This year we have also seen an increase in dog owners experiencing difficulties with badly behaved dogs, recently a lady had her wellington boot attacked whilst walking. Too often now we are hearing of attacks on humans by dogs which according to their owners had never shown any tendencies before. Or the tendencies or signs have been missed which has led to an incident. All we do know is there are warning signs that dogs give off to warn, some give more warning than others and this does vary depending on breed and vary within breeds. What we also know is if the warning signs are ignored and this results in a nip or worse a bite, it hurts, and may disfigure or in some cases disable. Ask one of the 6000 victims per year in the UK alone (NHS figures). The figures for owners being convicted under the Dangerous Dogs Act has also risen.

We find this very worrying but it comes as no surprise as most potential dog owners don’t even know the basics of how Canis Familiaris (Dog) operates, or even research the breed, many have small and very young children and pay no attention to procedures which should be implemented to reduce the risk to their child. Breeders used to perfect the breed to its benefit and eliminate rouge tendencies and physical imperfections. Sadly, and to the dogs detriment many breeds have a lack of knowledge and the need for financial reward has become the focus. We are now seeing crossbreds being used as a source of financial reward, which is even more worrying and of course do not conform to any breed standard. Not too many years ago a crossbred was £25 in the local paper and some people now pay £500-£900 for something that is small and cute! And no pedigree which could have the mental and physical imperfections from both sides poor dogs.

training lab

This dog has received some help to understand why there in no need for him to take charge and the owner now understands why his dog thought he needed to. He is now enjoying his owners work place and the attention he deserves.

Without wishing to witter on often the above dogs are handed to us for re-homing or we are asked to make a home visit to assist the owner with advise and training. Regardless of prob-lem without help the dog usually suffers. A few weeks ago I was collecting a cat from the vets where an owner had asked the vet to put to sleep their dog. The problem was two fold the cost of ownership and the dogs behaviour. Although we cannot afford to help with the cost but offered advice, we were able to help with its horrible habits. The cost of professional help is out of reach for some owners but there are many local dog clubs which offer good advice, pet shops are a good place to look for local clubs. We do not charge for our advice but wel-come a donation towards the cost of the visit, often basic simple advice is the stepping stone to living comfortably with your pet. With dogs its all about pecking order, unfor-tunately nobody has yet found the solution to teaching your dog English or make them understand that you have just paid the vets bill so you must love them. But you can take a lead role and become a positive influence in your dog’s life. We meet many dogs with a variation of problems and proven the route to correction is training, nearly all dog breeds were bred for their working ability with man and it is thought that even the early encounters with wolves was indeed a working relationship. Therefore the most natural interaction between man and dog is work. The down side for some owners is that this does take time and effort but even a minimal amount can secure positive re-sults. With training and a basic understanding of what makes a dog tick would reduce the amount of unfortunate and tragic incidents occurring. Or you could try to explain to your dog the virtues of political correctness a map may help! Don’t let the dog eat it.

Winkleigh Dog Club

The club has recently moved to Winkleigh village hall. We have three courses running - beginners, intermediates and advanced - each course having a progress test. The new intake for beginners is quarterly and there are only eight places per intake. The club has become very popular and now has thirty regular handlers. The club instructor is Mr Ian Hunt, MBIPDT & ASSD. It’s held on a Thursday evening, beginners starts at 7.00, intermediates at 8.00 and advanced at 9.00. Ian can be contacted on (07870) 767626.