We’ve been to three of the four dog exercise parks in Lake County and have discovered that all dog parks are not the same. All dog owners are not the same either.
We love Prairie Wolf — it’s the one closest to us and the one we visit most often. It’s clean. The people are friendly. The dogs are, well, dogs. There’s nothing we don’t like (love!) about this park and I’m very thankful that this is the one closest to us, particularly since Lola can’t manage to hold the contents of her stomach long enough to go much further than that in one sitting.
We like the Independence Grove park but it’s closed right now due to construction along Milwaukee Ave. We discovered this yesterday when we attempted to visit it. Oy. We should have checked before we left but we didn’t — so we decided to drive the extra 11 miles to go to another one, since we were already out there. Lola’s stomach actually held out (though she didn’t quite make it home again, poor dog.)
The Duck Farm park is big and wide open. There’s not a lot of shade. The few wooded trails aren’t cleared enough for people to enjoy walking along them with the dogs, though the dogs did enjoy rambling through them a little bit. The dogs also enjoyed romping through the prairie and since there were fewer dogs than at the other two parks, they did a LOT of running with each other. There aren’t many water (mud!) spots at this park either. A real let down for our two mud lovers.
And, we encountered a couple walking a PACK of huskies. It was a literal pack, as in when the three off leash chased Skeeter, who yelped as she does when surrounded by dogs that intimidate her, the woman yelled to her male companion “be careful she’s alpha and she’s going to attack to protect her pack.” And she did. Or tried to. The dude launched himself on the alpha of the pack while his female partner screamed at him that he was out of line for doing that. While he yelled “What was I supposed to do, let her attack someone else’s dog” and… it was ugly. And uncomfortable. And a little scary.
While I agreed with the chick that his reaction wasn’t the best, she clearly had no control over her pack and her attempt to control the alpha weren’t doing the job, either.
It’s people like this that give dog parks a bad name. If you have a badly controlled pack of animals, a dog park may not be the best place to exercise them off-leash (even if your alpha is on a leash.)