Trip to the Bark in the Park event

This weekend we decided to go to a Bark in the Park event at Crawfordsburn county park and see how Bonnie would get on since she was so great at the Cancer Focus NI event at Stormont. When we arrived at the car park the place was totally packed! We drove slowly around looking for a parking spot and had to brake as a Yorkshire Terrier ran out in front of our car, some woman was unloading her car and let the dogs out with no leads on! The one we nearly ran over was zooming all over the place, the woman wasn’t even properly trying to get it back – it clearly had no recall and it flinched when she reached for it’s collar 😦 It was a bit of a nightmare and we should’ve took it as a sign of things to come!

When we arrived at the event area we immediately knew this wasn’t going to be a suitable event for Bonnie. At the event at Stormont the stalls were well spaced out and there was plenty of room to move away if Bonnie got uncomfortable but this event was soo packed. The stalls were very close, the paths were narrow, the dog show ring was absolutely dreadful and there was very little green space left clear except where we stood on the outskirts. They had opened up the centre to dogs with stalls inside which was way too close quarters for dogs to be walking through – some of the aisles between stands were about 2 people wide!

Inside area with stalls – was okay here but the side room was cramped
Very busy cafe patio – think we will come back here when it’s quieter!
Most dreadful show ring set up I’ve ever seen, was tiny – only 5-6 dogs should’ve been in at a time when they had at least twice that, was placed in a corner between 2 paths and 2 stalls so spectators and dogs were crammed near each other with others walking past constantly – way too stressful for most!
Bit quieter at this area with the agility in the background – unfortunately “that trainer” was there so we didn’t get a chance to try out the A Frame with Bonnie 😦


I left Bonnie with my partner to go and explore the event as there was no way I was putting her through all that stress as it was so busy and while there were a few dogs having the time of their lives (Goldens loving on all the fuss etc) many dogs were stressed out giving signals that were missed by their owners as they were so busy looking around them and not paying any attention to their dogs. Also gotta love the parents who weren’t looking after their child who ran up to Bonnie out of nowhere while she was sniffing and tried to pet her, I had to stand in front of Bonnie and tell the kid to stop. The kid just huffed and walked away, and she was still without her parents about an hour and a half later when we were leaving, unbelievable!

Bit too close quarters for us – we’ll stay back here 🙂

Although Bonnie wasn’t able to properly go into the event we used it as a training exercise and gave her loads of treats and praise for being near all the noise and commotion of the event. And she didn’t leave empty handed, although she really does not need any more treats at the minute, I bought her a loaf of frozen liver cake and some chicken hearts from the Natural Raw Feeding NI stall.


Overall it really wasn’t an event for us and I was a bit disappointed. I understand that Bonnie is quite a sensitive dog and not the ideal candidate for going to these types of busy events but I believe if it was better laid out it would’ve been more suitable and catered to more dogs especially nervous or shy dogs. I feel like too many people believe events and places like dog parks, fields and walks should only be for only overly friendly, in your face and bombproof dogs but I personally think we should be more catering to all dogs whether they are shy, dog reactive etc. As I went around the event I could see other dogs were stressed and maybe the owners weren’t aware, were busy or didn’t care as they wanted to stick around for the events but personally I couldn’t put Bonnie into that situation.

Can even see Bonnie’s tired face here – she’s working hard!

It took a lot out of Bonnie and that was with just keeping on the outskirts of the event, she slept pretty much the rest of the day! Although this event wasn’t quite for us it won’t stop us from going to future ones and keep trying as we seen with the Stormont event Bonnie can rock them as long as there is some personal space and not too packed!

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9 thoughts on “Trip to the Bark in the Park event

  1. You rocked 🙂 I know so many people (I’d have been tempted!) would just have risked taking a nervy pup in because that was the plan, and regretted it later…but you knew it would be too much for her so took her to where she could cope and used it as a training exercise…awesome 🙂

    The agricultural show we were at about a month back was pretty similar; although it was better spaced out it was extremely busy and I was very saddened by the sheer number of dogs I saw ignored by the owner and completely stressed.

    There was an Irish Wolfhound (I seriously did not realise how bloody huge they were!!) and the owners were strutting about showing him off. The dog was on a choke chain and lunging all over the shop, and barking incessantly (and loudly!!) but they didn’t care, even though they got dragged up to people eating, into stalls etc. The dog didn’t seem too bothered really, but every other dog I saw him interact with was terrified – partly due to his size and partly because he was very boisterous and rude. Of course his owner just laughed everything off, and the owners of the other dogs ignored their dogs’ stress and were just impressed and asking questions about the Wolfhound…which is probably exactly what the Wolfhound owner was hoping for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks even I was tempted for a bit as I really wanted to enter her into the dog show for most talented as we had even practised like a 10 second routine that morning haha but we definitely made the right decision.
      I absolutely love Irish Wolfhounds they are so majestic looking and their coats are so lovely, every one we have met had great steady temperaments but I think it would be a bit too much dog for me haha. It’s such a shame that they were just parading it around with no regards to the other dogs or keeping it under control but unfortunately it seems a lot of people get those types of dogs more as status symbols rather than choosing the best breed for their lifestyle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t cope with their lifespan, Kasper’s 6 years old and the thought of that being his breeds’ youngest average lifespan is terrifying!!

        Totally agree, people don’t just get ‘status’ dogs to look tough, but rare breeds to show off too…my uncle has an Airedale Terrier that he bought for thousands, and they’ve done no training with the dog at all. The dog gets just a few walks a day and is locked in the kitchen, completely separate from the family room, and nobody spends time with him. He lives alone and has completely destroyed the room he lives in.

        The dog’s a few years old now and out of control, but they love that they’re the only ones who can yell it into submission *sigh* 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes their lifespan is so devastatingly short, I already dread the thought of losing Bonnie which fingers crossed won’t be til another 12-15 years or maybe more depending on how old age treats her so I don’t think I could cope with a short lived dog which is a shame as I really love Bernese mountain dogs and would consider one as they have such lovely temperaments but again they have such short life spans.
        Awk that’s so sad a dog should be part of the family, not just some trophy to show off their wealth or status. I hope in future people realise that there are better ways to train and interact with their pets 😦

        Liked by 1 person

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