Kids and dog parks just don’t mix….
Yes, I said it. You might feel triggered, scrolling with great fury to find the comments section of this blog right now. But, before you start barking...hear me out fellow dog lovers!
In an ideal world, chubby cheeked tots and fluffy puppies skip through fields of wildflowers, laughing in harmony and behaving like little angels.
Unfortunately, in the real world, the relationship between tiny humans and dogs is more complicated than that. Here’s why!
When entering a dog park, we have to remember that this is a special space designated for dogs to be dogs.
Once off the leash, sprinting around, rolling in the dirt, sniffing butts and playing rough are all accepted activities. This is your pup’s time to burn off excess energy and get her daily exercise. It can be too physical for children to handle, leading to someone (most likely the kid) getting hurt.
Simply put, a dog park prioritizes the canine experience, and should rightfully stay that way. You wouldn’t want a strange dog being let off the leash at a kids playground, would you?
Dog owners have to be on top of their game when they bring their pups to play. Every dog is different, and these parks are a great way to practice socialization as part of behavioral training.
Some dogs may be newbies, feeling nervous about meeting other dogs for the first time. Others might get especially boisterous and fights can occur. It’s a lot for dog owners to handle without having to also be aware of a tiny human scampering around!
But dogs at the park might not be comfortable around kids. Remember, every canine is different regarding how they perceive the actions of another living creature.
Children can be enthusiastically confident, which sometimes gets misinterpreted by dogs. They might become confused or fearful, resulting in defensive behavior.
On the flip side, bringing a child to the dog park in order to help them get used to being around dogs is also not a good idea (although a brave one).
Remember that dogs are going to be letting off steam, so the energy level is predominantly high. Plus, we are talking multiple, hyped up pups zooming around the park! This can be overwhelming and scary for a kid to encounter for the first time.
Let’s be honest. How would you feel if your child was injured by a strange dog at the dog park? Would you hold yourself accountable?
Dog owners are bringing their fur babies to a place that has been established as a safe space for dogs to roam freely and be themselves. Therefore, they are not liable for the safety of children.
There are plenty of other, safer options for mixing kids and dogs. The dog park should be kept for you and your dog to bond.
She gets your undivided attention for a couple of hours and the uninterrupted physical stimulation she needs for optimal health.
Giving that precious time to your dog only bolsters the social ease and interaction that she will display at home with your kids.
And, come on, dogs give us so much already, expecting nothing in return. We can at least give them a place to let loose, right?