Saturday, August 13, 2011

How to Raise a Dog

 Over the recent years we have heard more and more about breed-specific legislation. And its no wonder considering the horrific news stories we've all heard and shaken our head over.
There have been arguments for both sides. One wants to eradicate all known "killer" breeds, the other argues for socialization and training. Neither side though is going to win this argument until we get to the root of the problem.
Since the first time we tamed the a wolf to be a pet, we have been conditioning animals to be our companions. What we have lost sight of though is the reminder that animals are exactly that, an animal. Even your most docile breed can bite.
So when you leave your children in a room alone with your pet, you are trusting your dog with your children's life. Especially when your children are very young. Just as you cannot trust even the most docile pet, you cannot trust the most docile child. Simply to walk up on a dog fast and startle him, or pull on a tail or ear can set off a dogs nature to protect himself.
Dogs are NOT babysitters. No matter how many times we like to remember Lassie reruns, we must remember that dogs cannot be left unattended with children. As the adult in the household, you need to be certain that you raise a well rounded dog that is part of the pack. From the beginning YOU need to establish who is pack leader. Dogs are much happier if they know who is in charge. So that means instead of letting little foo foo do whatever it wants, you need to train your dogs. Your dogs need exercise, socialization and their generally much happier if they have a job.
Insuring that you have a well rounded dog doesn't just start from puppy-hood. It begins before the puppy is even born.
Breeders out there are plentiful. But not every one knows what they are doing. An irresponsible breeder has little selection process besides whether the dog is male, female, breed type, and intact. If a dog has been poorly bred or inbred from the start, chances are that the temperament of the dog and bitch were not tested. Given that you put two aggressive dogs together to breed, would it be any wonder that the pups turn out aggressive?

Buying from bybers just encourages the supply and demand. In the end all it ensures is that more dogs end up in shelters or heaven forbid, end up on the evening news as a dog that has attacked.
A responsible breeder will test their dogs for any traits that can be passed onto the puppies that is undesirable. This normally cannot be done till they are at least 2 of age. So if your breeder is throwing their 1 yr old dogs together to make some cash, walk away very fast.
The breeding stock should be selected carefully with temperament testing, health checks, and at the least a proven working skill or some kind of competition excellence. Why breed dogs just to make more puppies? After all there are plenty in shelters needing homes. Breeding should be done to better a breed, not to add to our already growing supply of pet quality dogs.
Raising a well rounded dog is our responsibility. And avoiding dog attacks from happening begins with knowing your dogs needs, vices, and counteracting that with training, socialization, and avoiding situations that will set the dog up for failure. A dog is not a play thing you can toss in the backyard and then bring back into the family fold and think they will be well socialized pets. They need your time, your commitment, and your love.
Breed specific legislation will never work because it does not solve the root of the problem. Until we decide as a whole to educate all pet owners on how to properly train and socialize dogs, BSL will not become a thing of the past.
It is up to us to change the way we treat our animals. The fact remains that humans are responsible for dog attacks. If its really all in how their raised, it starts with every pet owner reading this journal.


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Blessed Be,