Toddlers at Dog Parks

Why? Why do parents bring 3 year old toddlers to large breed off leash meetups and just let them run around amidst the unknown strange dogs?

Grym and I (and my dog friendly Shibas) were at the dog park this morning with a very small friendly crowd of larger puppies and dogs, when I spotted an off lead dog wearing an e collar running up to the entrance gate sans owner. About 50 feet behind him, was a 3 year old toddler, sans parent. The child let himself and his dog into the park while the 6 or so large dogs swarmed the gate surrounding the parentless child. Another 50 feet behind the child, the parent finally appeared, in no rush.

I leashed my dogs and started leaving. Ike is terrified of children and Beebe would be more likely to nip if a child tried grabbing her (as they often try to), and Grym is just plain enormous and uncoordinated. The last thing I need is a lawsuit if my huge carefree dog plows into a toddler as he romps about, and I in no way want Ike stressed at all (my sweet sensitive little guy).

So what happens as we leave, oops, the 3 year old gets plowed over by someone else’s giant breed and the parent gets angry at the dog, and says my dogs are bad because they don’t like children. WTF? The dog park isn’t a day care, leave the infants and toddlers at home and let the dogs enjoy their free space.

7 thoughts on “Toddlers at Dog Parks

  1. It makes me really mad too – our old dog park had a sign up stating no under 12's but it didn't stop idiots bringing their kids in. Fortunately in the evening our animal control officer brought his dogs to the park and would evict the kids.

  2. *points to title* EXACTLY MY PET PEEVE TOO!Luckily Bowdu just stays away from children. But I don't always trust them to stay away from HIM. I trust Bowpi to be good, though she appears not to like pre-teens so much after having lived with a somewhat hyperactive one in the home before ours.Oh yeah, and there was the time this 8-year-old brought his SKATEBOARD to the park and started down the little sidewalk strip that cut through the middle, only to be immediately knocked off by an Australian shepherd? Yeah. Only THEN did the parent tell the kid, "Maybe you shouldn't skate in the park…" as she watched his tears come forth. Luckily the shepherd belonged to a friend. Had it been a stranger's "aggressive" breed dog? The situation could've gotten ugly.And I really don't think the dog was at fault.

  3. Seriously, the dog parks I go to have signs that don't allow kids under the double digits, but that doesn't stop some parents for letting them run and scream and chase weird dogs. I'd LOVE my nieces to come with me to the dog park one day, but they're not old enough yet and I'm okay with that. I seriously just wait for something bad to happen with strange kids chasing strange dogs. C'mon, people, it's a dog park, not a second back yard.

  4. Yea, it made me really mad. I told everybody as I left, "We're going, my dogs are afraid of children" (which was only true for Ike). I am a huge dog advocate and I will always go out of my way to defend a dog, but if I was a parent, I sure as hell wouldn't bring an underage child to mill about with a bunch of strange dogs, who may hate children. Same goes for puppies or small dogs, I don't take my Shiba puppy or pomeranian to dog parks due to risk of injury or theft, so why would somebody bring a toddler?

  5. One of the last times I was at a dog park, a family brought their dog, their four children…and a KFC bucket of food and proceeded to have a picnic. Inside the dog park. They were totally shocked that my dogs were begging, and when I asked them to please read the rules next time, the dad got angry with me, to the point that my husband had to intervene. Idiots. Children and food should not be in the dog park. Especially not together.

  6. Wow, I can't stand people let alone kids. I also can't stand it when people don't follow posted rules (don't get me started on speed limits…) and the ones at dog parks are there for good reason. Even if you have a well behaved child who's constantly at your side, what if a child-aggressive dog happens to be in the park? I'd feel bad for the dog, not the kid.

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