Address: 2401 E Yukon St, Tampa, FL 33604
I’m going to begin blogging about dog parks starting…now! I’m still going to blog about a bunch of other stuff (probably much more often now that I’m finishing school), so if you’re not into dog parks or don’t live in Florida, skip the dog park posts but still stay tuned.
Rowlett dog park was okay. It’s in the northern part of Tampa not far from where I live, so that appealed to me. It looked different from any other dog park I’ve been to–as soon as you enter, you walk on an extended wooden walkway. My dog seemed to like that.
There were many cool things around for dog agility. I haven’t trained my dog in agility, but sometimes I think I’d like to, just for the fun of it, so it’s nice to know there are parks with agility courses nearby.
I saw a small dog area that also had an agility course, but it was locked up. I couldn’t find a sign stating a reason for it being closed. The small dog area looked very small in comparison to the rest of the park.
I really wish the small dog area had been open. We didn’t have the best experience at this park. There were several dogs there, all large, and two of them would not leave my dog alone. They weren’t overly aggressive and were just trying to play, I’m sure, but one of them kept barking over and over, which was scaring my dog, and together they were guarding him so he couldn’t run away.
At one point, Walnut, yelping in fear, broke away from the two large dogs to chase after me and a woman sitting on a picnic table said, “Run for your life!” to him. I’m sure she was joking, but it added to a feeling that my small dog didn’t belong there. She was essentially making fun of my dog for being harassed.
I sat alone on a bench to read and my dog stayed pretty close to me since he was now scared. The dog that wouldn’t stop barking, kept coming over. Walnut would then hide under the bench and the big dog would stand there and bark at him. At one point the owner finally came over and pulled his dog away, but he acted irritated with me, as if the problem was my dog hiding under the bench rather than his dog barking repeatedly.
I know a lot about dogs and dog behavior and never know exactly how much to share with others when I’m at the dog park. I don’t want to come off as rude or condescending. Really though, dogs shouldn’t be continually barking at the dog park. It riles up the other dogs and even if the barking dog isn’t aggressive, consistent barking in a large group of dogs can lead to a dog fight. Dog owners who allow their dog to bark over and over at the park annoy me, though I usually don’t say anything and I didn’t say anything this day.
I also know a lot about dog owners and feel like many large dog owners do not like small dogs and vice-versa. Now maybe that wasn’t the case here, but it sure felt like it. There were several large dogs at the park, two of them acting inappropriately and terrifying my small dog, and all the humans essentially laughed at my dog instead of feeling bad for him or trying to intervene.
Later, a couple came into the dog park with another small dog. Not as small as my 9-pound dog, but maybe in the 20-30 lbs. range. The annoying barking dog began circling it, barking at it, scaring it, and generally not leaving it alone and shortly after, the other dog that had been harassing my dog began circling and guarding it. One of the small dog’s owners asked, “Whose dogs are these?” but no one answered him. Finally, the couple physically picked their dog up to get it away from the other two dogs and then they left, carrying their dog all the way out. I felt bad they had to experience that, but it also gave me vindication that it showed the dog owners that the issue was blatantly the two large dogs barking and guarding and not my dog acting scared. I decided to leave too.
I know one (or two) bad dogs shouldn’t ruin an entire dog park for me, but I don’t think I’ll be coming back to Rowlett any time soon unless the small dog section opens back up. I’ve been to a lot of dog parks and noticed two things: 1, they have regulars who come week after week and 2, they each have a certain culture. Maybe this was an off day at Rowlett, but I don’t want Walnut to have to face those annoying dogs again, and I don’t want to be around dog owners who laugh instead of intervening when a dog is being bullied.