How Do We Keep Our Dogs Safe, as Well as the Public?

I’d like to think that all dog owners out there think about others as well as themselves each time they go out in public, but frankly the news tells us otherwise.  So how do we, the responsible dog owner, fight the reputation those irresponsible dog owners have given us?
Those that know me and my dogs, know that I am a responsible dog owner but is that enough?  Unfortunately, the answer to that is no.  In this case it has only taken a few to give the many a bad reputation, but it will take the many to fix what the few have done. 
So where do we start?  Well obviously the answer is to spread the word that there are good dogs as well as good dog owners out there.  Sound simple enough but the public and the media only care for those dramatic stories that increase their popularity and sales.  So what now?
I have often thought that part of a breeders’ contract should state reaching a certain point or certification (CGN or CGC) of obedience with each of their puppies/available young dogs or adults.  The same goes for shelters.  They should partner up with an organization that does training.  PetsMart works with the Humane Society here and it would make sense to me for them to help those dogs from not being returned yet again, by ensuring they are signed up for training before they leave for their new homes.
With training comes socialization and to a certain degree, some predictability.  A well trained and socialized dog goes everywhere and is exposed to all types of people, environments and situations.  With more exposure to different stimuli, the more likely your dog will react in a predictable manner in any given situation.
Please always remember dogs are animals first and our pets second.  So although we may do everything right, we must always be aware of the body language they are displaying and at first signs of anxiety or stress, we must remove them from the scene.  Do NOT over react.  Calmly walk away and remove yourself and your dog from the situation.  Give your dog a chance to calm down and relax.
Hmmmmm…so now your dog is calm, well trained and socialized.  With your knowledge of his behaviour, his training and being exposed to different stimulis, you and he make a good and strong team and make great ambassadors for the dog world.  Congratulations!!!
That is the type of example we need out there.  When you are proud of your dog and how well behaved he is, you  cannot help but share what you know.  Not only by example but by talking to those that stop to say hello when you are out.  And children always love petting our dogs.  Tell them the rules once and they don’t forget.  It is great to hear them repeat it to their friends when they stop us in the street to come say hello.  If we can get our children to know better, to listen to the rules of not approaching strange dogs, or not petting unless given permission, of respecting dogs while sleeping or eating, we will have less and less cases of dog bites.  And just like that, we are spreading the word that good dogs and owners alike do exist!!
So with training and socialization comes a consequence of sorts.  The likelihood of a well trained animal being surrendered to a shelter is extremely low as there would be no reason to do so.  Now that is a consequence we should all be happy about.  🙂
Copyright © 2011 Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/Shadowlands Canine Training/FireAndIce Reg’d Doberman Pinschers & Alaskan Malamutes.  All rights reserved. Revised: ALL PICTURES AND CONTENT ON THIS BLOG ARE THE SOLE PROPERTY OF Sandy Allen/Shadowlands/FireAndIce Reg’d Dobermans and Alaskan Malamutes and may not be used, copied or reprinted without express permission from the owner. Copyrighted 2011

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