There has been a major furore on social media recently over a sign erected by a Councillor on an area of public land in Ireland. This prohibits certain breeds of dog from being allowed off lead. The selection of breeds subject to this ban appears to be based on the Councillors personal feelings. The force of the backlash against the Councillor from dog owners, breeders and trainers alike may have surprised him, particularly the calls for he himself to be muzzled! His portrayal of certain breeds of dog as “dangerous” certainly appears rather subjective and controversial and has been labelled ill-advised and uneducated. Clearly people feel very strongly about the over-generalisation of the behaviour of dogs according to their breed. The Councillor has found himself thoroughly vilified globally.
Whilst it is true that many breeds come with their inherent behaviour traits, it is not true that all dogs of certain breeds will behave in the same way. Most problems dogs have learned their behaviour through the course of their life. Dogs are dogs and, whatever their breed, their tendency to behave like a dog will be similar whatever the breed. Furthermore, where the dog’s basic needs are not being met by the owner, the results will be similar. As Bark Buster trainers who encounter dogs of varying breeds every day, we see dogs of the same breed displaying behaviours over a broad spectrum. The differences aren’t occurring in the breed, they are occurring in the training approach, lifestyle, food, communication and leadership provided by the owner.
Much of a dog’s behaviour is dependent upon their owners meeting their basic needs. Your Bark Buster trainer will always explain to you that all dogs have the same basic needs be they a Chihuahua, or a Great Dane. So, it is important to remember that no dog breed is inherently bad or aggressive. Even Pit Bulls, which receive bad press, are a banned breed in the UK, but not in the United States, can be gentle, loving family dogs in the right hands. Staffordshire Bull Terriers often receive a bad press too and are burdened with a poor public perception, but they are naturally loyal, intelligent and loving dogs. Conversely, cute and cuddly-looking cockapoos can show aggression in many circumstances. Whatever breed of dog you might own, you must remember that if you fail to meet any of the dog’s basic needs, you may encounter problems. These problems can, in some cases, manifest themselves as aggression to dogs or people and can cause you serious problems, even prosecution.
General obedience training is crucial to teaching your dog what you expect of him, and how to fulfil those expectations. The responsibility for dog behaviour lies soundly with the owner. Dogs are pack animals and look for leadership to provide safety. If you are not clear about your role as leader, or do not know how to communicate or behave as a leader for your dog, contact your local Bark Busters Home Dog Training therapist who will explain how to put this into effect.
Before you buy or rescue a dog, it is an idea to do some research into the breed you are considering so that you know a little about what to expect. You especially need to know the size your dog is likely to grow to, but look into behaviour traits for the breed and make sure that you are confident in your abilities to shape a dog of that breed into the dog you want. Also ask yourself whether you are able to fulfil the dog’s needs. You may even be in the situation where you have previously owned a particular breed and would like another dog of the same breed. Remember that you are older now than you were before… do you have the energy and physical stamina to provide the exercise and education that a large dog would need? Can you afford to feed a sufficient quantity and quality of a suitable food? Are you physically and mentally ready for behaving like a leader, or is it likely that your dog will have you trained in no time, and then take on the role of ‘Head of the Household’?
Although the Councillor has been roundly criticised for his signage, it is vitally important that you do make yourself aware of the local bylaws covering dogs on public land in your area. New UK laws vary from region to region, and can now be specific to certain parks or areas of open land. Clear signage should be in place to let you know what the new rules are. Whatever breed of dog you own, you must ensure that you are in complete control when out in public as, without this, you may find yourself the subject of a fine, or even prosecution were anybody to feel threatened by an unwelcome approach from your dog. Take particular care where children are in the vicinity and, if you are in any doubt, put your dog back on his lead and don't be afraid to muzzle for your dog's own safety. This will protect both you and your dog from potential issues, and could save your dog’s life. For information on UK legislation regarding the classification of ‘Out of Control’, please visit https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/overview. This will leave in you no doubt as to your duties and responsibilities as owner or keeper, and the consequences of any breach of these responsibilities. Details on dog breeds banned in the UK is also available on the site https://www.gov.uk/control-dog-public/overview.
Bark Busters trainers have trained more than 1 Million dogs worldwide and are renowned authorities in addressing dog behaviour with all-natural, dog-friendly methods. Bark Busters training is the only service of its kind that offers International guaranteed lifetime support. With hundreds of trainers around the world, Bark Busters continues its mission to enhance the human/canine relationship and to reduce the possibility of maltreatment, abandonment and euthanasia. Contact your local Bark Busters dog trainer to see how they can help.