Aaron Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

This park was stinky. Literally. I pulled into a campsite generously decorated with dog poop. While I was cleaning up it occurred to me that I had a neighbour who either lets their, evidently large, dog run loose, or is the sort of person who watches their dog poop in someone else’s campsite and thinks, “I’m just gonna leave that sitting right there.” I was looking forward to meeting this person, and their dog. It was going to be great. I knew it.

Sure enough, on Milo and my first walk two retriever-ish looking dogs galloped toward us while their owners yelled from their camp chairs, you guessed it, “don’t worry, they’re friendly.”

I yelled back, “I’m not.” It just popped out, no mincing of words at all. And at that moment, it was true. “Those dogs need to be on leashes.”

The indignant response was, “I don’t know why you’re upset. We haven’t had any problems.”

I saw this as invitation to describe the poop, and, you know, the law, which didn’t go over so well. Who would’ve thought? The best part was when they explained to me, and my fabulous gigantic German Shepherd Milo, that if I didn’t like dogs, I probably shouldn’t go camping. Oh boy, time to walk away. That time was actually long past, but as they say, better late than never. Some people.

In case you are wondering, here are some relevant bits of law:

Domestic and other animals

6. (1) No person in control of a domestic animal shall permit the animal to be,

(a) in a provincial park unless the animal is secured on a leash that does not exceed two metres in length;  …

(4) No person shall permit a domestic animal, while in a provincial park, to

(a) make excessive noise;

(b) disturb other persons;

(c) damage Crown property or vegetation;

(d) chase or harass wild animals or birds;

(e) injure, or attempt to injure, a person or other domestic animal.  O. Reg. 347/07, s. 6 (4).

(5) The person in control of a domestic animal shall immediately dispose of excrement from the animal in such manner and at such location that it will not cause a health hazard or public inconvenience.  O. Reg. 347/07, s. 6 (5).  …

I am sure these people are not a permanent fixture at Aaron Provincial Park, but I let them colour my experience of the place more than I should’ve. Thank heavens I discovered the group campground, a grassy field with picnic tables, empty. Milo and I spent a lot of time there romping, playing tug, training, and reading magazines (Milo didn’t read magazines as much as sat there and chewed a toy).

a black and tan German shepherd dog looking up at the camera. Fis shiny black nose is the highlight of the picture.

I can’t stay mad when I look at this big happy nose. Also, notice the leash…

Aaron Provincial Park is conveniently located on the Trans Canada highway just East of Dryden, Ontario. It lacks a sanctioned off leash pet exercise area.

For the love of god leash your darn dog

A post like this is silly because it has already been written about 14 million times. Pretty much all the dog trainers and all the dog professionals and all the municipal codes tell people to leash their dogs. leash

I’m writing it again because Milo and I were charged by a little schnauzer. I scared the little dog off and the schnauzer’s person got angry at me for yelling at their dog. What the what? I know that people respond weirdly when flustered. But seriously, that little dog charged my German Shepherd and I intervened before my dog did. That, my friend, deserves thanks. In fact, it deserves ice cream. Heck, it deserves a bottle of scotch.

This is not a rare event. Milo and I have been charged by Golden Retrievers, Poodles, little terriers, and a bunch of other pups.

I don’t care if the pup is a Yorkie or Mastiff, a puppy or senior dog, or a dog that’s an angel straight from heaven. I really don’t care if the dog is friendly. Even if the handler knows their dog can heel past a butcher shop, I don’t know that, and off leash dogs worry me.

Milo and I worked very hard, for years, to help him stay calm around other dogs. He is gigantic and now his behavior is, mostly, pretty good and so a person might not expect him to be stressed by a charging dog. He is. And so am I.

  • A little dog who reacts to Milo and me is not cute or brave, and does not think it is a big dog. It is probably scared, or perhaps stupid.
  • Yes, I know that Milo could ‘take care of himself,’ but I don’t want him to have to. And, who would want that to happen?
  • No, I don’t want the dogs to ‘work it out.’ That’s a project that could cost 1000’s of dollars.
  • And actually, I don’t want our dogs to say ‘hello.’ If we’re friends and I know your dog, then maybe. But my dog doesn’t play with strangers.

Where there are leash laws, please leash your dog. It’s the decent thing to do.