Sunday, November 2, 2008

WTF: The Prequel

Taking a cue from the 4B's, I'm putting some happy pictures while I tell you about some really stupid and annoying people Momma and I met last night at the dog run. You can see what this dog run looks like here. As you can see, my posse of big dogs can get pretty physical when we play. These are the rules that are also posted at the dog run: 

Rules & Regulations:
  • Dogs may not be left unattended.
  • The dog run is NOT a playground. Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult and should be closely supervised.
  • Entry and use of the dog run is at your own risk.
  • Skateboards, bicycles, scooters and strollers must be left outside the dog run.
  • Clean up after your dog. Animal waste must be promptly removed and properly disposed of.
  • Dogs must be licensed and have all shots and tags.

Should be pretty clear, right? Well... I was playing guarding the people in the dog run and the other dog, a young, little black lab. Since it was quiet and there wasn't much going on, Momma was on the phone, and the little black lab's dad was on his phone too. Suddenly, a kid on a SCOOTER came zipping down the boardwalk along the fence, so I told Momma he was there and I barked and barked and ran along the fence with him. He looked like he was 6 or 7. Then, he started coming IN the first gate to the run, on his scooter. Momma grabbed my collar and got off the phone, pronto.

Momma started asking questions right away: 

Momma: Where are your parents? Do you have a dog? Don't bring your scooter in here.
Li'l WTF: I want to come play with the dogs!!!!
Momma: Where's your dog? Do you have a grownup with you? DO NOT bring your scooter in here! 
Li'l WTF: Why not?
Momma: Did you just hear my dog barking at you? He does NOT like scooters.
Big WTF (outside the dog run): I'm his dad. He wants to come in and play with the dogs. 
(Li'l WTF starts opening the 2nd gate, but has thankfully left his scooter in the vestibule.)
Momma: This is a DOG RUN, not a playground. You can't just send your little kid in here to play with the dogs.
Big WTF: But he loves dogs, and he can't have one at home because his mom's allergic.
Momma: Do you see the rules posted on the door? They're there for a reason. These dogs aren't here for your kid to play with. People are not supposed to come in here without a dog, and kids are NOT allowed in here alone.
Big WTF: Oh, I'm watching him. 
(During this time, Li'l WTF has been "playing", by which I mean taunting, the little black lab, whose dad is still on his phone. The little black lab is maybe 40-50 lbs, and starts jumping on Li'l WTF out of excitement. At this point, Li'l WTF starts screaming and runs to Momma and grabs her leg, and finally little black lab's dad comes over and pulls his dog off Li'l WTF who is still screaming and hanging onto Momma's leg while I am standing on the other side of her leg while she holds my collar. These people are WEIRD and very, very stupid.)
Momma: Oh you are? How are you "watching" him now?
Other Dog Dad ("introducing" his dog to Li'l WTF): She's very friendly, there's nothing to worry about. Look, she's very nice. 
Momma: The dog run is for DOGS. It's not safe for small children.  Take your kid to a playground!

Momma was so exasperated she put me on the leash and walked me out and around the park for a bit. Then she saw the Li'l WTF leave, so we started going back to the run, when who do we run into AGAIN but Li'l WTF on his scooter coming straight for us! Big WTF was nowhere in sight. Li'l WTF was hollering and making an awful racket on his scooter, and I could feel Momma's angry feeling rising again. She put her hand up like the stay command and she started yelling at him and she was all like, WHAT did I just tell you and YOU LEAVE US ALONE and I TOLD you not to bother us and you are going to get attacked by a dog someday if you keep it up and GO AWAY NOW!

And then she started walking away and he still tried to follow us on the scooter and Momma turned and yelled STOP FOLLOWING US and LEAVE US ALONE and then Big WTF saw us and he finally started calling his pipsqueak kid and left us alone. And the we went back to the dog run and played. The End.

Momma's note: Biggie was actually angelic through the whole episode even though I was secretly hoping that he would go cujo on the kid just to put the fear in him. But through it all he never growled, pulled or even twitched. This dumbass kid was so little he was pretty much eye-to-eye with Biggie.  (dragging soapbox again) Biggie probably would have been fine and gentle with the kid but I just didn't want to reward Li'l WTF for his complete stupidity. What kid runs into a dog run to "play" with a dog that moments before was barking furiously at him on the other side of a fence? And what dumbass oblivious parent lets his kid do this, thinking that sitting on the other side of two latched gates is somehow "watching" his child? I don't know which pisses me off more. I had visions of this kid growing up to be the type who taunts a dog who is tied up or on the other side of the fence and then is outraged when the dog gets aggressive in response. WTFs start early.

(Little black lab's dad doesn't score any points with me either. He didn't notice when the kid came into the run (at first I thought it was his kid), then didn't come over to supervise his dog playing with Li'l WTF. Then, when Li'l WTF is running away from his dog, he's slow to get to the dog and THEN, despite the words I am having with Big WTF, does not question why the kid is in the run alone and does not teach the kid how to approach a dog. Although, granted, that's not really his job; it's the job of the WTF on the other side of the fence.)

Parents: whether you have a dog or not, make sure your child knows a) good manners upon approaching any dog, and b) that NO means NO. Provoking, taunting, teasing, poking, hitting, and grabbing are NEVER allowed. Every dog, no matter how friendly and calm, no matter how big or small, can be pushed beyond its limits. EVERY dog-child interaction must be closely supervised. A dog bite can happen in an instant, and it is not always the dog's fault. 


jan said...

It's so sad how the ignorant few can try to ruin things for the rest of us. I have to feel sorry for the child, with that kind of influence he doesn't have much of a chance in life.

Amber-Mae said...

My gosh! That Lil'WTF & Big WTF are sooo stooopid!!! Seriously, that kid needs to wear a choke chain & a leash...

Butt wiggles,
Solid Gold Dancer

the 4 Bs said...

we see lots and lots of clueless humans at our dog park-some of them even have dogs with them.. we will see toddlers and we think that it would be so easy to knock one of them down, but we don't. dumb little kids will run up to us to pet us. little Benson runs away, but i, Baxter will let them put their dirty little hands all over me. it's a good thing i'm such a gentle boy. one time we saw two little kids swimming naked in our river at the dog park! mom said that was really stupid. humans are dumb sometimes.


Peanut said...

Don't blame the kid. He needs some parents who teach him that no means no and what to do around dogs. He obviously doesn't have them. Poor child.

Huck said...

Sorry about those WTFs. My mom gets angry at the dog park too so we don't go very often. The rules of our park say "NO UN-NEUTERED DOGS" but WTFs bring them in ALL THE TIME. And guess what? They always start fights! Mom wishes one of the rules was "No WTFs allowed". That would solve everything.

Georgeous said...

And my Mum envies you all having dog parks, sounds like something else to get het up over?
Always the hoomans behind spoiling our fun eh Biggie?
Love George

Stanislaw said...

It always makes my folks happy when kids say "may I pet your dog?" before leaping all over us. People require canines to have manners, but not their children! Someone get that kid a prong collar!

Dannan and The Girl said...

Great post, Biggie's Momma! And Biggie, you did pawsomely! You were very well-behaved in the face of all that WTF-ery.

The Girl hates being at the dog park with me when there are a lot of people. Almost none of them supervise their dogs; then one of those doggies will get rude with me and I'll tell him off, and because the hooman wasn't watching (The Girl: and probably wouldn't know which dog was properly behaving anyway!), they say it was *my* fault.

The Girl also does humane education in elementary schools, and she ALWAYS tells the kids (over and over) that you have to ask before you approach a dog! And that when you are given permission, put out your fist for the dog to sniff, then pet UNDER the chin (NOT on top of the head!).

Yikes, this has hit a nerve with The Girl. I've told her to get down off the soapbox, and write a post at her bloggy about meeting dogs!

Brown dog kisses,
Dannan and The Girl

konczk said...

Hey, just wanted to add a few comments concerning the Kuvasz.

My family used to own one when I was a teenager in Hungary. I cannot add a lot to what anonymous Dave had written about the breed, he pretty much exhausted the topic, but a few things might be of interest:

- Kuvaszok are generally mistreated and handled rough in their native Hungary. Few of them are socialized and most tend to be "employed" by companies who throw them into a fenced yard to guard company property. They will be fed once a day but receive no human contact. They are often chained during the day and let loose for the night. These dogs will go completely cujo on anyone who dares to enter, which was of course the whole point in the first place. These completely wild dogs are responsible for the majority of dog bites in Hungary, though the bites are generally delivered to trespassing thieves and are almost never fatal. Unsocialized kuvaszok often "bite the hand that feed them", though i would probably do the same if somebody chained me up and left me alone in a factory yard without any human contact.

- well socialized kuvaszok are supremely loyal to their families and protect them to the death. That said, Males might try to take over the leadership of the family at some point in their lives. As with other semi-wild breeds that are closer to wolves than domesticated dogs (like the Husky or Samoyed), this is usually directed at the head of the family (the male) and must be countered in a professional manner. Hungarian sheepherders were not the sensitive type and generally used a large stick for this purpose but these days more sophisticated methods are available. Once the dominance of the Male pack leader is established the attack is unlikely to re-occur. Female kuvaszok and cut males are will probably not try this and even uncut males would never attack a female owner.

- Kuvaszok are extremely sensitive emotionally, far more so than any other breed I have encountered. Like elephants, they never forget and can hold a grudge their whole lives. More so than other breeds they must be treated with respect and the owner must be sensitive to their emotional responses. Most dog breeds will love their owners unconditionally even if they are mistreated on occassion. A kuvasz will take revenge for past mistreatment when you least expect.

Please don't infer from this that I am trying to scare you, what I am attempting to convey is that kuvaszok must be treated as sentient beings capable of every type of human emotion. If you mistreat your children, they might retaliate when they grow up. The same is true of kuvaszok. Experience shows that properly handled kuvaszok do not present any behavioural problems and I am confident Biggie will be a perfect, loyal companion throughout his life. Jerks however do exist, and this is a warning to them. DO NOT get a kuvasz if you like taunting and mistreating dogs. When the time comes, your Kuvasz will kill you, just as you deserve.

- Kuvaszok have been used to hunt Wild Boar and Bear, thus unlike other LGDs they might chase and try to hunt down wildlife when let loose.

- they tend to exhibit flock guarding behaviour with other animals in the family. Our female kuvasz attended to the birth of kittens, licked them clean and guarded them as her own while the mother was away on errands. All our cats trusted her to guard their kittens without a second thought. Kitties liked to sleep on her as if she were a big fluffy pillow.

- our female was extremely serene and completely lacked any aggression when taken outside her territory. She just ignored yapping little dogs that foolishly charged at her. There was a Dachshund in the neighborhood though that constantly taunted her, knowing she cannot get to the other side of the fence. A couple of times she did manage to get out though and gave the dachshund a good shaking. She would grab her entire body with her teeth, legs dangling at either end of her jaws and shake her furiously, growling like a lion. No amount of shouting and beating could persuade her to let go. When she was satisfied the other dog learnt her lesson she let her go. She could have obviously just crushed her like a chicken, but she never did hurt her seriously. This is how smart kuvaszok are!

- Obedience training your Kuvasz early on is essential. We skipped this with ours and when she was older she would follow orders only when she felt like it. Despite this we all adored her. When I moved abroad and she got seriously ill, she refused to die until I returned for the Christmas Holidays. As i said their loyalty is extreme!

- We used to breed Kuvasz puppies and even at a few weeks of age the differences between males and females were pronounced. Males were far more aloof, impervious to pain and did not particularly crave human contact. The female puppies were far gentler and loved to be in physical contact with us. Due to this, I believe female kuvaszok are better suited to city life, males will do better in their traditional roles on a ranch or a farm. Although as in your case, proper training and attention can bridge the differences.


Lindsay said...

Yeah that is very frustrating.

There was one woman who pushed her baby stroller ahead of her into the big dog side of our dog park. I couldn't believe that she would do that. And when five or six big dogs of course ran up to the baby, only myself and my friend did anything to restrain our dogs. Even worse, the mother talked to her friends and didn't push a single dog away from the baby. She ALLOWED all the strange dogs to lick the baby in the face! Luckily no dogs bit, scratched or knocked the stroller over.

Mango said...

Ugh. What is wrong with people? I had an incident with my other mastiff, Raja (who did NOT like anybody) where this kid was with her mom and she just ran up, knelt down, and got in Raja's face. I told her to back off because I could see Raja getting ready to say the same thing in sronger terms. Needless to say, the mother just told me how much the kid loved dogs and I had to yank Raja away from the situation.

You must be so proud of your CGC who is taking these WTF people in stride.


Saint Lover said...

oh man! This is precisely why I dont like going to the public parks and will pay an arm and a leg to belong to parks were the owners are much more well versed in "dog" and are monitored. Strollers are not allowed and children under 12 not allowed either and there is someone at the door to prevent entry.

WTF's like that are always the first ones to sue and go nuts when something happens. They egg on situations, its almost like he's looking for a payday. GRRRRRRRR

Biggie-Z said...

I know, poor Li'l WTF, with a parent that dumb, I worry that he will be bitten by a dog someday.

Dannan: Have your Girl write a post about it! So many people don't watch their dogs in the park - even P-Daddy thinks he can take me to the dog park and then have a coffee and read the paper. It drives Momma a little nuts.

Stan and Big Pupi- It is so nice when people ask! It is a much more comfortable situation. And people really need to know that NO means NO - the other day a grownup human reached out to pet me when I wasn't looking and Momma said no. Then she caught up to us at a crosswalk and I was standing there and she tried to cop a feel! She jerked her hand away pretty fast when I jerked my head back to see who was touching me.

Lindsay, she probably thought she was teaching her baby not to be scared of dogs. Oy.

Mango - So true. Dogs have their comfort levels just like people, but so many people don't realize that.

Lora - luckily here in NYC the rules are pretty much the same at the public parks and the private ones, and most people respect the rules - Biggie belongs to a private one as well. And you are so right about the WTFs/lawsuit thing - I told a friend who came to the run later that night after the WTFs had left and that was his first remark.

4Bs: that is crazy! Giardia much??
Luckily most people don't bring toddlers and strollers into the run, and luckily Biggie is very conscious of where the little people (and big people) are. Just this morning a big golden puppy knocked a grown woman onto her back because he ran right behind her legs.

Biggie-Z said...

konzck, I could be reading a post about Biggie, everything you say is so true about this breed! One thing I have found, at least with the conscientious breeders in N. America, is that they try to breed for a sweeter temperament. And it doesn't make them any less protective - they are incredibly loyal and attached to their humans and, in Biggie's case, anyone who is a friend or owns a dog that is a friend of ours. And he remembers them after a single meeting.

It makes me sad to hear about them being treated harshly as LGDs, because they can be so warm and loving and cuddly (though on their own terms!). Our breeder had a provision in our puppy contract that he would live indoors and not be used for guarding livestock or businesses.

Just the same, he guards the dog run and everyone in it - I will have to post video sometime.

Marmalade said...

Wow--I'm appalled by the behavior. We don't go to the dog park--we prefer trails. The times we've been have been weird. Bernie and I think parents should have to take tests before having a kid--some are just too clueless for words. Luckily the people in our neighborhood are nice and know their way around dogs. This one time, a kid told Dad he thought I was an ugly dog--the neighbor lady gave him a good talking to and he apologized. It made me sad, though, since the kid was only 3.