Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dog park woes... Kona @ Greenlake @ 5:30 pm

Today, Jason, Grete and I went to the Greenlake dog park to play fetch. It was super crowded. First, we tried doing fetch off the "cliff" to toward the stairs. Since I was worried about Grete jumping off and landing wrong, we eventually went to the back stretch along the fence. As we were coming back up from the back stretch along the fence to give Grete a break and a drink, a chow mix named Kona started growling at me. I've never had a dog growl at me before. Not in this way. Well... I take that back. Dogs on the other side of fences growl that way. It was the classic, "I'm guarding my turft" growl, and I assumed it was because we were "invading" her turf by climbing up the hill to get to the water bowls. Jason didn't take well to a dog growling at his fiance in that way, and he may have moved the Chuck-It in the dogs general direction. To be honest, I was looking down at the dog trying to figure out if I should turn my back (which is what I would do with most puppies and jumpy dogs) or if I should try to calm the dog with my voice or what... I was kinda at a loss since, as I said, the only time dogs growl at me in that menacing way is when they're on the other side of the fence. I'll be honest. I was SCARED.

In any event, we passed by, but the alpha male owner wearing a grey UW sweatshirt said to Jason, "You weren't going to hit my dog with your Chuck-It." To which, Jason replied, "I would if your dog bit my girlfriend."

At this point, the dog was still growling at me. I was moving around the dog, and I pointed out to the couple that I'd never been growled at by a dog before. "Why is your dog growling at me? I don't have the Chuck-It. My hands are in my pockets." I believe that was a close paraphrase of my words.

The woman with dark brown hair standing next to alpha male UW sweatshirt said, "She just growls at some people." At this point, I was starting to lose it with these people. "Why do you bring your dog to the dog park if she growls at people?" They defend themselves and say they come to the dog park every morning... (I think to myself... If you come every morning, why are you here at 5:30 pm? If you come here to this dog park every day, it doesn't give you any more rights than I have.)

It's a bit of a blur... Eventually, I manage to join Jason and Grete by the "cliff" where we've resumed playing fetch. We're _minding_our_own_business_ playing fetch with our dogs on the opposite side of the hill, and Kona comes over and starts growling at me AGAIN.

"Can you please call your dog back?" I think I repeated that at least twice.

They called Kona back.

I looked at the other folks at the top of the hill and shrugged. A couple shrugged back in what I hope was a mutual understanding of "These people are tools."

Then... This annoying same couple's OTHER dog gets in a fight with another dog. Two aggressive dogs! We should have figured.

At that point, while they were calling their OTHER problematic dog off another dog, Jason and I left the hill to play a little more fetch at the bottom of the hill.

I was pretty shaken up from the whole ordeal. First, the dog scared me. I'm still working out what I wish I could have done differently with the dog.

Second, I HATE confrontation like that with those sorts of people. My adrenaline was pumping. Their dog was threatening ME. Don't they know how many freeeeeekin' dog training classes I've taken and how many books I've read on dog behavior. Don't they realize that when I say their dog might not belong at the dog park, they should take ME seriously. Yes. I know this internal dialog is useless on them, but I just wish I could have made them see that they needed to manage the situation better. I just wish they knew how fast a dog can snap. I just wish they freekin' apologized for their dogs behavior.

The only take away I have from the whole thing is a strong urge to buy some Halt! or Direct Stop. *sigh*

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