This is a video from a previous trip to the park.
I take Olivia and Griffin (and usually Buddha too) to the park every day (sometimes more than once) so they can chase the ball. It's not an actual dog park, just a really big open area on a quiet street with no traffic. It is about a mile from my house compared to the 20 miles of the closest dog park. It is not fenced in, but the dogs are pretty good listeners and I haven't had any issues.
Last week I took all three dogs to the park. They ran and played and were angels. When it was time to go home, Olivia and Griffin went right to the car and climbed in. Buddha went to the car, but then he changed his mind and decided to play, "chase me".
My experience with that game is that if you ignore him, he will come right back. So I pretended to get into the car instead. He ran back to the park. Apparently his recent tastes of freedom after jumping the fence have made Buddha a bit bolder.
I spent the next ten minutes alternating between chasing, ignoring, offering treats, sweetly coaxing and finally shouting at the top of my lungs, attempting to get him back. The problem with Buddha is that he's fast, really fast, and unlike a bulldog, I can't just pick him up and carry him when I want him to do what I want.
I was so frustrated I was shaking and almost in tears. He wasn't going far away, but I absolutely couldn't get him to come to the car, even when I walked away. Finally I took Olivia back out- I was very worried she would think we were playing and would bark for her ball. But for as demanding and self centered as Olivia is, she is also incredibly smart and intuitive. I think she could see how upset I was and she didn't mess around. I looked at her and said, "go and get him."
Olivia and I walked to the park where Buddha was and she walked up to him, and then we all turned around and went to the car. I brought them home, got them some water, and then went back to the garage where I yelled at the top of my lungs in frustration and anger (and relief actually).
Buddha continues to go over the fence, so now he's wearing his leash every time he goes outside and he's missed the last few trips to the park.
So today when we went to the park, I didn't expect any trouble. With just Liv and Grif, it should have been easy.
The road that leads to the park is under construction and closed at the end of the street, so the city has been plowing a big pile of snow, essentially making the place we play a private area since it is now a dead-end. It's even better than before because now there are no cars.
Except today there was a car parked where I usually park. I thought maybe it was another person bringing their dog to play. But when I got out, I saw 4 men sitting in the car.
For the next 30 minutes, I watched 6 different cars pull up, park for a while, and then drive away. A few guys got out of their car and into another. All very odd.
I was getting cold and was ready to leave, but there were three parked cars around mine and all I could think was, "I'm not brining my dogs out there." If it had been just me, I would have taken out my pepper spray (which I carry on my key chain) and walked to my car with it out and ready.
But I didn't think it would be possible to protect 2 dogs (I couldn't carry both of them at once), I wasn't about to leave one of them out of my sight, and while bullies sometimes look ferocious, these two are the sweetest, gentlest dogs ever, so I wasn't going to depend on either of them to protect me (I imagined them trotting up to the strange men, wiggling and wanting to be petted).
So I called the police and reported suspicious activity and told them I didn't feel safe going to my car. I live in Highland Park, which is a nice area, I was next to the golf course, on Edgecumbe Ave, which is all multi-million dollar houses, so I felt a little silly, but it was all suspicious, and I don't mess around with my dogs and safety.
The police came and there were still two cars out there. Apparently the car that was there when I arrived was stalled (although I'm not sure why it would have been there in the first place) and the officer was not sure why the others were there, but I didn't question it, nor did I stay there to find out the whole story.
I am hoping that this is the last trouble at the park for a while.