As I have already mentioned in a previous post, in order to stop dog attacks by so called dangerous dogs we do not need more laws, but we do need a dog law that works.
Ideally the first step in achieving this would be to repeal the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, followed by a proper consultation period with dog behaviour experts, human psychologists and other relevant professionals. Then once proper consultation has taken place the new law could be formed during a true democratic debate in parliament. Who knows what might happen?
We might just get a law that will actually lower the incidence of attacks by vicious dogs, trained into this behaviour by equally vicious and irresponsible owners. Clearly this objective is not being achieved by the present dog legislation: it is estimated that dog attacks have increased by twelve times in recent years. We need a new dangerous dog act type law that does not follow the errors of current breed specific legislation and worse.
While we are campaigning for a better law, there are things that we can do as individual dog owners.
Dog Training to Stop Dangerous Dog Attacks
Of course not all dangerous dog attacks are a product of thugs mistreating their dogs. Most dangerous dogs incidents reported in the press these days involve a child that is bitten while adults are not present. Unfortunately pitbull dogs figure large in these reports, which is a shame as pit bull type dogs can be exceptionally friendly and loyal companions if given proper dog training.
The exact nature of these various dog bite incidents is extremely hard to divine. Adults that were present in a building, but not supervising a child and dog properly are most unlikely to admit this fact in interview. A small amount of human education about dogs would most likely reduce the already low risk of fatal dog bite incidents to a number that would hardly be statistically measurable.
Many of the current incidents could be avoided with minimal dog awareness education and use of basic dog training methods. When all is said, a dog is an animal that is not capable of reasoning like a human. It is therefore up to us to avoid situations in which others could come to harm.
Not leaving small children and babies alone with any animal might also be a good starting point. Cats kill babies by suffocation when they sit in a babies crib to get warm.
Early dog socialisation classes, or puppy training classes, if you prefer, would significantly reduce the incidence of dog attacks if more people would take them. Proper dog socialisation means that the animal will be less nervous in common situations. Dogs often attack from fear, rather than because they are “aggressive dogs”. Helping the dog to reduce its stress in new and unusual situations would actually save lives.
Unfortunately, many owners lack basic dog awareness and dog training skills.
When their bully breed pitbull starts chewing their hands as a pup they remark about what a cute puppy he is. (Dog’s mouthing like this is totally normal, but it is a trait best trained out as soon as possible, especially in large, muscular dogs.) People often forget that a trait that is cute in a puppy can be a real threat to safety in an adult dog that weighs in at over 100lbs.
Also, training any breed to respond with aggression is what has caused a large portion of our current problem with aggressive dogs. The problem here is not dangerous dog breeds, but rather that certain breeds are chosen by owners who want an aggressive dog and reward this behaviour. The dog in its desire to please its owner becomes ever more vicious and then one day that dog has a tragic encounter with a young child.
Perhaps compulsory dog training and owner education would improve the current situation. Yet it may well be resisted by the majority of responsible owners who would view it as a dog tax.
The question becomes: how far are we prepared to go financially and politically to secure the populace from the effects of dog attacks from hyper aggressive dogs that have been taught to behave like this by irresponsible owners who seek the most dangerous dogs to boost their social status?