Dog park: not stupid but poopy

His four paws scampered across the grass-covered field, desperately trying to get away from a small dog that kept sniffing his bottom. Only about 10 minutes had past and Winston already wanted to leave the dog park. My five dollars had just completely gone down the drain. “He doesn’t want to play,” a man said to the small dog, after Winston attempted to snap at him. I knew very well that Winston did want to play. At only six months old, all he wants to do is play. However, the moment we stepped onto the fenced-in field, Winston tensed up and cowered between my legs. Although I am disappointed with his behavior, I do not blame Winston for acting the way he did. The dog park is a scary place for shy dogs. When we arrived at about 3 o’clock, there were seven other dogs there, all waiting for Winston and I to step inside the gate. The park is sectioned off into a small dog area (for dogs weighing less than 25 pounds) and a large dog area. Winston, being a lab mixed, had to be in the large dog area. Coincidentally, the dog that caused him the most problems was a small dog that was in the large dog area. As soon as I opened the gate into the park, the small dog began sniffing Winston’s butt. After a few moments, Winston became angry and started snapping. I pulled his leash and motioned for him to follow me. While trying to get away from the other dogs, we walked past a drinking fountain that was for both dogs and humans. I thought it was pretty neat that Winston and I could drink at the same fountain without me having to cup my hands with water and force-feed it to him. Following the gravel path, I noticed several dog-poop baggie containers. I was actually impressed by the lack of feces on the grass. I was also impressed by the amount of space. The small dog area is two acres and the large dog area is eight acres. When we first entered the park, I did not realize how large the space was. The size of the park allowed Winston and I to comfortably walk around without other dogs bothering us. I was, however, disappointed in some other aspects of our trip to the dog park. For instance, I did not like the fact that I had to go to the city hall in order to purchase a pass to get into the dog park. I expected our trip to city hall to be quick and easy. However, I had to bring Winston’s rabies shot certification (which my mother had buried somewhere in her desk) and then fill out a form (which had information about the vet that I did not know without looking at the sheet the city hall employee had taken from me). The whole process took about 15 minutes. It may not seem that long, but for my father, who was in the car with Winston and was attempting to comfort him whenever a loud Cyride went by, it was an eternity. The other portion of the dog park experience that I did not enjoy was having to pay so much money for my dog to do something that he could do for free at some other park. This last point may not be entirely the dog park’s fault. I must blame Winston, and possibly myself, for not appreciating the social scene of the park. I fully believe that a dog who enjoys being around other dogs will have a blast at this park. For other dogs, who may not enjoy the company of others, I would not recommend spending your money on a trip. Walking out of the gate, I turned back to gaze at the other dogs in the park. As I watched two dogs chase each other, I became saddened that my dog would never get the chance to do that. In this regard, the dog park helped me tremendously. It made me realize that I had an anti-social dog and that I would eventually have to change this. However, after hearing about the H1N1-like flu appearing in dogs, I may wait to socialize Winston.