Dangerous Dogs - Getting to the root of the problem

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With the recent media coverage looking into a possible change in law, aimed at dangerous or 'ASBO' dogs, it is now more important than ever for dog owners to make sure they are in complete control of their canine companions. Tricia Wills, a well respected dog trainer with over 20 years of experience, looks at what changes need to be made, from the points of view of both government and dog owner, to make these horrible attacks less of an occurrence in our society.

"Children are still being mauled by dogs, assistance dogs are being attacked by out of control aggressive dogs, and innocent members of the public out walking their dogs are being intimidated by youths with the so called 'status dogs'!" says Tricia Wills, (http://www.triciawills.co.uk) a dog trainer and behaviourist, based in Devon, UK.

A government spokesman is saying that "urgent action" is needed to protect the public from dangerous dogs. But what is this all going to amount to?

Although the government plans to crack down hard on these grey areas (described here by the BBC on 9 April http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22082638) - where owners of dangerous dogs can be prosecuted or not… Is this still going to be enough?

The cross-party committee (as described here on 16 May - http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/news/ddda-bill-publication/) say that maximum penalties increased from six months to two years jail sentence; homeowners with a dog left alone to guard the property who bites a trespasser taken into consideration and not prosecuted, and plans to criminalise attacks on assistance dogs are some of the new government plans with tailored powers for law enforcers to help tackle this growing problem. A group of MPs are saying that new ‘dangerous dog’ laws do not go far enough.

But are they really getting to the root of the problem?

Tricia Wills, (http://www.triciawills.co.uk) a well respected dog trainer in Exeter, goes on to say, “I have been socialising, interacting, training and sorting out problem behaviour in dogs for 20 years, and aggression is the number 1 problem l get asked to look at time and time again. We must not forget that any dog has the ability to bite; it's only certain factors that cause that dog to become aggressive."

Questions should be asked, such as, ‘is the dog receiving enough exercise?’ ‘If it's a dog that needs training… is it receiving enough training?’ And most importantly asking the question, ‘what was this dog bred from?’

Tricia Wills continues to say, "As a high percentage of a dogs’ behaviour is inherited from its parents, we should always look very closely at from where we get these puppies. The solution to this problem has to be got at from the very root. The question, ‘who is breeding these dogs?’ needs to be asked. Bringing in a breeders licence with a fee to obtain this professional licence to breed will stop ‘back street breeders’ and make dog breeding a thing left to the responsible, conscientious dog owner.”

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Liam Taborn

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