Cesar Millan knows a thing or two about dog behaviour and he has said that treating the dog like one's child may fulfil the human's emotional need but is not best for the dog. Love your pet but know it is not your child. Just remember you can go out to shops or out for dinner in the evening and leave the dog/cat/gerbil at home but if you do that as a parent of a preschooler your child will be removed by Social Services for neglect.
Noticing the local animosity between dog owners and parents of primary school age children it would seem like it is nigh on impossible to have both in the same home. Yet some manage quite successfully so how have the two camps built up such hatred?
It seems that sharing public green space is the problem. Parents don't want dogs off the lead when they are playing catch with a toddler and dog owners say their dogs are petted by too many children who pull the dogs' tails.
My biggest gripe is the dog poo left across the streets and in the park. It's not a wood or forest but a local urban park with flower beds and paths and a little bit of grass. Which is generally covered in dog poo. A response from one dog owner, who – fair enough – his dog had not left mess in the park, was that some of the poo is actually human. Yeah, wow. I'm not sure if he believes it's these evil children who scream and pull dogs' tails who are pooing freely in the park or if it's adults who are not associated with children but think public defecation is acceptable.
But responsible dog owners should not be made to feel unwelcome and can't bear the brunt of frustrated parents' angst over irresponsible dog owners. Some say they feel when entering the park it's like walking into a shop and the security guard following you around even though you have no intention of shoplifting.
Without drawing up big lists of rules and covering the park in signs, how can parents and dog owners share their local park in peace? The limited green space in urban areas is for all so how can all be made to feel they are welcome?