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Animal behaviour expert Karen Wild discusses how to raise dogs correctly

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Much as we would like to always blame owners for their dogs problems, it’s wise to look at the bigger picture when it comes to how a dog behaves, writes animal behaviour expert Karen Wild.

Owners almost always share stories with me of their dog getting beaten up by another dog. Even the tiniest puppies have been attacked, bullied or knocked flying. Chased until exhaustion or seriously bitten. That’s certainly not their own fault!

It starts with basic manners. Owners dearly wish other people would not allow their dogs to race up to them when on walks. I don’t know anyone whose dog enjoys being dog-bombed. It is really dangerous, and just yelling ‘Don’t worry - he’s friendly!” doesn’t make it excusable.

Karen Wild
Karen Wild

I’ve worked with countless owners whose dogs have been crashed into, rushed at, pinned, humped or simply bounced about by a boisterous dog. Upon complaining to the owner (often way off in the distance) they are ignored or sometimes, sworn at!

Dogs behaving this way are displaying very poor social skills. Whilst I am a big fan of dogs getting used to other dogs, it is a fact that some dogs are simply too rough. Play is only fun when there’s give and take.

Not every dog wishes to be sociable. Dogs, just like people, can be timid, introvert, even fearful. Others can be enthusiastic and fun, to the point of overdoing it. If the extremes meet, it can be the worst scenario of a terrified dog trying to escape, paired with an ebullient lump of a dog being so friendly that resistance of any kind is futile.

This does not teach good habits for either dog. It leaves the timid one with a well-honed fear of other dogs, and the bouncy dog with the expectation that every dog is fair game for a pummelling.

Please do not allow your dog to behave in this way. It messes up everyone else’s dog for them.

A good recall is easy to teach and helps to settle a dog down. It teaches them to take their time and listen to you rather than rush in to situations. It could even save your dog’s life one day. Next time you are out and about, BEFORE you let your dog off lead, make sure that he or she comes back to you when you call, immediately, every time. Only then can you allow the further freedom.

Let’s make our community a great place to own a dog, by starting at home with our own. It would be great to have parks, woods and walks where we can feel like the whole ‘village’ is looking after and helping us raise all our dogs.

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