I'm a Rescue Staffie Cross - I have a twitter account and I'm not afraid to use it. Get to know me and you'll love me and I'll love you right back. Look my tail is wagging. for more staffie action @havingabarney

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The government today is set to introduce new legislation to ensure that any newborn puppy is microchipped.  The idea is that this will ensure that all dogs can be traced back to an owner, seemingly the logic is that this will encourage owners to take responsibility for their pets and we’ll see a reduction in the number of dog bite / attacks (whatever you want to call them).  Although the sentiment is clearly right, and I don’t think anyone would disagree that an approach that encourages responsibility of owners is the right course, I’m not sure that compulsory microchipping is the ‘magic bullet.’

Obligatory costs argument

Some will argue that this simply adds cost to people wanting to own a dog, I’m not so sure that this is a bad thing - if you aren’t willing to spend £35 on a safety net for locating your pet then I’m not so sure that you should own a dog. The problem really is that it is an expense for legitimate breeders and the source of the real problem, the cottage industry breeder with no experience, no motivation other than a fast buck isn’t likely to do this and I suspect the type of person who buys or takes one of these puppies isn’t likely to care either.

And there is the real problem

This legislation, although well intentioned actually doesn’t address the problem, that the people that really need targeting will be missed, won’t adhere and won’t care.  They don’t care about the dog and it’s welfare and in all of this the focus needs shifting to solve the problem of poor ownership.

Then the privacy argument

Another point that will inevitable be levelled at this legislation is that of privacy and data protection.  Ok it does add the the ‘big data’ pile, but let’s face it access to this information isn’t going to be that easy and there is a benefit to most owners of having the information available - the tag around my neck with my owners mobile is much less secure data storage.  The biggest concern I have for this data is how easy it is to keep it up to date - a move of house, different phone number, a change of ownership, what are the ramifications for not keeping the data up to date? and who has responsibility for checking and maintaining this?

Neither the cost, nor the privacy argument stack up and compulsory microchipping as a starter can only be a good thing, but more need to be done to address the problem.

Status dogs and a poor law

The last conservative government compounded the problem and now it has gotten out of hand.  They tried stamping out a problem by banning a breed based on media pressure, and without proper consideration the dangerous dogs act was amended to include a set of banned breeds, including ‘pit bull type’ dogs.  And over the past 20 years it has become fashionable to own a ‘banned dog’ within a certain segment of society.  This has led to cross breeding in backyards, an explosion in staffie crosses in rescue centres and a spiralling of unsuitable owners and terrible incidents.

The solution is not simple

There is no sticking plaster, no magic bullet. What is required is a range of measures and more power to enforce where necessary.  Any dog can be a dangerous dog in the wrong hands.  And I’m not just talking about the status dog underclass here, I’m talking about Jack Russel that ‘just gave him a little nip’ or the doberman x that you cannot control.  The important thing is that people respect their dog, take care of his/her welfare, ensure that they raise a nurture a well adjusted, well mannered pet - and anyone that doesn’t is given the help to put it right, and if they won’t has their rights taken away.

I’ve blogged about what is necessary before - you can read a bout it here but I believe that we need a multifaceted approach that at the very least considers the following:

  1. Licence owners
  2. Compulsory Microchipping
  3. Compulsory Annual Vet Visits
  4. Deed based
  5. Context should be a consideration
  6. Ensure a Dog is Innocent until proven guilty
  7. Help owners to improve
  8. Punish bad ownership

We need to focus on a solution to the problem rather than delivering small thinking ‘do something’ legislation.  With an emphasis on personal responsibility and education where necessary we can get things back on track.

Sadly I’m sure compulsory microchipping alone is not enough and for all the arguments of affordability and data protection, the reality is it doesn’t address the whole problem.

*Note: fact checked my History and have amended the Dangerous dogs act bit (Conservative Govt. and 20 yrs not 15)

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As I get more confident and get out and around other dogs more often, I’m starting to see a really worrying trend of Dog owners who  are more than happy to walk with their dog off the lead without the necessary control of their dog.

I’m driven to write this after a huge incident yesterday with what looked like a doberman / Lab cross - a beautiful looking dog, really gorgeous.  But not something that I really want right up in my face while I’m on the lead (read my bio if that makes no sense). 

A bit of background

To frame this I am a happy dog and off the lead I’m confident and well adjusted, my owners are trying to teach me that being on the lead is just as good and that if I stay calm with other dogs around while I’m on the lead, I get rewarded by getting to play with them.  I’m getting better, it is going to take time for me to fully get it but I’m getting there.  So as part of my training we go walking in wide open spaces where there is likely to be other dogs that I can learn to deal with.  The vast majority of other owners are great, and have helped my owners by being patient and allowing me to slowly get introduced to their dogs.

Others however are not…

So back to the main point of the blog post. We were out walking in the lovely spaces of the national trust park that I love.  we walk to a big open field and then I get to run around unhindered by that blinking lead. 

The good, that bad and the downright irresponsible

As I mentioned we’d met some nice people and I’d had some really good success with a floppy basset hound and a massive pack of pooches that befriended us, lots of patient owners and obedient dogs.  Unfortunately, that trend didn’t continue. A young lab off the lead with a large family bounded over to me and was in their words ‘just saying hello’ and then ‘just wanted to play.’  The problem is that this dog, off the lead, circled me and I got more and more stressed,  I barked to ask it to leave, it didn’t and the owners powerless to call it back were surprised when I got louder and more agitated. 

Thankfully I have quite experienced owners who calmed me down and reassured me that I was safe, we walked on without too much hassle - though the lab did follow and as am I staffie cross we got some sneering comment.  Should your dog be off the lead if you lack even the most basic of control?

A bad situation

Not five minutes later we were walking up a rather large open hillside (I’m still on the lead) when the doberman lab x spotted us from the top of the hill and made a beeline for us.  The dog covered about 25m with the owner stood staring.  My mum, started to panic, as the dog was moving fast, my dad had me on the lead and I sat for him wile he asked the other owner to call his dog back.  He didn’t call his dog back, and a few seconds later the dog (about twice my size) was in my face.  I’m not proud of the fact I cried, and then barked at it - I do like my own space, at which point the situation escalated and the other dog got aggressive, circling and snapping at both me and my dad.

At this point my mum had become really upset and was shouting at the guy to call his dog back - he strolled down the hill and sauntered across the field over to the chaos that was happening around me and my dad.  I’d starting getting really stressed and was at this point trying to hide behind my dad whilst telling the other dog to back off - but we were trapped, everywhere we went the other dog followed barking, snarling and snapping at my hind legs.

The other dogs owner had reached us at this point and was, in the quietest, meekest voice asking his dog to sit and stay - commands which this dog was certainly not obeying.  He then tried poking a massive stick in between his dog and me and my dad, this just made things worse.

It gets worse

My dad, is usually pretty calm in most situations, but at this point the lack of assertive action from the other owner made my dad bark at him.  There was some shouting about stop messing about and put your dog on a lead, my dad made me sit, I did and got my backside bitten (not severely, but enough to give me a fright).  At which point my dad, in quite strong terms, told the guy to get hold of his dog, thankfully the guy grabbed the dogs collar and said “I’m so sorry, he doesn’t bite.”  I think my dad was a little angry because he shouted at the guy that his dog needs to be on a lead, and that it could have been much worse if we had children with us. My mum was crying.

Take responsibility

This isn’t the first or last time this sort of thing has happened, I’ve blogged before about being cornered by German Shepherds with no owner in sight.  It worries me that this is more and more common.  People seem to be blind to it - it is not OK and it is certainly something we shouldn’t accept.

As an owner you have a responsibility to your dog and to everyone else.  If you do not have control, your dog should not be off the lead it is that simple.  I don’t care whether you think your dog is just playing, or saying hello you need to teach your dog manners and at least have decent recall.  And if you see a dog on a lead, that dog is on a lead for a reason and unless you can keep your dog by your side - do us all a favour and pop your lead on.

Training is the most important thing you can do with your dog.  The skills will empower you and give you confidence and in return will establish you as a credible leader to your dog.  I’m not talking about domination, or making sure your dog is scared of you, I’m talking about genuine skills that help your dog see that letting you make the call, means that things go well.  If you tell him or her to stop, or come back they do because they trust that you know best.  Don’t just let your dog off the lead and let them sort it out, it is not responsible. 

I’m a staffie, I’m a rescue and I came with baggage,  but my owners act responsibly and are putting the time and effort into getting me through it.  I love people and other dogs and I am learning how to behave appropriately, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to run around and play with other dogs, it just means that I don’t get to dart up to every dog I see.

Niiiiice. We don’t support BSL here
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Niiiiice. We don’t support BSL here

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Source: reflectivememories


Source: rescueremedies.myfastforum.org via Simon on Pinterest


This is the poster girl for a pinterest experiement by one of my owners.  The idea is that dogs needing homes could be helped using the pinning service.  We’ll see how it goes

Source: rescueremedies.myfastforum.org via Simon on Pinterest

This is the poster girl for a pinterest experiement by one of my owners.  The idea is that dogs needing homes could be helped using the pinning service.  We’ll see how it goes

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Having seen the fallout from the horrific news of a little girl being attacked by a dog on Saturday it was easy to see why there were an army of dog lovers on Facebook and Twitter concerned that the BBC documentary Death Row Dogs would be another programme villifying bull breeds.  Thankfully, the BBC, being the BBC presented, in my opinion a brilliantly balanced peice of television highlighting animal neglect, the impact of breed specific legislation and the difficult balance that the police have in enforcing a law they do not fully agree with.

If you have a the time and are prepared to cry you can wacth the documentary on the iplayer here

So will it help? in the short term no.  As the clearly upset officer dealing with Tyson’s case put it “any change in the law will come too late for this one” and I think everyone who wathced will be hard pressed to ever forget Tyson, happy and friendly, wagging his tail till the end.

The programme did however hopefully demonstrate to a wider public the big issues surrounding this legislation:

- It is far too easy to own a dog,  and by outlawing a particular breed it becomes desirable to people who shouldn’t own a dog

- Breed Specific Legislation isn’t working, it is compounding the problem by making it desirable to breed the banned charachteristics and  it ensures that in situations where owners are not capable sweet dogs are destroyed, not because of how they have acted, but because of how they have behaved

- Even the enforcers dislike the legislation, I’ve met with local enforcment officers all of whom echoed what the dangerous dogs unit were saying and seeing last night.  They care about dogs and are stuck between a rock and a hard place, they can’t give a dog back to be neglected, but then because of a crazy peice of legislation they cannot re-home even the nicest dog and because of the way it looks they have to destroy it.

-The police need powers, any change in the legislation needs to empower police to help owners improve, remove dogs that have been trained for aggression and tackle the levels of neglect that were seen last night

- We need urgent change, The longer this continues the more difficult it will be to affect change

I wrote a bit about my thoughts on changes to the DDA, you can read them here. The fact is the law does not work and the more people see that the more pressure we can put on to change the law. 

So will the programme help - I sincerely hope so.

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With all the talk of dangerous ‘trophy dogs’ it is worth remembering the cost of banning breeds, lots of us end up in kennels - here is the story of me (it is my owners voice).

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Having a Barney

We rescued barney almost 2 years ago, he is a gorgeous Staffie Cross (but then so are most rescues these days), niether of us had ever owned a dog before and although a little naieve we’d thought about the implications and made sure we could take care of a dog.

We got Barney on our second visit to the Manchester Dogs home, the first time we had to walk away because we werent in a position to just ‘walk away’ with a dog and that is what is required if you are to rescue a dog from there. We both totally fell for Barney’s natural charm, we’ve come to realise he has the ability to wrap any person around his little paws. We paid our money and took Dog47 (who we were now calling Barney) home with us, he had Kennel Cough, an infection in his ear and an infection threatening in his neutering stitches.

Poor Barney spent the first few days with us getting very ill - we went through quite a bit of kitchen roll and cleaner, thankfully Barney is a resilient lad and adapted to our house really quickly. Unfortunately the ‘good with kids, good with other dogs’ dog that we had adopted really, REALLY wasn’t. Within about 6 weeks barney had developed some pretty serious behavioural problems - some of which as inexperienced dog owners I am ashamed to say we made worse.

Inevitable mistakes

We thought he was nervous around other dogs and on the advice of many, many people we took him to a local puppy class, run by an ‘experienced’ dog trainer - Barney was beside himself, whining and barking at the other dogs, struggling to get off the lead. The style of this perticular trainer was very much alpha male, pack leader stuff - and we didn’t know better. We were given some advice which we tried and continued to go back to the class to try and get Barney socialised and a bit better behaved, that was until the trainer decided he didn’t like Barney’s barking and tried to physically dominate him, grabbing barney by the scruff of his neck, shaking him and ‘alpha rolling’ him to the ground - Barney reacted really aggresively, we had made him worse and we were devastated. We didn’t know any better, we didn’t know where to go for advice, but we did know that we needed proper help and quickly.

Everyone around us, even the most caring people we knew said we had to get rid of him. I wasn’t prepared to do that without at least trying to help Barney, and we had become really attached to him. It felt like we had nowhere to turn so I called the Vet, who talked through Barney’s issues with us and referred us to a dog behaviourist. This was the best thing that ever happend to me and Barney, Kate was our behaviourist and, although relatively expensive (I later found out my insurance covered it) she was prepared to see Barney straight away.

Dog Behaviourist??

As an aside I had prepared myself for the fact that Kate might say that the most humane and sensible thing to do for barney would be to let him go. So when Kate arrived I was nervous and really apprehensive, I wanted to do the right thing. Thankfully after spending an hour with us Kate explained that Barney had a case of OCD - he obsesses about things and that we’d need to put in an awful lot of hard work to undo some of his more difficult traits, but that we would get there. She also showed us that to be a ‘pack leader,’ you don’t need to bully or scare your dog and reassured us that Barney’s reaction to the trainer was a natural animal instinct - in her opinion Barney was not aggressive by nature. We had done a lot of things wrong, but we were inexperienced and Barney wasn’t really a dog for the inexperienced

Kate gave us loads of techniques and training to work with and options - to find ones that suited us, but all of them were focused on positive re-inforcement. We saw kate 3 or 4 times over the next 6 months - and she’s still in my speed dial list. We worked really hard, myself, my partner and Barney. He’s a smart dog and some of it he picked up really quickly, some of it he didn’t - some of it we picked up really quickly and some of it we didn’t.

With the right help and a lot of hard work we are now experienced dog owners, within a year we helped get Barney from a dog who had no social skills or training to a dog that will now walk on the lead, behave himself in the house and who had actually been out for walks with selected other dogs. We were still a long way from Barney being a family pet, but,  keep reminding ourselves it had only been a year and we and Barney had come a long way. Some days it was exhausting, some days it is frustrating, most days it is wonderful and a true priveledge to have Barney in our lives.

A long and winding road

We are now nearly 2 years along the road with Barney, he’s well adjusted with other dogs, polite and obedient. He’s great on and off the lead, he still has OCD, but we’ve learned to read him and he’s learned to trust us.  We’ve only just got there and we still have a lot of work to do - houseguests still have to be patient whilst we get him to calm down, he absolutely craves attention and hasn’t quite learned how to relax in that situation yet - but, we’ll get there.

We’ve learned a lot with Barney, but there are some things that I think stick with me most - when I saw the report that went to the vet from Kate (I had to provide it to my insurer) the last line stuck in my mind and has kept me focused. “Barney has some severe behavioural issues, however, in my opinion the outlook for Barney is excellent as his owners are sensible and committed” the vet told us that Barney was lucky to have us as most people would have given up. I’m glad we didin’t give up and have stayed committed. The other thing I learned is that there is a lot of advice out there, a lot of it poor.

Hard work and dedication

The most important thing I learned is that rescuing a dog is hard work, it requires commitment and dedication, I don’t know if our experience is tougher than most, but for every bit of pain and effort you go through the rewards are immesurable. When Barney succeeds, we succeed and that feeling is amazing. When someone comments on how much better Barney is, or is amazed at how far we’ve come it makes me unbelievably proud.

The fact is that Barney is now far better behaved than many of the other dogs owned by the people who gave us dissaproving looks or were so disaparraging about his behaviour in the first place.

Barney is far from perfect, but then I’ve never come accross a dog that is. He may look a bit like a ‘trophy dog,’ but he’s a lover not a fighter and the more we put in with him the more we get back.

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The fact is I’m not a bad dog, and I flourished with responsible dedicated owners.  All this talk of banning breeds and outlawing ‘trophy dogs’ is crazy.  I’m one of the lucky ones though - there are so many staffie and staffy cross breeds needing homes it is getting ridiculous. We need to focus on the people, the owners and the breeders giving help and support where necesary and ensuring that the irresponsible ones don’t get away with it.

Thanks for listening

B

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Just read an interesting article in the Guardian about the Dangerous Dogs Act (1991) in England you can read the full article here http://bit.ly/wHPwCJ  It is widely acknowledged that this piece of legislation was rushed through in response to media pressure surrounding some serious attacks on kids by ‘pit bull’ breed dogs.  The legislation was meant to get rid of banned breeds and reduce the number of dog attacks - the legislation has done neither and has in fact led to a boom in cross breeding to create so called ‘status dogs.’

Should a dog be judged on how it looks?

The DDA names a set of band breeds bred for fighting including ‘pit bull terrier’ types however there are more on the ‘banned breed list:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Braziliero

source: direct.gov

There is very little guidance as to what constitutes a ‘Pit Bull Terrier’ direct.gov suggests that you contact your local police force (which incidentally my owners did) but it is primarily about how a dog looks.  The actual guidance to enforcers is from Defra and is based on the American Dog Breeders Association standard you can view the info here. If you have read my blog before you’ll know that I do not support this type of legislation - the way a dog looks is no indicator of how it will behave, so why should a ‘type’ of dog be banned?

Now I’m not a full Staffy, I’m a cross breed and I do have some characteristics that make me look a little ‘pit bull.’ in fact the reason I have been vetted by the police is that my owners were told by a stranger on the street they had a banned dog.  Had this person been an enforcement office I could have been taken from my owners without having done a single thing wrong. Simply because of legislative ambiguity and how I look - not based on behaviour, or temperament, simply aesthetics. Try a quick web or social media search and you’ll see a growing number of cases where perfectly behaved family pets have been confiscated - Lennox being the most high profile, but there are more.

Now the police argue that this legislation allows them to do their job when it comes to trophy or status dogs used by gangs and other such ner-do-wells, and I am sure that it does help, but that isn’t really a good enough reason for keeping a legislation that isn’t helping a situation that is getting out of control.

Keep people safe

Part of the legislation relates to a dog that is ‘dangerously out of control’ which I do think is a sensible starting point, subjective, but a good starting point.  I can give you plenty of examples of having encountered ‘out of control’ dogs with no owner in sight, being backed into a corner by 2 snarling German Shepherds whilst my owner shouted for their owner who was nowhere to be seen was not fun.  I hid behind my owner, and I’m potentially the ‘Dangerous Dog’ here. the fact is that incidents like this should not happen - you should not be fearful of a dog, it should be properly under control when off the lead, or it should always be on the lead.

So how to proceed?

The answer isn’t simple, but it involves amending the current law and ensuring that responsible ownership is encouraged and irresponsible behaviour outlawed.  Here are some ideas:

- Licence owners, it happens with cars, dog owners need to know the basics at least and be competent.  Prove you CAN own a dog and then you CAN. 

- Compulsory Microchipping, why wouldn’t you want your dog microchipped? It is your best chance of getting them back if they go missing

- Deed based, forget the breed let’s worry about the dogs that are causing threat and/or harm.

- Context should be a consideration, what led to the deed?  Should a dog that is being beaten by a burglar be destroyed for being aggressive towards the tormentor?

- Innocent until proven guilty, Without evidence for dangerous behaviour, don’t confiscate dogs

- Punish bad ownership - it is rare for dogs to be naturally aggressive (especially towards people) this comes form poor ownership and bad training. This should extend as far as breeders - we might loose some puppy farms then.

- Help owners to improve, people make mistakes, take on dogs that are beyond their skills and most with help will improve.Any legislation should be progressive enough to help people get better (like the speed awareness courses)

- Compulsory Annual Vet Visits,  This is more to help protect the dog, but will ensure vaccinations are up to date, that there are no health problems that would lead to any issues and allow owners the opportunity to ask for help.

This should help the police crack down on dodgy breeders, irresponsible owners and begin to stamp out the trophy dog culture, if you have no microchip and no license then your dog can be confiscated.

Until we stop seeing some breeds as naturally ‘bad’ then things won’t change.  Let’s make sure that any change to the law is one that improves the situation and encourages responsible ownership, whilst punishing those who treat their dogs badly and encourage aggression.

These might not be all the answers - but it certainly feels like it addresses more than the current legislation. what do you think?

updated: 24/01 - Had another little thought on this and I have added in another idea to make things a little better (Compulsory Vet visits)

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Newshopper has got my goat again.  This time trotting out a truly unqualified behaviourist.  I’ve been through the process, I have behaviour issues and I know how important it is to get the right advice - not some unqualified, half cocked, Cesar Milan style advice.  So I posted at newsshopper - in fact right here

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/bexley/9298423.Part_three_of_News_Shopper_s_Shop_a_Dog_campaign/

and this is what I said

"This is a long comment but please stick with it – it is important. 

Although Peter Singh is clearly well intentioned, he is, unfortunately woefully unqualified as a Dog Behaviourist and promoting his site could actually do more harm than good. He is not APBC (Association of Pet Behaviourists and Councillors) registered and his qualifications are sketchy at best. It is important with any dog; especially ones with behavioural issues that the right kind of advice is gained otherwise the problems can be compounded and in the worst cases escalate. 

It is statements like this that I find the most worrying “…make sure they are not the dominant one in the household.”  Being a good leader is not about being dominant; any good behaviourist will teach you that. 

Like most people commenting here, and Peter Sing, I disagree with Breed Specific Legislation - we need legislation like that being promoted by Lord Redesdale that is concerned with ensuring owners take more responsibility, not villainising specific breeds.  Your campaign disappoints me as there is an opportunity to create a real force for change, but that change will only happen with well-considered, well researched arguments, not inflammatory stories like the ones you are promoting here. 

You have been urged by the major dog charities and the public alike to change your campaign.  Listen to what they are saying, put a bit more effort in and we could make the UK a better place for responsible owners and their dogs. “

I feel like there is an opportunity with all this to change things and I really hope we can be the catalyst for this.

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Something drew my attention back to my pet hate of Breed Specific Legislation this week. The thing in question was and still is a campaign run by a Kent / London newspaper regarding dangerous dogs, @newsshopper is the organisation, and, to be fair to them some of their campaign is targeted in the right area, unfortunately some of it is not.

What did they get right?

Let’s look at the good first.  The campaign, rightly calls for more responsibility to be put on owners - whether on private land or public.  If a dog attacks or bites then the owner, regardless of where it happens should be held to account - you should have control over your dog.  No If’s, but’s or maybe’s about it.  And the News Shopper guys have got that right. completely.  The other thing they have kind of right is that the Dangerous Dogs Act is not fit for purpose - take a look at the wealth of animal shelters and dog related charity sites and you’ll see that the dangerous dogs act effectively creates trophy breeds and then usually ends up missing the wider issue that it is widely accepted that dog aggression tends to come from poor owners or owners specifically looking to train it into their dog.

What did they get wrong

This is the reason for my writing this - the first thing I dislike is the image that they attach to the article, a photoshopped dog showing aggression with a chain covered in blood - that just breeds fear, and not the kind of fear that would help.  Secondly, and the most disgraceful bit the standpoint that all Staffordshire Bull Terriers should be muzzled in public.  I’m sorry what?! (could have done with an interrobang for there), there would be outcry if one section of society was being picked on due to the behaviour of a few - less than well brought up individuals, especially when there are other breeds that could be aggressive - and not just the ones that the current legislation defines as ‘dangerous.’

I’ve no firm statistics on dog related aggression, however, it stands to reason that smaller breeds will ultimately do less physical damage if they bite someone - but morally does that make small dog aggression any more acceptable.  I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure a child bitten by a jack russel will be badly psychologically affected.

Let me illustrate this using the recent riots -would it be right to say that all Londoners should be locked up - well they rioted didn’t they. It is a ridiculous statement just like suggesting that all young black men are criminals, of course they aren’t and dogs cannot be classified like this either.

So what do we need

We need legislation that recognises that a dog owner needs to act responsibly and ensure that their dog is kept under reasonable control at all times - whether in their own home or out on the street. The fact is if your dog is dangerous, regardless of whether it is a beagle or a boxer, a shitzu or a staffie you should have the onus placed on you to sort it out.  That being said I also think that there should be more freely available help to owners - I am a dog with complex problems and without the help of a vet, some understanding family members and a fair amount of time and money I wouldn’t be half the dog I am today.  Responsible owners should be offered the support they need when working with dogs with problems and irresponsible ones should feel the full force of the law. Legislation should be based around the dog and not around a specific breed, it is out-dated and completely flawed.  

The RSPCA, The Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs Home and a whole host of other great organisations agree and are lobbying the government.  Liberal Democrat peer Lord Redesdale is spearheading a new Dog Control Bill, he’s aiming to get things changed and you can read a little more about him here http://www.theyworkforyou.com/peer/lord_redesdale

Here is hoping that things change and that the UK encourages responsible dog ownership - let’s stop trying to outlaw specific breeds.

A bit of background

I’m a 5 year old rescue staffie and I have issues, I’m technically in therapy as it is suspected that I suffered for being bred to look like a “dangerous dog,” I don’t need muzzling and I have paperwork to prove it, but I do need to stay on my lead, unless I’m in a well contained area and then I get a bit of freedom.  My issues are wide ranging but relate to Stress and heightened emotional levels - I get worked up and fixate easily - think of me like a child with ADHD and OCD and you are there.  

I tend to get set upon by Labradors off the lead as I stress around other dogs and if another dog gets in my face I’ll bark at it, which most Labradors take the wrong way and bite me, I’ve never bitten back and my owners are usually given a look of derision followed by “he / she is usually fine, your dog snapped at him / her.”  To which my dad has got pretty good at retorting with “He (that’s me) is on a lead, by my side because he (me again) is not Okay around other dogs.  And thanks to you not controlling your dog properly He (yep, me again) has been set back, again.”  My owners are responsible and take reasonable care to make sure that I’m protected as much as other people and animals are - I could be a daschound or a doberman and they would take the same care and that is why I would like to see a change in the law, so that more dogs like me don’t suffer.

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1. If I like it, it’s mine.

2. If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine.

3. If I can take it from you, it’s mine.

4. If I had it a little while ago, it’s mine.

5. If it’s mine, it must never appear to be yours in any way.

6. If I’m chewing something up, all the pieces are mine.

7. If it just looks like mine, it’s mine.

8. If I saw it first, it’s mine.

9. If you are playing with something and you put it down, it automatically becomes mine.

10. If it’s broken, it’s yours.