Sunday, September 21, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Are we there yet?: Observations from the dog park

TanyaPereznewW

By
From page A8 | February 26, 2014 |

I’ve been a dog park attendee for 20-plus years, but it’s only in the past few months have I formed some bitter opinions. Keep in mind that the following is about my particular experiences at the dog park; this is not a news article.

When my husband and I lived in Richmond, Va., with our first Labrador retriever, Fenway, there was an informal area near our house where dog owners let their pups run off-leash. It was tons of fun for the dogs, and the people mostly got along.

I think the main advantage of this park was that it wasn’t fenced, so people could spread out … if someone wasn’t a people-person, he could easily avoid other humans. Also in our favor was the fact that Fenway was an adult dog, so she didn’t have some of the same issues a puppy has.

In 2005, we were thrilled when Davis’ Toad Hollow Dog Park opened. We had two Labradors, Daisy and Boomer, who needed some socialization and exercise. However, they were litter-mates and had a distinctly annoying way of ganging up on other dogs, in a playful yet intimidating fashion. We quickly realized that taking those two to the dog park together was way too obnoxious, and we didn’t want to subject others to their antics.

When we had only Daisy, we reintroduced visits to Toad Hollow. She was a very amiable dog and had a way of “keeping the peace” whenever she saw dogs scuffling. She would skip on over to the canine combatants and hover around the edge of their disagreement, wagging, as if saying, “C’mon, guys! Can’t we all just get along?” Daisy never made an enemy at the dog park, and it was very easy for our teenaged sons to take her there without us.

Not so now that we have Pauley. Our kids don’t have the authoritative demeanors that are now necessary when making a trip to the dog park.

And it’s not because our dog is a problem. Our 7-month-old Labrador/golden retriever cross is a joy … very easy-going and friendly. And although we’d been told by a veterinary student at UC Davis’ “Yappy Hour” that it’s best to wait until dogs are a bit older — 6 months and beyond — before introducing them to dog parks, we were eager to take Pauley there. (Many of the behavioral problems the UCD vets see are related to bad experiences in the first 16 weeks of life.) We had a genial, sociable pup, not a troublemaker, and we were conscientious and competent dog owners … what could possibly go wrong?

Soon after Pauley had received all of her shots — just past her 4-month birthday — I took her to Toad Hollow to find out.

We started in the small-dog area of the park, for those under 30 pounds, and it was a rousing success. Pauley played, romped and socialized, never having an issue with any of the more diminutive of the species.

And I’ll be honest: I had negative expectations of the small-dog park. I thought many of the pups would have Napoleon complexes and go after the bigger dogs; I anticipated irritating little yappers that would teach Pauley incessant barking and nipping behaviors. But it turned out to be a safe haven for us. The dogs and owners I experienced there were a delight, even as Pauley had many annoying puppy tendencies.

With our confidence bolstered, Pauley and I moved into the main area of Toad Hollow, for dogs of all sizes. We had problems right off. It became apparent that Pauley’s puppiness was a trigger for some dogs’ aggressive instincts. They would home right in on her scampering and frolicking, and pounce on her, pinning her to the ground by her neck. Maybe this is fine in the wild, but what human owner wants to see her 16-week-old puppy be terrified? And what dog owner thinks it’s OK to stand there and do nothing?

This happened to Pauley quite a few times, and the passive owners who didn’t intervene became the bane of my dog-park existence. Seriously, I would look around for the owner of whichever dog was “dominating” my puppy, and often said owner would be right nearby, practically whispering, “Oh, Rover, leave the puppy alone.”

“WALK OVER THERE AND PULL YOUR DOG OFF MINE!” I would fume to myself.

Instead, I would walk over to the brute and scoop up Pauley, scurrying back to the safety of the small-dog area. No apology ever came from the offending dog’s owner, who, incidentally, was almost invariably a college-aged person with a quiet voice and no ability — no interest? — to control a big or aggressive dog.

Now that Pauley is older and bigger, she can handle herself better; she is not as much a target for the more aggressive dogs. But I do look over wistfully at the small-dog area, which we’ve grown out of, and long for the better-behaved dogs and people.

Friendly reminder of the Toad Hollow Dog Park rules
* Dogs must be licensed and fully vaccinated
* No puppies less than 4 months old or female dogs in heat
* No more than three dogs per person
* Remove aggressive dogs immediately
* Supervise and maintain voice control over your dog
* No children under age 12 unless supervised by an adult
* Carry a leash at all times for each dog
* Clean up after your dog
* No activities unrelated to dogs allowed

— City of Davis Community Development Department

— Tanya Perez is an associate editor at The Enterprise. Her column publishes every other week on Wednesdays or Thursdays. Reach her at tperez@davisenterprise.net. Follow her on Twitter at @enterprisetanya

Comments

comments

.

News

Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

 
Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

 
Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12

 
.

Forum

Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

 
Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

 
Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

 
Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery

.

Sports

DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

 
Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

 
Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
.

Business

UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8