Dog park dog shark
Everyone has seen it before, the movie Jaws where the music starts playing and the shark starts coming and nobody knows what to do. I find myself often times in a similar situation at the dog park. I call them dog sharks. Dog sharks are those dogs at the dog park that charge our dog full speed while barking and snapping at the same time. These dogs, although they rarely attack or so anything other than smash into our dog, can be a nightmare for people with fearful or timid or aggressive or just honest dogs. Of course it is not always at a dog park it could be on a trail, or at a campground, or sometimes even walking down the street.
We all know that no matter how much you yell or try to tell the owner that it's not a good idea or that their dog should slow down they simply can't hear you. Typically they are so convinced that their dog is "friendly" or "not aggressive", that your words go unheard. The truth is it has nothing to do about being aggressive or friendly, it just has to do with common sense. In my opinion it is common sense that we should always respect a persons personal space. In addition, we should respect the space of their animal if they have one. In the same way that we wouldn't throw a beach ball at a strangers face and say "I just wanted to play beach ball dodge ball with you", its just not right to throw our dogs at people and their dogs.
To me it is just common courtesy that we respect each others space. That doesn't mean that I am going to flip out any time a dog runs up to greet my dogs. It doesn't mean that I am going to walk around paranoid that I might see a Dog Shark at any moment. To do this would be to keep my dogs in a constant state of worry and fear as well. What it does mean is I will continue to advocate for my dogs. If another dog comes in way to strong or aggressively I will either move my dogs in the opposite direction, or I will get in between this dog and my own. Often times I have found that just having a calm and confident energy in these situations is all it takes to guide our dog through the mock-assault.
In the end, it is a tough situation. People who are struggling with their dogs are afraid to take their dogs out. They are afraid because they don't want anybody or anybody's dog to get hurt. The person with the "friendly" dog that they have trained to charge dogs, has no idea what it is like. It is little things like this that add up to create our present dog crisis we have in the United States. These bits and pieces set up dogs for failure, because they are expected to allow a behavior that just doesn't exist in nature. For some dogs all it takes is a few of these "charges" to send them into a tailspin of uncertainty. Since they are a dog, if they are uncertain and they can't get away, they bite.