Types of Dog Park People

4 Mar

Among The Dog Snobs, Fang is the only regular dog park user, and we respect her dedication to dealing with the idiocy within. (From Fang: It’s Private and I work for the owner. Everyone thinks I work there so I can flounce around with my dogs and do as I please without too much kerfuffle from the masses.) Despite not all being regular dog park users, we all do have some dog park experience and we have noticed some universal truths about the type of people that use Dog Parks. Inspired by this brilliant “Portlandia” bit we decided that it was high time we help classify the many other different types of people who frequent dog parks.

The Lothario:   Every park has one–the guy, usually in his late 30s or early 40s, who has turned the dog park into his own personal dating pool.  His M.O. involves sidling up to a woman (at least 10 years his junior), throwing out copious compliments (about the dog, of course), and then going in for the kill.  His typical uniform includes too-tight-denim, a leather biker jacket (note: he does not in fact, ride a motorcycle), and sunglasses, even on a cloudy day.  When not trolling the dog park for babes, The Lothario can be found in vintage record stores or chilling at the local coffee shop with the cutest (and youngest) baristas.

That cooked liver smell just does something for him.

The Helicopter Parent: Not to be confused with ‘The Nervous Mother’, the Helicopter Parent is on their dog like a pageant mom is on ‘pretty feet’. The Helicopter Parent is usually a novice dog owner with a Type A personality who has read every book on dog raising ever written and they’ve applied all the advice they’ve ever gotten. You can recognize them by their specific park-wear (usually lycra with color-coordinated polar fleece).

Pretty Feet! PRETTY FEET!

The Nervous Mother:  The nervous mother, although related to the helicopter parent, is less pushy than the helicopter parent, but a whole helluva lot more uptight.  This person is generally a first time dog owner with limited dog experience and even less skill at reading dog body language.  Easily identified by their constant outcries of “Ooh…is that ok?  I  can’t tell…are they playing?”, The Nervous Mother has ten-thousand questions and the memory of a garden slug. The amount of reassurance they require to make it through a twenty-minute outing is any capable person’s comfort-quota for a year. Thankfully, these parents are among the most metamorphic types and frequently grow out of their nervous status, particularly if they have young puppies. If not taken in hand early however, you risk them becoming ‘The Victim’.

“Are you sure he’s okay? What’s that other dog! Oh god he’s hemorrhaging!” ‘That’s just poop, Susan”

The Victim: A distant cousin to the Nervous mother and the Helicopter parent, The Victim is among the most annoying of park-goers. The slightest noise by any four legged creature is a direct assault on their snookums. Think your dogs are playing a raucous game of fetch? Nope, it’s a blood hunt, and the prey is their pooch. Dog’s playing in the pond? Nope, it’s an attempted drowning. You will hear the victim’s favorite phrase “CONTROL YOUR DOG!” shouted at nearby patrons as their own dog frequently ignores any semblance of commands spewing from their down-turned unhappy mouth.

“Reginald come back! I won’t let that Labradoodle molest you!”

The Antisocial Chuck-It Owner:  From the moment this person walks into the park, they make it perfectly clear that they are there to play fetch with their dog, and nothing else.   They will actively shoo any dogs away that dare try to interact with their focused pooch.  It gets really ugly if another dog takes the precious ball (cue Gollum, “my precioussssss”) away from their own dog.  Antisocial Chuck-It Owners have been known to loudly announce that they didn’t come to the dog park to “play” and enforce a 20 feet safety bubble around them at all times.

“Me, My dog, this plastic do-hickey… this is my happy place”

The Lazy Observer: “Oh is that my dog pooping? Oh. Well that’s inconvenient.” The Lazy Observer is often sitting on a park bench as far away from their own dog as humanly possible, and can usually be found fiddling with their smart phone.  When informed that their precious fluffy has pooped/started a fight/is being a pain in the ass, the Lazy Observer will momentarily raise their eyes from their smart-phone/tablet, scream, feebly call their dog (who almost always has a poor recall), and mutter some sort of apology while returning to their texting. Never expect the Lazy observer to pitch in. Poop right next to their chair? Indignant screeching will ensue if assistance is requested.

“Hauling this recliner here wore me out, could you clean up after Rex?”

The Park Emperor:  Taking their self-appointed role as Park Emperor very seriously, this person can usually be found dictating to the masses anything from poop shovel locations to whose dogs can socialize where. Thrones have been staked out so be wary of finding a place in their court without creating some unintended drama. Many within the park nobility also fall under the Lazy Observer heading purely because ruling over such a small fenced area is exhausting.

“That is NOT authorized use of the poop shovel!”

The Expert: The Expert knows it all, has done it all, and is going to tell you all about it. Have a Doberman? They bred Dobermans, who saved children from a wells, protected him their owners from all harm including identity theft, and could do advanced calculus. The Expert always has a story to out-story you and if those stories happen to resemble old episodes of Rin Tin Tin, it just adds to the experience.

Your dog has an obedience title? Well his dog has a movie franchise.

The Advisor:  Instantly recognizable by their passive-aggressive introduction of “If that were, my dog…”, The Advisor offers unsolicited advice at every turn. Although well-meaning, the advice is often inappropriate. The dog of The Advisor is often the worst behaved in the park, often causing mayhem while the owner is busy advising other park goers.

“If that were my dog I’d… wait, that is my dog.”

The Princess:   Waltzing in wearing white linen capris and ballet flats, this person is woefully unprepared for the realities of a dog park.  Not wanting to clash with her outfit, The Princess refuses to wear a bait-bag or other utilitarian dog tote, and chooses instead to stuff her treats into her Coach brand tote, not realizing that a) every dog in the park will soon be circling her like sharks to get to her treats, and b) her white linen pants are unlikely to stay white.  The Princess refuses to sit on any of the park benches and is hesitant to interact with any of the other plebeian park goers.  Don’t worry though, The Princess only makes an appearance at the dog park a few times per year.

“Keep your filthy paws off me, you animal!”

The Trainer: Similar to The Advisor, but with “professional” qualifications to back them up. These trainers are most often employees of large pet chains. They are usually seen commanding other people’s dog’s to sit, as if their six week certification course makes them a God among Dogs. Dogs, even well trained ones, usually stare at them as if they have two heads.

Even the dog is judging you.

Even the dog is judging you.

Can you think of any we missed? Share your experiences in the comments!


18 Responses to “Types of Dog Park People”

  1. Lin March 4, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Oh, thank dog I didn’t see me there.!

  2. tpvtoy March 5, 2013 at 1:15 am #

    The trainer: The last one was trying to bring his client’s two DA Labs into the park, as they tried to shred every dog that went by them. I told her that I hoped she wasn’t paying him very much, as his methods weren’t too impressive.

    The Princess: Eventually she will set her Coach bag on the ground and someone’s dog will pee on it.

    The Victim: Wants to know if it’s OK that her dog relentlessly humps others.
    “This is not touch football, mam.”

  3. Sara Kimmel March 5, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Wow… nailed it! I am a dog walker and the off-leash park is my office, I see each of these people on a daily basis… particularly the Nervous Mother, Victim, and Antisocial Chuck-it Owner. Awesome!

    • thedogsnobs March 9, 2013 at 3:57 am #

      Thanks! I can only imagine the crazy stories you must have as a dog-walker. 🙂 It’s good to know we’re on target. 🙂

  4. Rita Robinson Brown March 6, 2013 at 8:58 pm #

    I’m a senior dog owner, and I was glad to see that I wasn’t described, but I did recognize a few…love the park, the greatest amusement center in town!

    • thedogsnobs March 9, 2013 at 3:55 am #

      It’s a combination of people watching and circus fiasco most days. 🙂 Glad you could see some familiar types. 🙂

  5. dogstwentyfourseven March 7, 2013 at 2:33 am #

    I loved this! Your types were bang on.Thank you for the giggles and smiles,your accuracy was perfection.

    • thedogsnobs March 9, 2013 at 3:54 am #

      Thanks. Glad we amused some people other than ourselves. 🙂

  6. Kaitlin March 8, 2013 at 5:27 am #

    When we used to go to the dog park we had a particularly creepy “Lothario.” I would not have been surprised if he was a serial killer trying to find his next victim. He had a horribly trained GSD with NO social skills that he would completely ignore while he went off and chatted up the ladies. I actually called the police on him once because he was on the other side of the 5 acre park while his dog was terrorizing a puppy. He tried talking to me once and I just turned around and walked the other way. Note: I made sure no one was following me that day when I drove home.

    • thedogsnobs March 9, 2013 at 3:53 am #

      Yes, there’s always one. Keep safe out there. 🙂

  7. Mystika Denshol March 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    What about those people who who have horribly trained dogs who are actually terrorizing yours and the owner just says “oh, it’s okay, they are just playing.” The uncarables?

  8. Lolly May 7, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    I’ve got one! The Breed Obsessive: stands around guessing (usually incorrectly) the breed or breeds of all the other dogs, stereotyping all the dogs based on those (incorrect) breeds, and going on long soliloquies about what a typical Australian Shepherd their pug mix is, because for reasons completely unclear to the human eye, they’re convinced that their puggle is a shepherd. “LOOK, HE’S HERDING!” cries the owner when their dog moves more than twelve inches at a stretch. The Breed Obsessive can only be countered by carrying your dog’s papers with you. Otherwise they will contentiously, obstinately insist that your Shiba Inu is actually a Basenji.

  9. Anne May 17, 2013 at 4:22 am #

    I am an admitted nervous mother but I’m getting much better. I am a cat person whose children have finally steamrollered me into getting a dog. But I really do love our mutt. The first time I went to the dog park a terrier ran up to hump my puppy while the owners were running yelling it’s okay, he’s neutered! I figured if my pup got pissed off enough she’d bite him or something.

    As for Breed Obsessives, I enjoy telling people we adopted her from the Humane Society just to hear their guesses. She’s actually a Border Collie/Rat Terrier shitmix but I’ve heard everything from Bernese Mountain Dog to Basenji to Basset Hound. I haven’t met many annoying people yet but I’m sure I won’t be able to avoid them forever.

  10. fortydaysofdogdating August 17, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    Thought you’d enjoy this!


  11. Liz Blue January 21, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    Ahhhh!!! The Anti-Social Chuck It owner. My biggest dog park pet peeve! Throwing a ball around like all the other dogs are blind. Great way to start a dog fight!

  12. workbox February 3, 2014 at 8:10 am #

    The Cell Phoner…who comes in, takes their dog off lead and then proceeds to totally ignore everything except their phone conversation.

  13. Lauren June 13, 2014 at 12:31 am #

    Think you forgot one:
    The Breeding Control Master.
    This guy, I swear he only comes around so he can pick on people for their choice of dog. “That dog is terribly bred!” “You’re obviously not prepared for a husky, I suggest a -insert harder to control dog here-.” “Is that a mutt?”

    But seriously mate, leave me alone. A border collie cross is fine for me. And no, I was not aware that ‘Bella’ is the worst name on the planet. Do fill me in.

  14. carinagoestocollege April 23, 2015 at 1:11 am #

    The person who is convinced their dog is going to play with them once inside the gate…constantly screeching a name their dog has apparently forgotten and whining that their baby won’t come play.

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