Since becoming a dog mom, I’ve become a frequent dog-park-goer with my little guy, Benny. And, while I spend most of my time simply watching him play and smiling (the dog park has become my chosen form of self-care), I’ve made a hobby out of observing the other dog parents. I’ve come to realize that most people fit into one of the following archetypes.
1. The Social Queen
She’s probably retired, freeing up her afternoons for regular dog park visits. She doesn’t come to the park for her dog’s benefit. Hell, she might not even have a dog or her dog could be too old or antisocial (isn’t that ironic) to play with the other sprightly canines. To her, the dog park is her coffee shop or neighborhood bar—the place where everybody knows her name. She knows the names of all the other regulars (and their dogs) and lights up when she sees someone she knows walk through the gate.
2. The Poo Police
This person is a stickler for rules—especially the ones posted up at the entrance to the park, which no one else reads. She’s hyperaware of every dog’s bowel movements. Aggressively sniffing around? She’s on ’em. Circling in place? She’s looking. Scooting on the ground after the fact? She’s noticed. If a dog’s parent doesn’t immediately run to scoop up the poop, she’ll find them. “Who’s dog is this?” she’ll ask others next to her, if she’s not familiar with the dog. “Hey, your dog just pooped!” if she is.
3. The Helicopter Dog Parent
His dog is his baby. And he’s not going to let anything happen to his baby. He follows his pooch from one side of the park to the other, as his dog sniffs butts and touches noses. If another dog so much as sneezes or bounces too excitedly near his dog, he swoops in to the rescue, picking his dog up and holding him until it’s safe again. He’s been known to push another dog away or stick his foot out to block dogs from getting too close.
4. The Paparazzo
His dog is an Insta-celeb or an aspiring one. Or he just loves seeing all the different breeds at the park. Whether he’s taking staged photos of his own dog or documenting the entire day’s experience, this guy’s got his phone camera pointed at the pups the whole time.
5. The Narrator
Similar to the social queen, the narrator is at the dog park to talk to people–not interact with dogs. But this guy doesn’t have his social group established quite yet. He’s eager to talk to anyone sitting next to him. And if you don’t engage, don’t worry—he doesn’t need you to. He’ll just narrate his dog’s experience. “He’s just really into that scruffy dog over there.” “Now he’s taking a pee break.” “Oh—oh, he’s getting some water now.”
6. The Breed Loyalist
She’s owner of a trendy breed like a corgi or a French bulldog. And she’ll only talk to you if you own the same breed. If she sees another corgi owner sit down at a different bench, she’ll casually make her way over to engage. Her topics of choice include dog breeders, upcoming breed meet-ups, and the age/temperament of her dog compared to others.
7. The Prude
Generally speaking, a dog humping another dog is all in good fun. It’s not always a sexual thing and is often the result of a dog getting really, really, really excited about their playmate. Or it’s a dominance thing. Whatever the reason, this person will have none of it. His dog may be the humper or the victim, but he will not let the rumpus ensue. In extreme cases, he’ll break up a hump-fest even if his dog’s not involved.
8. The Hit-and-Runner
You might not even notice her; she’s in and out. Her visits last maybe 10 minutes and consist of her dog running around briefly and doing its business, and then they’re gone.
9. The Pitcher
This guy brought a tennis ball to the park and doesn’t stop throwing it for the entirety of his visit. Whether he’s throwing for his own dog’s enjoyment or whoever’s interested, he’s the designated pitcher of the day.
10. The Utterly Aloof
She’s on her phone the whole time, somehow getting no enjoyment out of the dog park experience. For her, it’s only a place for her dog to get some exercise. The mortal enemy of the poo police.