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Let dogs be dogs

by on

Gone is the time when if a dog growled or snapped at you, you were told to leave it be. Now comes the era of blame. Dogs being deemed as out of control when in fact all they are doing is behaving like dogs. Why has this come about? It seems a mix of dog law and ongoing criticisms have brought about a sense of unease and disapproval from the public. Even a friendly dog can be deemed out of control if it doesn’t turn on a pin to return to its owner’s side.

Now I am not saying that we can let dogs do whatever they want, but we are setting them up for failure. Dogs are not robots, they have their own thoughts, feelings and wants. Even with many hours of skilled training a dog may still ignore any given cue. Does this mean that said dog should never be allowed off lead? No, it means know your dog and pick when it is appropriate. Don’t put them in situations in which they may not respond. However, saying this you can’t always anticipate these situations, a horse may suddenly appear from around the corner, or a bike or a jogger. This is the situation where you now have an out of control dog. Know your dog, anticipate the worst case scenario and plan accordingly.

So many news reports of dangerous dogs have put a ripple of fear into the general public that any given dog is ready to maul them at a moment’s notice. This is simply not true, yes numbers of dog bites have increased but this is due to the public being more likely to report the bite than admitting they may have been in the wrong and did not listen to the dog’s initial warnings. To prevent this era of blame continuing, we need to educate! It surprises me how uneducated many owners are to what their dogs are trying to tell them. The dogs are not to blame for this.

Even owners that anticipate problems and show they are responsible by muzzling their dogs are berated for having an out of control dog. When in fact many countries insist on dogs being muzzled in certain situations. Dogs with behavioural problems are also classed as out of control when in fact they are quite often misunderstood or scared by past experiences. This is completely unfair to these owners and to the dogs.

Many languages are taught in schools but not the one we may need the most. Canine body language. The ability to understand what dogs are saying and why they exhibiting certain behaviours will go a long way in preventing blame and allow dogs to start being dogs again.