Dangerous Dogs: Why Does This Happen?
On behalf of The Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC), the Chairman, David Ryan, would like to issue the following statement regarding the recent tragic events involving children and dogs.
“This is a tragedy for all concerned and the APBC extends its deepest sympathy to the families involved. All dog owners have the responsibility for understanding and addressing the potential dangers of keeping any dog. Dogs should be well socialised, particularly to children and infants, but even so the interaction of dogs and children or infants should always be supervised by an adult.”
The early weeks of a puppy’s life are crucial for it to develop into a well balanced adult dog. Lack of adequate socialisation is one of the biggest causes of aggression in dogs.
There are many responsible dog breeders and owners who are aware of the importance of early socialisation and training. Unfortunately, there are also many inadequately socialised puppies being sold inappropriately as family pets.It is also the responsibility of the new owner to understand the breed of dog of their choice and how to raise their puppy properly.
However, problems can still occur when children and dogs are left unsupervised. Children may frighten the dog without realising and the dog may resort to biting if it feels trapped and unable to escape. Dogs do not automatically understand children and children often do not detect the warning signals from a dog.
Supervision and common sense are of paramount importance in responsible dog ownership and parenthood to ensure the safety of children and pets. The APBC Book of Companion Animal Behaviour contains advice on ‘Pets and Children’, which gives practical tips on how to handle a variety of situations from both the human and dogs’ point of view.
It is important that dog owners and the public do not panic, and no one should consider giving up their treasured family pet because of these, thankfully extremely rare, tragedies. Dog owners who have concerns over the behaviour or potential behaviour of their pet, should seek advice from a professional behaviour counsellor.
Many insurance companies will cover the cost of a behaviour consultation with an APBC Member. For further information on the APBC and details of members, visit www.apbc.org.uk.
The APBC is celebrating its 21st birthday in 2010. As the majority of cases referred to APBC members involve some form of ‘aggression’ there will be a one day seminar focusing on this emotional subject. The event will be held on Saturday, 6 March 2010 at Stoneleigh Park Lodge Hotel, Warwickshire. www.apbc.org.uk/21st Birthday Seminar
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The APBC, founded in 1989, is the leading organisation in the field of companion animal behaviour and many of its members are at the cutting edge of the latest research into this rapidly growing discipline. The APBC organises a number of seminars and events throughout the year for both the veterinary and behaviour professions. Further information can be found at www.apbc.org.uk