People at the Park – The Expert

In-house dog walker, Lindsay Shostal presents the personalities found at dog parks

By Lindsay Shostal


Oh, the dog park. Such a fascinating mélange of both dogs and of course, dog owners.

If you frequent your local dog park, you’ve surely encountered a particularly vexing breed of dog park personality: the “dog expert,” also known as the “know-it-all” (KIA). Got a question? A KIA has the answer, usually in conjunction with a story long enough to bore you to death. This dog park personality is the equivalent of the annoying guy you try to avoid at parties.

The KIA tends to prey upon new dog owners, who aren’t yet aware of their boundless expertise on everything in the world. Regulars at the park avoid their local KIA, as engaging with them can be exhausting. The KIA has had every dog. They know every breed. They’ve been to every dog park. They’re feeding their dog the best dog diet. They’re also the dog park “training expert” and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, they know pretty much everything there is to know about dogs. And parks. And life. Most of what they say is fluff, and it’s mostly based on a personal opinion—but that won’t stop them from presenting their thoughts to you as though they were inherently and irrevocably true.


The big difference between a KIA and a relatively normal dog park owner can be broken down into 3 points:

1. They don’t really have an answer to your question. They really just want to talk about themselves (and their dog). Their story usually only has a slight connection to the original question and it really may not relate at all.

2. KIAs have had the most amazingly impossible of lives. They have done absolutely everything and exist in a universe where time means nothing and you are immediately successful at everything you touch. This is to say they are liars.

3. KIAs are defensive when faced with criticism. Disagree with their assessment? Then you are in for a one hour conversation about your critique, with nothing resembling a valid point ever being made. Good luck to you, brave soul.

KIAs will often substantiate their opinions with “facts” drawn from friends or relations who are scientists, veterinarians, TV personalities or dogs themselves (KIAs speak to dogs in dreams). KIAs always know someone who knows more than you do. Of course, you’ll find that sometimes pieces of their stories and/or information don’t add up, but beware in calling them out on it: a cornered KIA rarely backs down.

So next time you’re in your local dog park, be aware and look out for the nearest KIA. And as with a feral cat, we suggest you don’t make eye contact, and don’t engage. Unless you yourself are your dog park’s KIA, in which case we say, “Hmm, that sounds interesting, I’ll have to try that. Whelp, it’s time to get going now, Sparky needs a bath. Bye.”