Another Fatal Dog Attack in Australia

After the tragic events of a man losing his life we are once again on the same roundabout.
People want answers – they want to know who is to blame? – where does blame lie? – or was this simply an evil dog that was out of control?

There are no doubts that there are some breeds that are more powerful than others and more able to cause injury. However breed specific legislation doesn’t work as it is individual dogs (from many different breeds) that have issues – not every dog in a breed! Its no different to human society – its individuals or groups of individuals who cause issues.
Tangling ourselves up in red tape with legislation that is hard to impose correctly or with any efficiency doesn’t work either.

Why don’t we assess and educate our dogs?

What society tends to continually overlook is the need for education and assessment – we educate (train) our children and give them every opportunity to grow into good citizens but we don’t do the same for our dogs.

As dog trainers, often we hear from people who have an adult dog (from a pup) and they are experiencing issues – the story normally goes – “Fido” went to puppy school, we’ve done zero training since then and now he is displaying issues and behavioural problems. What would happen if we sent our kids to preschool or kindergarten and then left them to do what they wanted till they were teenagers?
Whether a dog has been raised from a pup or purchased as an older dog they need to be shown the correct way to behave and rewarded for this so they learn right from wrong.

Training early in life (whether a pup or a rehomed older dog) assists in identifying those animals that possess traits that indicate potential behavioural issues for the future. Identification at an early age or stage allows us to design training programs that can assist with changing the path for a particular animal.

So whose responsibility is it to ensure responsible dog ownership?

Obviously there are multiple parties involved – breeders/rescue organisations should have policies in place in relation to whom they place pups/dogs with; new owners should conduct research and fully understanding the responsibilities of owning and training a dog and take steps to educate their dog appropriately.
As for councils, government and other animal groups – perhaps rather than reactive knee jerk reactions (often in response to a dog attack) how about being proactive?
How many of these parties sit and discuss dog training? Could training be subsidised by councils or state government or discounts offered so that people have an incentive to do the right thing by their dog? Could government spend money on promoting dog training?

Whilst occasionally ill health of the dog, genetic and other factors can play a part in a dog attack if I were a betting man and had to place a wager on whether or not the dog in this latest attack had any sort of productive obedience training I think it would be a pretty safe bet that it hadn’t.

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