Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dangerous Dog Label or Dog Guardian Made a Mistake Label?

I hate the "Dangerous Dog" labels, not because I'm some sort of fanatic but because they don't describe the dog or the situation he's in when he gets into trouble.

As a certified trainer I'm asked to work on hearings for guardians of dogs that have gotten into trouble. I see the same thing over and over:

Dog in yard....most of the time
Dog in yard not trained
Dog in yard not trained or socialized to humans they don't know
Dog left to his own canine "wiring" with no leadership or guidance, i.e. "uh, uh, don't jump on that man to greet him, sit first" - let's remember folks, dogs are animals they aren't bank executives for a reason, they need guidance
Dog with reproductive parts = desire to roam, to jump fence to leave safe contained area and uh, oh yeah, back to that no guidance thing!

We know that dogs left in a yard with their "parts" with little socialization and training get into trouble. Then of course it becomes a breed thing, wha? It's a DOG thing! No wait, it's and owner/guardian thing! How can a dog be left to decide and fend for himself then be blamed for it? Do we leave toddlers in the streets and say "ok honey, watch out for those cars now" ?? A case I'm working on right now is a Chocolate Lab case. So breed schmeed!

Guardians, spay and neuter your dogs, they're not dinosaurs going extinct. Keep them contained inside, preferably next to you snuggling. Train them, teach them, let them play with new people appropriate playmates, give them a good life, they deserve it.

Dangerous dog hearings are no fun and gawd, someone change that title to "My guardian didn't realize my fence was broken, sorta forgot about me in general, that I need training, socialization and birth control so I got out and didn't know what to do and got into trouble".


  1. I didn't write this one but I really need to add my .02. As the guardian of one of those small yappy type dogs we also need to take some responsibility for their behavior while out walking. It is NOT cute that they are at the end of their leashes barking and lunging whether they are 5 lbs or 25 lbs. They are often not innocent litle victims of the bigger dog who decides they've had enough of their rudeness. We all need to take responsiblity for training our dogs both big and small, to make sure that they are well behaved and well socialized. ok...so that was maybe .04 worth but I could easily go on an on about this topic! Great post Marthina!

  2. I'm sick of it, too! People expect too much from dogs! When dogs do things humans find wrong, it's 'the dog's fault' or 'blame it on the dangerous breed'. What about the HUMAN in the equation, the human who didn't take even the normal, basic steps towards proper canine management & training? Dogs pay for human error all the time, and the worst part of it is that the human who was responsible for the dog ends up blaming the dog, too. Must be nice to live in a world where the repercussions of your actions can be blamed on someone else. In these cases, an innocent animal.

  3. GREAT post! I love this.

    Buna was euthanized today. Thanks to a piss poor owner who let her go stray, never trained her, let her have litter after litter. Because her issues couldn't be managed early enough, she suffers.

    My 2 cents: Pit Bulls are NOT outdoor dogs. Actually, I don't think ANY dog should be outdoors, unless they're a TRUE working breed.

    Thanks for this post, Marthina!!

  4. You bet, you're welcome! Personally I love snugglin' with the lil goobers on the couch.

  5. Oh Liz, I am so sorry to hear about Buna. I thought she was doing well?

  6. Great post Marthina!

    Maybe there should be some kind of common sense test that people should be required to take and pass before getting a dog. Wouldn't that be nice?!

    And an excellant point as well Mary, which is definitely one of my biggest pet peaves...Just why is it the so many dog guardians, and for some reason (in my neighborhood anyway), it tends to be the owners of small dogs nearly 9 times out of 10... How could they possibly think that it is even remotely okay to have their 'little darling' bark and snarl and growl and lunge at another dog (either big or small)? And even worse, why are these snarfy dogs mostly always off leash? Ugh!

    Yes...there is a leash law for a reason...it keeps everyone safe and orderly. We as responsible dog owners need to obide it, and, it really needs to be enforced for those who don't take their dog guardian role seriously.

  7. Anon, I agree. I go crazy with the little ones off leash over here.

    Many people just don't get the safety idea. My favorite is their dog is running up to yours and they say "he's ok!" Ugh.

    It irks me even more that it turns into a breed issue when it's an off leash canine issue.