And we just keep growing . . . awesome!
Stats as of 8/2/19:
Households – 608 Dogs – 787
This year and last season, we have experienced an enormous growth spurt – and we are excited to see so many wagging tails and smiling faces. We have a fantastic dog community. But, with our growth, the scales have finally tipped – we have more new members than we do returning members – and many of the returning members were “new” last season.
This means lots of dogs and humans experiencing the dog park and all that goes with it for the first time. Isn’t it wonderful how well hundreds of dogs and humans get along?
But, having said that, we have had to re-sort the topics for our general member email blast due to a whole lot of not-so-great playground activity the past 2-3 weeks. Issues are piling up, folks.
Rather than single out any one dog or any one human – we will address important playground topics, mostly dog behavior, language, and interactions – and their human’s responses. At the end of the email, are links to a very informative newsletter and our User Guide. Both worth reading.
Please take a few minutes to read the Playground Do’s and Don’ts below.
Often times the dog misbehaving continues to “play” and the dog harassed or hurt goes home. Is that fair? Is that how we want our dog’s playground to operate? Do you want your dog to give up his playtime because another dog is acting out? No.
If you cannot control your dog or if you are afraid to get involved when your dog gets into a scuffle – you may not be suited to dog park life. Owners MUST act responsibly when on the dog park grounds. This means keeping your eyes on your dog, anticipating potential problems, being receptive to other members who express a concern, and removing your dog or redirecting your dog’s attention as needed. It is not ok to stand by and force other members to take care of your dog.
But, please, find the balance. Let your dog be a dog. In most situations – the dogs will work it out on their own – give them a chance to learn, and earn, their self confidence. Being a helicopter furbaby parent is not doing your pooch any favors – you will stifle their growth and social development. Find where the line is and learn when to step in and when to let them work it out. You and your pup can learn together.
Stop your dog – this is not allowed. Humping is a sign of aggression – it is a dominance thing not a sexual thing. Either remove your dog by going home or for a walk away from the dog park dog or re-direct the focus – go to another area of the dog park, engage in a new game, etc. Just STOP IT!
Your dog may be wonderfully rambunctious and full of play – but if he engages with a dog that is intimidated or overwhelmed by the overture – hopefully, your dog will pick up the cue from the other dog. If he does not – you must take action, especially if the other dog’s owner requests it. Please, don’t let your dog become a playground bully. Find the right playmates for your dog – and give the quiet or shy dogs some breathing room.
And, then, there will be the few dogs that just don’t get along with anyone. If – after giving your dog several different play partners and different play scenarios – you find that he is still viewed as a trouble maker – well, maybe the truth is your dog is not socially developed enough for large scale playground interaction.
See the newsletter link below. Pages 14-20.
Dear Members – it is not ok to threaten or intimidate other members. Keep your cool, please. Foul language and threats are unacceptable. It is also not ok to be clueless of your dog’s whereabouts or behavior. Plase, do not bury yourself in your devices; stay alert.
We all care about safety – at SWCDP, we always say “Safety First”. But this is a dog park – and you must understand that at some point some of the dogs and some of the humans will get hurt. It’s gonna happen! How many of us have been knocked to the ground by dogs racing past us – or received a scrape or even a bite when trying to separate dogs in a scuffle? And how many 4-Leggeds have gotten roughed up a bit during play – or even while trying to mind his own business? It happens – not very often – but it does happen.
This process is run by your peers, our volunteers – but most times, we are not present when the incident happens. Please, provide enough info, including witnesses when possible, when you submit an incident report. We always insist that both sides (or all involved parties) have equal opportunity to tell their version of what happened.
If a dog is involved in a scuffle or fight, or is reported as a problem – the dog will be placed on the Watch List. We do not publish this list, purposely. We will watch for behavior trend lines. We want all our dogs to succeed on the playground and do not want any of our dogs to get a negative reputation undeservedly. We try to work things out, advise owners, and look for positive outcomes. Rarely, is it necessary for a dog to be banned from the dog park. Maybe one per year in extreme cases.
All of this and more is outlined in the SWCDP User Guide. Have you read it lately? Click here:
Also – take a look at our comprehensive newsletter from Summer 2015. Disregard the date sensitive pages, of course, but the topics for dog behavior, training and tips, are timeless. Pages 14-20 – especially the section about TRASH TALK (growling & vocalization) are great. Most aggressively sounding barking comes from mid-ranking males who are blustering because they are insecure and unsure of their social standing. Read it!
Please, continue to enjoy your dog park. Just do it in a smart and collegial way.