Thursday, March 24, 2011

About Dog Parks

When we moved out to the 'burbs, I was pretty happy to have a dog park nearby. It was big and open with a solid fence and a sand surface instead of mud. Zuko seemed to be pretty happy with it too.

Then one Sunday we went by the park and all hell broke loose. Hubby and I walked in with Zuko and he and another dog did some sniffing then Zuko got down to business: peeing all over the fence. Another dog was across the park with his owners and suddenly came bounding over. And there was a fight between him and Zuko. It happened very fast, I didn't see who started what. What I did see was Zuko biting at the haunches of this other dog and then when he could, he broke away and went off towards the fence. The other owners were still across the park, so I went after Zuko, putting my hand down to block the other dog --- who was of course chasing after Zuko. 

What does this leave me to believe? Talking to the folks at Zuko's daycare, they have said time and again that Zuko is never aggressive. He will "tell off" another dog if that dog is being rude or too rough or if Zuko has just had enough playing. Add to this that Zuko broke off and ran away as soon as he could and the other dog followed him. I don't want to be the crazy dog lady who thinks her dog is never in the wrong, but I don't think this fight was started by him. 

Since then, I've been afraid to go back. The Shiba bloggers have posted photos and stories of Shibas who have been severely injured at dog parks and now I'm paranoid. 

So my question to all you dog owners at there: are dog parks worth the risk of your dog being seriously injured? If so, how do you minimize the risk? I'm really struggling with this one!

-- Zuko's Helicopter Mom