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There is no such thing as an intrinsically dangerous or problem dog

Posted on 22/10/2015
Filed under: Responsible Dog Ownership Common Sense

child with pitbullThere are just dogs that have problems, created by the actions and behaviour of those who choose to have them, whether that is caused by the owner working with poor information and understanding of a dog or the actions of owners who deliberately forces their dog to behave in a naturally defensive way that is stressful for the dog. 

Aggression is just one of many behaviours rightfully considered undesirable for a dog in our modern societies and for this reason recent proposed legislation by the UK Government is nothing more than yet another weak attempt to make a genuine and concerned public believe that they are 'doing something about it'. This time by making it an offence for an owner to have a dangerously out of control dog on private property, along with the present legislation which says that it is an offence to have a dog dangerously out of control in a public place.

 So how is this going to work? The truth is it just can't. 

Responsible owners, who come in the first group mentioned, are very aware that they have dogs who can be aggressive or have a tendency to nip strangers will continue to ensure that their dogs are kept on lead when they are out in community and hopefully take great care to have their dogs secured behind good fencing when on their property and are kept in a different room to anyone who visits their home. Protecting people and the dog itself. 

For the really lucky dogs, their owners seek help from those with the skills to assist then in turning this behaviour around, like my team of qualified and highly experienced of Dog Listeners. 

Of course, there are always those owners who not only have dogs that have learnt to be aggressive but actively encourage their dogs to attack people and other animals. I have actually been contacted by owners who asked me how they can make their dog attack people, as the dogs are just becoming more submissive by the training that they are being given. I am always devastated as I knew that no matter how I try to turn these people from actually desiring behaviour like this from their dogs, they would never listen to me and these dogs are doomed to be abused and terrified.  Sadly too many owners allow, with absolutely no regard or care for others, their dogs to move freely within the community, with the attitude that they are above the law, so how can we be certain that any new laws will be adopted by these owners? 

This may seem very sceptical but just as there will always be people who choose to ignore the laws of the land, from those that send text message from their phones whilst driving their cars to those who choose to breed dogs considered as dangerous, to sell to others wanting to misuse these lovely animals in the same way. 

I really wish that rather than trying to bluff their way through this minefield, any government would begin to really deal with the problem, which is punish those who supply and obtain dogs for the worst of reasons, including those who misuse them and then inflict them on the public, usually with tragic results for both people and dogs alike. As it stands the law is biased towards punishing dogs that have no concept of right or wrong, the dogs then become victims and usually end up being destroyed for their actions. 

After years of worthless ‘Dangerous Dogs’ Laws, people are beginning to realise that it is not the breed of the dog that is the cause of the problems, merely that certain owners are drawn toward a 'look' or type with ‘bull’ breeds being at the dog of the list, or breeds used by law enforcement/military work GSDs, Rotties and Dobermans. All of which in the right hands are brilliant companions.

The reality that it is the 'deed not the breed leads us to another question concerning most new laws which is; as this law purports to apply to all dogs in the home and not just the wrongly 'condemned' breeds, will it also apply to all those small cattle dog types, such as, oh I don’t know.. poorly behaved Corgis for example, that have been known to nip people who come to visit the tent, house, mansion or palace

Jan Fennell