(Part two of a two part series)

(Dog owner and guardian are used interchangeably through this article)

 

In our first article about “Random” Canine Aggression, we discussed issues not only pertaining to Miami dog training, but training, behavior and dog aggression at large and how it initiates, propagates and flourishes.   Here are some changes that may be made to help prevent bites in the public sphere and in your own abode.

 

Common Sense Rules for Dog Owners

 

Non-socialized, untrained, or aggressive dogs should be required to wear muzzles in public places or when there are other pets or people around.  The pet parents of those dogs should also be required to be enrolled in positive reinforcement certified professional dog training (CPDT) and behavior modification classes with a qualified CPDT or behaviorist professional.  It is not humane to do any less or to not socialize or train your dog.  If you don’t have the time or money you should not be the guardian of another’s life.  We fall back on our guiding principle that pet ownership is a privilege not a right.

 

Common Sense Rules for the Public

 

If you see a dog, never approach the pet without asking the owner explicitly and clearly “Is your dog friendly” and “may I approach or pet him/her”? Furthermore, if there is a yellow ribbon or string attached to the leash or on the collar that may indicate that the dog needs some space.  If you do not know how to read a dog’s body language, equanimity and the intricate details of a dog’s movements, do not approach the dog.  If you simply crouch down a good distance away in a sideways posture and do not make direct eye contact with the pup, he/she will come to you if they would like to be pet, on their own volition.  Most people forget that if the dog would like affection he/she will come to you.  If the dog does not come to you, do not force yourself onto the dog; they are not mindless, emotionless stuffed animals here for your pleasure. How would you like it if random people walking down the street ran up to you and stroked your face or rubbed your belly or back?   That would be creepy and scary!  Respect a dog’s space and boundaries.  Just because a dog is in public does not give you the O.K. to touch or reach for him/her.  You can appreciate and show love from afar, anything else is just plain selfish and may land you with a bite.

 

What Can Be Done

 

Our government is asleep at the wheel so it is up to business owners, building managers, home owner associations, co-op boards, communities and businesses everywhere to open up their doors (metaphorically and literally) to responsible owners and their pets who earn their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Therapy dog titles/certificates and of course service dogs.  It is also up to those entities mentioned above, to restrict and self-enforce non-compliant patrons or pet parents and their dogs who are clearly not friendly and irresponsible owners.  Safety and health are the primary concerns and it will end up costing the business establishments a lot more in legal fees and bad publicity than the lost revenue of that customer.  It is simply inexcusable and irresponsible to do anything but screen patrons and their dogs.  Responsibility is a very powerful word and requires action. A responsible pet parent takes an active role in improving the relationship and bond with their dog and seeks professional help to achieve that.  A responsible owner seeks to achieve the minimum dog training and behavior standard for every dog, the CGC test.  Your business or organization would be leaders in the community and will receive positive press and attention for your actions.

 

Rules and Regulation

 

What are rules and regulation if they go unenforced?  It is as effective as a dog without a bite (pardon the pun). While it may be great to have these rules in place by businesses and governments, if the rules go unenforced they will largely be ignored.  As a business owner responsible for employees and other patrons, as a home owner responsible for family members, guests, anyone that comes over your home and your pet, it is your responsibility to put safety first of all of the people and animals involved.  This includes dog training, behavior modification classes and all of the actions that go with being a responsible pet owner. To ignore these basic tenets of life and responsibility is to fail at performing your civic duty and to disrespect every person and animal you interact with.  There should be laws and rules that punish criminals and reward good citizens.  In the tragic event of a dog bite or attack, the media should also be responsible and turn their attention to the owners of the dogs and not solely to the breed and dog themselves.  Expose the true criminals, not an animal that has either been neglected or abused. What is your opinion?  Do you have any other suggestions or remedies not listed?

 

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