We've taken Higgins to our neighborhood dog park three times now. After the first time I remember thinking that it was better if both Adam and I took him. The first two times we took him he was a little bit skittish to go in and even last night, he had his tail between his legs when the first couple of bigger dogs came up to him. I don't think he'd end up in any trouble but he did come from first an abusive home and then the pound so we still don't know how he'll react in any given situation. Especially after last night, I have a strong feeling that the dog park is a total crapshoot, since it's a completely different crowd of dogs and owners every day.
Luckily, our Higgy wasn't in any type of incident but there was a bigger dog that started playing rough with a smaller dog. I'm of the opinion that the smaller dog was sort of antagonizing the bigger dog but Adam disagrees. Either way, the main thing that was clear was that the owner of the smaller dog should have separated his dog from the bigger one long before it escalated to what it did. The little guy wasn't hurt but the big dog did take it from playing to a possible bad situation. Personally, I don't let Higgins play bite us, I don't want him to think it's ok to put his teeth on anyone (or any dog) even if he's only playing. I don't even like him to snap at the other dogs, although we think he just likes to get other pups to chase him around the park so he can run. When they first started playing, I assumed that they were both owned by the same person since the owner of the big dog was the only one that was being proactive in trying to keep them separated and playing safe. The bottom line for me was that both owners were partially at fault. The little tiff that their dogs ended up in could have been prevented if they had both been involved in separating their dogs sooner. The owner of the small dog yelled at the owner of the large dog and created a bit of a scene with some choice words that I don't think are ok to be yelled in public. I think it was a 50/50 situation of responsibility on both owners. Mostly it was just awkward for everyone there and a little bit sad because I think it could have and should have been prevented.
It was a good lesson to learn since Higgins does like to almost "tease" other dogs to be chased around. I feel even more strongly now that it's important that both of us take him so we can each be watching closely to make sure he's having safe interactions. Even once we get to know his personality at the park even better, a new dog could show up and end up fighting with him.
Despite the whole thing being rather sad, it was almost humorous because the bark park reminds me so much of taking kids to a regular park or playground. There's always going to be jerky parents who don't feel it's necessary to take responsibility and playground drama, I suppose.
This is usually how Higgins can be found after running his little heart out at the dog park. How did we ever live without this cute little dude?