very dull weather here!
    We know what you mean about some human children!
    We have a lot of problems with children/teenagers approaching Martha and Bailey cos they look 'cute'.
    This is OK for Bailey who is very outgoing although after they have made a fuss of her she wants to get on with her walk.
    For Martha though it doesn't seem to matter how many times you ask, very nicely, for her just to be left, they all want to pat her.
    Of course Martha gets very stressed and we confess we avoid groups of young people for this reason.
    As for the friends on Facebook - Martha and Bailey are way more popular than me.....!

  24. Heh.. dog park politics. I'm certainly not foreign to them. The dogs listen far better than the kids do. I had a situation where a little girl decided to throw the ball for Kassa. For some reason she felt she had to hold it infront of his nose and kind of taunt him with it. I kept saying "Sweetie throw the ball" .. totally ignored. Finally I turned to the mother and said "tell her to throw the ball!" (Kassa won't bite you.. but he may put his mouth on your hand to let you know he wants the ball if you taunt him enough...) Then she picked up on the "drop it" command and kept yelling it at him when he brought the ball back.. over and over and over .. sigh.. kids... cute.. but not to bright.

    JP and Kassa

  25. Oh hoomans!! what can we's say!! sometimes 'dey put on my little Josie tail to try to uncurl its..
    'da nerves!!

    Hopefullys next times yous 'dere yous get to plays wits a kool pug of sometings!! snorts!!

    Josie.. who else

  26. This is a tough one. On the one hand, it is nice to see teenagers involved in a good activity, but it would also be nice to let the dogs be dogs. Maybe you could tell them, OK, just a few more minutes with the dogs, then I really want to see them do some playing with the dogs.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  27. Yeah, we understand what u went through. it happened with us here last weekend when we took Ginger n Buddy to a park.
    There were kids who wanted to play but did not know how. Ginger walks away very pointedly from people she doesn't like or when she tires of them. Buddy tries to make them play and would jump around and show how.
    But these kids were not getting the last we herded them and taught them how to play fetch and chase and finally it worked and all had a good time.
    it is strange though that their parents did not seem to bother to tell them not to pull a dog's tail or ears.
    So very touched to read about Our Lovely Lady turning 15 next month!What an occasion.

  28. Silly kids, yelling and screaming is not the place nor time. -_-

  29. Exactly why I sometimes think of using fake names with strangers. I think its perfectly ok and unoffending to say: Hey girls, can we let the greyhounds have some time to do their business and socialize with other dogs. They'll come back over to me when they are ready for more human interaction.

    But I actually would have said: Hey girls, my dogs compete in obedience and agility and they actually have to respond to their "names". We aren't here to train so I need you to stop chattering their names. Thank you.

  30. Mom says she used to be dumbfounded by the behaviour of the teenage girls that lived next to her when she lived down the street from here -

    They'd jump on their trampoline and shriek like toddlers -

    Their father - the lawyer - had no issues with it and seemingly khondoned it as kids being kids -

    ANYWAY, there will be more magikh Morgan and Bunny moments - I just KNOW it!


  31. Grrrreat post! We have missed you guys a lot!

    Riley and Star.

  32. I'm sorry the annoying kids didn't let the dogs just be dogs with the other pups in the park. I have no advice about what to do, other than to say not what you were thinking, but maybe something like "Oh, well, we brought the dogs here so they could play with other dogs." Then again, some people are a bit dense and I don't know if that would work. Nice to hear that Bunny and Morgan played so nice, with no Bunnyparts ending up in Morgan's mouth! :)

  33. Yay for Bunny and Morgan!
    Mom says she prolly would have said something to the teens and/or their parents, her thinking is that it's a DOG play park not a two-legger one. We don't go to our local dog park, we live in a "snub burb" where the peoples treat the park like a social club and ignore what their dogs is doing and just chat wif each other.

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  34. annoying! Kudos to you. I don't think I would have been able to keep my mouth shut.

  35. I think I would tell them that it's never a good idea to pursue a doggie who isn't into it. I know your ladies would never do anything about it and neither would I, most likely, but it really isn't a good idea. You don't know the doggy and that means you don't know what's going to stress her out or make her feel defensive.

    lotsa licks, Lola

  36. I've been trying to herd all the idiots together so I can bite their ankles. You wouldn't believe how quickly I filled up my backyard... and it's just a drop in the bucket. Sigh.

  37. Thankfully they were left alone and could share a good time together!
    I don't react pretty well to lots of "unwanted" attention!
    Kisses and hugs

  38. Hi girls! I've missed you and I apologize we haven't been around much. Good to hear that there is some peace between you ;o)
    Now, about those human pups at the park. Maybe they thought they were dogs? I, unlike you, would have turned around and showed them my teefers and barked my fool head you think that woulda make 'em back off?

  39. I can relate to this post, especially tonight. A young boy was patting my youngest Cavalier. Becky is just one and gets very excited. The little boy kept pushing down on her head. I took too long in telling him to be gentle and she jumped up and spooked him. He was much too rough with her, but I should have intervened sooner for both their sakes.

  40. YOu know what? anytime I feel my dog is being pestered or bothered or is in danger of having to react to get someone to buzz off, i step in. politely first. i don't care if it's an adult or a child, i step in and redirect the child elsewhere. "Hey guys, Bunny and Blue and Morgan are here to meet some dog pals. they've been working all week with other children (even if this is a lie)... and they just real ly need some time for their dog pals now. how about you go play with another dog?"

    if they don't, then you need to be more firm and possibly say that your dogs are bothered by them or sadly have to leave the park.

    honestly, i'd MUCH rather step in and protect my dogs from being pestered, PROTECT them from having to defend themselves. I know B&B would probably be too tolerant of idiots, but stepping in to stop others bothering them only makes YOU stronger in their eyes. ya, wouldn't you love it if you had your very own super hereo looking out for you 24/7? that's what our doggies need.

    i generally do NOT allow strangers to pet my dogs. i've had some incidents (i need to post about it) with mean people ... really mean people. so i've cut down on their interactions with strangers. it's made a HUGE difference in their general behavior. (for the better.) now this is different for a therapy dog, but that's a different situation--when the vest goes on the dog is working and they know it. no vest, then the dog should feel comfortable that strangers will not pester them. just like you and i should feel comfortable walking through a park without 2 teenagers chasing us around and tugging on our shirt sleeves to play with them.

    The heartbeats seem to have it right, and some others on this post. don't ever be afraid to stick up for your dogs. i may not go as far as to say they are not friendly but i will say something like "they're not dog friendly" for people who let their dogs run up to mine. (not entirely true, only sometimes true.) anyway, always stick up for your dog. strangers that make you feel icky make your dog feel icky. you know them by now.

    and because morgan is a GSD, do it doubly so for her. it's in her genes to be protective. make no mistake about that. if it means protecting herself or her pack. and you don't wan ANY mistakes with her. she's a goodie.

    so glad she and bunny are playing nice!


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