Please Don’t Take Your Kids to the Dog Park

Here’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while. Kids who are let loose in the dog park.

Whenever I see this, I feel a tear of white heat coming through my chest. I want to run up to those parents and say, “NO. This is our space. Take your kids and go.”

Of course, maybe you’ll read this and think, ‘Wow, Liz hates kids.”

For the record, I do not hate kids. I love kids. I just don’t want any of my own. I’m happy to be the cool Aunt, thank you very much.

And I think there is a time and (many) places for kids to be at any given moment.

It’s just my strong opinion that taking kids to the dog park is unnecessary and inappropriate.

Look, my dog is a rescue. She can be friendly and sweet but typically when meeting new people, especially men, she can get anxious and fearful, prompting her to growl or bark. It’s stressful for me and it’s stressful for her.

When kids (and many adults) want to come up to her while she’s on the leash, I always tell them no and thank them for wanting to try. She needs her space. And there are too many unknown variables in that situation. Which brings me to the reason why, I think parents need to keep their kids at home while visiting the dog park.

Lou drinking from the local doggie fountain.

I want my dog, for a limited amount of time, to be able to run free somewhere and sniff things. I want her to be able to play with new doggie friends and their parents. I want her to be able to play catch in a city-official park where it’s allowed.

I don’t want your little one in the vicinity of that.

I realize that may be an obnoxious and privileged ask, but I don’t want to witness your kid running up to my dog thinking she’s cute (she is) and friendly (she’s not) and start to engage. It makes me really nervous and I just want to ask the parent WHY.

Why is it necessary to have your toddler in the middle of a busy dog park? I mean, there are dogs – you don’t know – all around, jumping, playing, fetching and engaging. Do you think this is safe? Am I worrying too much here? Is your kid ready to handle a 50 pound German Shepherd if it approaches?

Perhaps I am minimizing the ability of kids around dogs.

But frankly, I am freaked out. Mind you, the chances are low my dog will interact with your kid. She’s just not that interested in kids. She wants to play ball mainly. However, if your kid comes close to us and I am caught in a blindspot and don’t see it, who is to blame?

I also just feel like – YOUR KIDS GET TO GO EVERYWHERE. Leave them home, OK. Let’s give this one to the dogs and dog parents?

I recognize this is a rant and I am curious if other people agree or I am simply being obnoxious here. It’s an opinion I have that I don’t see changing.

Because if I see you at the dog park with your kid, chances are, I won’t say hi. I’ll be avoiding you at all costs and telepathically telling you to go home.

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