George is canine consultant for Northern Life magazine.
Micro Chipping and banning of certain breeds of dog is currently being put forward for debate. I have been asked my opinion and for the benefit of the readers I would like to give it.
My strong opinion is there are no dangerous dog breeds but there are, however, dangerous owners. For instance, in my work I have seen in the last year upwards of 300 hundred dogs on a one to one basis and been bitten three times and every time by a dog that would be classed as non dangerous but each one of these dogs would be capable of inflicting serious damage to a child.
The type of owner who the government is trying to target actually enjoy having a banned dangerous dog it gives them more street cred and the intimidation factor. “I own a dangerous banned dog” would be a boastful statement. As for getting insurance for a dog, many don't have a driving licence or insurance to drive so they certainly wouldn't bother to insure or licence a dog.
The question of micro chipping and insurance for ordinary law-abiding people is different this would benefit the dogs because micro chipping would help dog wardens identify stray dogs and through insurance dogs would have access to medical care should they be attacked by another dog, however, it may be difficult to apportion blame to a particular party.
I do, however, think everybody would benefit from some kind of scheme whereby a degree of understanding of a dogs welfare and instinctive behaviour is required before ownership of ANY dog whatever the breed. The education of the owner is the key, once that is done the dogs are easy. This should be followed up by a minimum obedience requirement.
In the news again is another dog attack involving a child, the dog again will get the blame. The simple truth is children and dogs must not be left unsupervised. This is a recipe for disaster even with children they know well but especially with strange children.
Children must be educated from an early age to respect dogs and not treat them as toys or as their playmates. Whatever the breed, size or colour it is still a dog and must not be humanised. Its thoughts are purely instinctive and should be understood as such. With structured socialisation and supervision many dogs tolerate children and are surprisingly calm under great pressure but do not take this for granted.
Children do a few things that dogs can react to
STARING this can be very threatening to some dogs especially if done in a confined space and by something it regards as a lower rank. The dog usually warns by growling if this is ignored then it could carry out its threat by biting.
SCREAMING usually high pitched which excites many dogs and mimics a captured animal.
HUGGING my view on this is it is a purely human need and children should be discouraged from this habit especially when unsupervised they tend to grasp too tight and the dog tries to get away possibly growls if this doesn't work then it may snap.
RUNNING children tend to run everywhere waving their arms about, shouting etc. Dogs need to be accustomed to this behaviour and learn to be comfortable with it.
TOYS children should not play with the dog especially tug games without supervision. Many children get bitten when the dog gets over excited and becomes possessive of its toys.
FOOD children should not interfere with dogs when eating and should be careful around their beds.
The simple way to stop these things happening is to create authority over the dog, reduce the dog's rank, educate children and dogs to respect each other. Do not keep the dog and children apart rather socialise under supervision.
Does your dog really love you?
A great proportion of dog owners believe the answer to be a resounding 'yes'
Well imagine this scenario: you and your dog are both starving on the brink of death. You arrive home and you come in the door first, in front of you are two beef-burgers with double cheese. You eat one and save one for the dog, both of you survive. Now imagine this scenario: the dog goes in first gobbles down both burgers and you drop down dead. Does this mean he doesn't care whether you live or die or is he just a glutton? The fact is that it is neither, he is just acting out his natural survival instincts and cannot connect your death with him eating both burgers.
Once you understand his thought patterns. The realisation he cannot love you does not mean he thinks you are less important. He does depend on you for his needs.
If you harness and full fill these instincts you both will be happier sharing your life together.