Be Aware Of Your Dog
We often read in the national press about dog attacks on people and how when children are involved this can lead to very serious injury and even death. The dog owners are usually shocked, as they never suspect their dog was capable of such an act.
There have recently been incidents involving dogs on The Common and outside the school. I do not comment on these specific incidents but as a member of the Youth Club Committee, am concerned that people leave their dogs near the Youth Club when dropping off their children at the school or playgroup. As a dog handler with many years experience, I give below some advice to dog owners and to those encountering agressive dogs. Early socialisation of your dog or puppy is important but it does not mean that your animal will attack given the right circumstances.
• Never leave your dog unattended in a public place. Dogs can feel very vulnerable when they are being teased or crowded. They may even find a single person threatening. If tied up they cannot escape and may attack to achieve some distance between them and the person upsetting them.
• Children and dogs should never be left alone and children should be stopped from approaching unattended dogs. Leaving a dog unattended outside a school is not advisable, regardless of breed or temprament.
• Many dog bites occur just outside the home and callers to the house are particularly vulnerable. Be vigilant when answering the door and ensure that your dog is in a safe place.
The law on the subject of dogs who attack people is harsh. Your dog will not be given a second chance and will probably be put down if it causes injury and you will receive a criminal record. You could also be sued.
Advice for dealing with an agressive dog:
• Never approach a strange dog or a dog that is tied up. If the owner says the dog is friendly, let the dog approach you.
• If you come upon an agressive dog – stand still (do not wave your arms about) and look at the ground. Do not shout or run and do not look at the dog. Children should wrap their arms round their fronts which will give their bodies protection. • Keep calm and show no fear or threat to the dog and gradually edge away to a safe place. If the dog remains agressive, consider throwing an item of clothing, which may give you time to escape.
I am arranging with the school to talk to the children about the importance of treating dogs with respect and how to react when confronted with an agressive dog.
Paul Hewetson, Retired Police Dog Sergeant and Dog Trainer