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Dog Parks Should Be Comfortable for Both Owner and Dog

Whether it's rough play, other dogs or the condition of the dog park itself, it's a good idea to observe from a distance before letting your dog join in.

I was at the dog park, trying to be good and not open my mouth for a change. However, as I sat there, I heard a lady complaining about her dog being “pummeled” by all the other dogs. I looked, and her dog was on the ground with the other dogs playing around it.

I know that dogs tend to act out in packs, and there is always one that is getting picked on. Even if they are all playing together, there is usually one dog getting chased or rolled on the ground. 

This lady was uncomfortable with the rough play. She said, “Someone’s dog is about to get thumped if they don’t stop picking on mine.” I was watching her dog, which looked like a 6-month-old pup, and the dog was playing. In fact, every time someone went and got their dog away from hers, her dog would come back trying to play.

Well, folks, I opened my mouth. I told the lady that the dogs were just playing, and she responded that she was not talking to me. She then continued to get upset with everyone else’s dogs and said we all needed to keep our dogs off of hers.

Before long, she left.  

Maybe I should have said something, or maybe I shouldn’t have. After all, I am good at it.

But, if you are going to a dog park, make sure it is an environment that you are comfortable with versus one you are not. I am comfortable with my dogs running and wrestling with other dogs, and I'm OK with a dog jumping on me to say hi, get attention or just play, but others are not. Watch how the dogs play before going in and see whether you approve.

Hillsborough County has four dog parks you can try out.

The closest is the Mango Dog Park at 11717 Clay Pit Road in Seffner.

However, you might want to travel to the Carolyn Meeker Dog Park in Lutz, 122 First Ave. S.W., Lutz; the Logan Gate Dog Park, 7374 Monterey Blvd., Tampa; or West Dog Park, 6402 N. Occident St., Tampa.

The city of Tampa also has a number of dog parks: the James Urbanski Dog Park at Al Lopez Park, 4810 N. Himes Ave.; Giddens Park, 5202 N. 12th St.; Rowlett Park, 2401 E. Yukon Ave.; Gadsden Park, 6901 S. MacDill Ave.; Picnic Island Park, 7409 Picnic Island Blvd.; Davis Islands, 1002 Severn St.; and Palma Ceia Park, 2200 Marti St.

laurajane October 11, 2011 at 02:28 AM
The Mango dog park is GREAT!!!! But make sure you are ready to let you dog BE a dog! Much fun for all if you quit trying to be a controlling human. By the way the photos are the Best! Pudgie and Daisy
Shelly Maslak November 11, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Great! Thank you for the information LauraJane! We will have to check it out.

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