Another dog-related question, sorry. I read this question but I'm not sure it applies.
My two Border Collies need/want a lot of exercise. One of the reasons I chose this neighborhood is that about 700 feet from my house is a mowed, 26 acre area (a water retention field when necessary) that no one - and I mean no one - uses. I have the HOA board's permission to exercise my dogs off leash there. The field, which is surrounded by a nice sidewalk, is considered common property.
Although dog ownership is high here, most people do not exercise their dogs except to take walks. So when I'm out in the field chucking balls and giving my dogs commands (in sign language, so as not to annoy the neighbors), people, especially kids, are apt to stop and watch my dogs and me. This is fine. I love for people to see that dogs can get other kinds of exercise, and they are beautiful on the field.
Once in a while, though, kids want to play with my dogs, and that's also fine, except when they're "working". If they want to interact before or after the session, I will make my dogs be social. They'll obey simple commands, chase balls, etc. I also teach the kids some sign language commands, which they use and seem to like. But when they're working, the dogs just want to chase balls and have no interest in stopping for some social time with kids. If I interrupt their "work", they will give the kids the most cursory attention then run back onto the field. It kind of embarrasses me how impolite my dogs seem then.
How do I tell the kids that my dogs don't want to play right now without being unkind (especially if their parents are around)? Worse yet, sometimes (like today), a kid will wait for 10 or 15 minutes to play with my dogs, not knowing that they still have 30 minutes of exercise to do. How to tell the child that waiting is useless and they maybe should, I don't know, not wait around?
I try to pick times when kids won't be around: when they are in school, suppertime, etc. Often this is good enough, but sometimes not.