Just curious, as we live in Finland... are there any general rules of thumb regarding kids in the dog park? Is there an age requirement to be there without an adult?
We have found several young kids (under 12 years old) have been frequenting the dog park we go to. I don't see how a small girl of 10 years old can be safe in a dog park..what if a big dog knocks her down or what if her dog was to get into something with another dog, how in the world would she seperate 2 dogs who probably weigh more then she does?!?!
How is it in the US?
It also does not help that they bring ALL kinda of trinkets and toys and fluffy things with them, leave them sitting on the benches and then get in a tizzy when my big goofy puppy grabs them and runs off with them... :P
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The dog park Rory and I used to go too regularly had a rule- no children under 12 PERIOD. Of course people would bring in their 2 year olds and let them run around, driving some of the dogs with high prey drives absolutely crazy. I remember one time a child about that age would go around and take balls from some of the dogs mouths!
In our area there really are no rules to the age of children, but there are warnings and signs posted that all children must be attended to at all times. Most people use comman sense and do not bring their children, but as we all know there are a lot of people that have no sense at all. There are a couple of parks that I go to, at both there are little kids, wagons, strollers, and 10 dogs within 20 feet just waiting to knock them down.
When it comes to balls and toys in the dog park, most people either leave it at home, keep it with them, or they lose it, most dog owners go along with this common knowledge. Although there is the ocasional new person that learns quickly.
Ours has a sign posted about no small children or infants, as well as no food or treats.* Those get broken all the time.* The only time I spoke up is when some dumb couple brought in an infant and they were standing out in the middle of the area where the dogs all sprint in a pack up to the picnic tables under the trees.* She was holding the kid in her arms standing with her back to the rest of the park.* I didn't want to be too rude, so I was standing there talking to one of the girls I know a bit and told her "dramatically" in a fairly big voice about the previous weekend when a woman got run over by the pack and smacked her head on the ground really hard.* It was scary to watch.
They left.* Quickly.* And they haven't brought the baby back, though I've seen them several times since.*
There are no posted rules about children in dog parks around here, but generally people assume that if there are children in the park, they must be calm and supervised at all times. What you describe has happened in our dog park a few times (kids come and run around waving toys or tree branches), and typically an adult (or a gang of adults!) will ask the parents to keep their children calm or leave.
Our local rules are Parents should refrain from bringing toddlers and small children under 10 years of age into the park, unless they are willing to keep the children out of harms way and accept full responsibility for their safety
Local law requires that the person "in control" of the dog in a dog park or on a leash in a regular park, be 18 years or older.
Bringing small children to a "bark park" is an idea right up there with wearing whites to the park.* ;D
Our park rules are "no children under 8". I routinely see children under 8 ... and, usually they are playing in the sand in the park. Yup, totally and completely grosses me out!
I'm in So. California and we don't have any signs posted at the parks I've been to either. For the most part I have only seen tennis balls and an occasional other type of throw toy. The tennis balls often get left behind as there are lots of them around.
I've taken my son with me to the dog park on numerous occasions - he was probably 8-1/2 the first time we went and he has strict rules on what he can or cannot do. He is never to be near more than 2 dogs at one time, he cannot touch the dogs if they are near another dog etc.. If there is any kind of rucous he is the first one to want to leave - he doesn't like it. For the most part he just climbs the trees or throws balls for dogs that usually bring them to him.
I don't stay if there are too many dogs, I prefer never to have more than about 4-5 in a group at any given time so we tend to be on the move all of the time at the dog park just to avoid any packs that start.
Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky
Last winter, there was a couple in the dog park we frequent dragging a sled with a baby in it. Dogs kept running over to see what was going on (mine included ...this was early in our 'leave it' training) and the couple were getting ticked at the dogs, pushing them away. I was furious! Why would you drag a baby around a dog park ?????
Funny you should mention this subject today!* Maxi and I were at the park again this morning, and a lady approached us with her young daughter (she wasn't in school, so I'm guessing about 5 years old?).* I always retract Maxi's leash to about 3 feet as we pass people on the trail, and the Mom noticing this, tapped her daughter on the shoulder and they both stopped walking.* I thought they meant to stay there as we passed, but all of a sudden the little girl took one step forward and asked "Is your dog friendly, and will she let me pet her?"* It was the cutest thing I'd ever seen, but I realized that the Mom was making this a lesson of sorts for her child, so I very seriously told her that Max was friendly, and asked in return whether she would mind if Maxine kissed her if we came closer.* Big smiles all around, and in talking to them for a few moments while they were loving on Max, I learned that the family was contemplating getting a dog, and the Mom was trying to get a head start on teaching her little girl proper behavior and etiquette around dogs.* She had no fear and tended to run headlong towards any dog she saw, as though they were all stuffed animals who would appreciate a hug.*
I've smiled over that incident on and off all day.* * This family will be GREAT dog owners!!!