I think you were wrong, but I don't think you were over the top and I think it's a good learning situation.
When people at the park ask me these things, approach me, etc. they are asking for permission even if it doesn't explicitly sound like it.
If someone walked into a park area where I was playing with my dog and asked if he was friendly, ESPECIALLY with a chuck it in hand, they are saying, "is it cool for my dog to run around yours and most likely meet each other?" My response is instantly either "NO, he's not sorry" or "Yes but we are busy training right now" to nip any chance of a greeting in the bud. I don't know their dog and have NO reason to subject my dog to a potentially aggressive or sick dog.
"oh hes finally off the leash huh?" would have been replied to with a "Yes, but he can't meet your dog."
Sometimes you have to be so painfully, stupidly blunt with people to avoid issues like you experienced. But I would have done the exact same thing to another dog accosting mine, regardless of intent. My dogs rely on me to keep them safe, I am not going to give them a reason to doubt my abilities to do just that. The dog was a golden. It cowering sound pretty typical of a very friendly/mushy dog being reprimanded let alone struck. Maybe the owner will think twice next time.
eta; For what it's worth, you said park. I'm assuming this is not a dog park, but a park where you took your dog to play. I see nothing wrong with taking a ball possessive dog there, my dogs can be possessive when they are engaged with their toys, and we go to random parks to play all the time where there is no reason we would be accosted by random dogs. At the dog park we take it easy on the toys.
Danielle, owner of...
Fraggle Rock Collars & ...
Fraggle Vom Richcreek CGC CA
Red Dog's Reconnaissance Man CGC CL1-R CL1-H CL1-F CL1-S USJ
General Patton Vom Winter Storm
Last edited by DJEtzel; 09-04-2014 at 04:11 PM.