My Dog Can Behave Itself. Why Can’t Yours?
I’ve tried to steer clear from ranting and raving on this blog. It hasn’t really been a conscious effort on my part, there have just been other people that I have been able to talk to before drafting anything to share. Today there is no such luck. I have no one to complain to right now, and I really need to complain.
I took Prandtl to our local dog park today because if I don’t let her run outside once in awhile, she’ll take it out on my studio apartment. She’ll run into walls, run into me, and tackle my poor 12 year old cat, Lucy. She’ll bark at anything that moves. She’ll bounce around until I pay attention to her… and then she’ll bounce around at me. And if I don’t pay attention to her when she’s in these squirrely moods, she’ll run up behind me full speed, take a big leap that puts her head shoulder level, and nip at a bit of my shirt as she flies by. In a nutshell, she is annoying unless she gets enough exercise. And I’m sure that’s true with any dog — I just happen to have one of those “high energy” types.
Anytime we’re outdoors (or indoors when she’s not amped up on excess energy), she behaves perfectly. Her recall is fantastic, and she’ll stop on a dime if I call her to come back to me. If she’s playing chase with another dog and she runs too far away, she will stop in the middle of the game if I call her. The best part is she typically won’t wander too far away from me in the first place. I don’t have to keep an eye on her because she keeps an eye on me.
And let me make this very clear: It Took Training To Get Her That Way.
So today when I took Prandtl to the dog park to play, she found a poodle to run around with. They played chase for awhile, and then a pitbull joined in the fun. At this point I got a little uncomfortable because my dog is usually the fastest and therefore the one being chased, and because she’s so small the bigger dogs (like the pitbull and poodle) tend to run her over. But her tail was still wagging and she still had a stupid, happy look on her face so I let it go.
Fast forward to a few minutes later, and the pitbull and poodle are barking directly into her face and nipping at her. They’re running around her like they’re going to attack her or something, and when she tries to run away they chase her, trample her, and bite at her. Prandtl tries to sit on the ground to tell them she doesn’t want to play, but they bark and nip. And every dog is baring their teeth and poor Prandtl is letting out little high pitched barks and doing her best to defend herself because she’s not much of a fighter.
When it comes to dogs playing too rough, I do my best to get Prandtl out of the situation. I will walk away from the owners of the dogs, call her over, and the other dogs’ respective owners will do the same. All of the dogs will be seperated, and everyone is happy. But today’s dogs were not well trained and did not listen to their owners, so suddenly there were two dogs that were getting more and more aggressive towards mine, and all kinds of people yelling out names that weren’t really having any kind of effect. I would call Prandtl’s name, but that would cause her to run for me which would just make things worse – she was just chased, trampled, and bitten some more.
Prandtl somehow got to me, and I grabbed her collar and sat her down. The other owners came running over to grab their dogs, but they couldn’t grab a hold of them so I just kind of sat there… hoping to God I wouldn’t get bitten… while nobody else could get control over their animals. And while I admit that putting my hand on Prandtl’s collar was probably a stupid move from a safety standpoint, I didn’t know what else to do. Nobody else seemed to be doing anything.
Anyway, this whole situation probably lasted about 5 minutes. We seperated our dogs and went to different parts of the dog park. Prandtl and I ended up running into the poodle again, and they played fine for awhile. I was hoping that it was the pitbull that escalated the first “situation”, but next thing I know the poodle is harassing my dog again. Since it was only one dog instead of two this time and I was already very cautious regarding that dog, I got that situation under control very quickly, but the woman still couldn’t get her dog to listen or get it onto a leash. And so I put Prandtl on her leash and left the dog park because I didn’t want to deal with another poorly trained dog. Then we went home.
I was okay with the dogs picking on Prandtl. It happens, they are dogs, and I expect it to occur once in awhile at a dog park. But what drives me crazy is when people bring dogs to the dog park that they don’t have under control. Every dog park in this area has a requirement stating that dogs must have a reliable recall, and it’s for reasons like this. This whole thing could have been avoided very easily, but instead I almost got my arm bit off by a pitbull.
The part that really has me fuming is that I have put in the time to have a well behaved dog. Prandtl did nothing wrong at the dog park and she did exactly as I told her. She came when I called her and sat when I told her to sit. And yet we were the ones that had to leave. I basically punished my dog for being obedient while the other dogs are being rewarded for disobedience. It’s a terrible cycle that I don’t really know how to stop. I need to take care of my dog, and letting her stay there in a potentially dangerous situation is not taking care of her. I certainly told the woman that she should think about not returning to a dog park with a dog that isn’t under her control, but she just gave me some “She’s usually not like this” excuse. And I wanted to slap her.
Anyway, sorry for this long, frantically written post.
But the worst part is that even if I were to go to a different dog park, people still bring disobedient dogs. There’s not much else I can do outside of buying a house with a huge yard for Prandtl to play in… but I don’t really have $100,000 laying around.
**Imagine all of that running… inside… constantly