There's been a lot of hysteria over a number of recent dog incidents in Calgary. These incidents were severe and included two canine deaths and a number of children that were bitten. Of course this has lead to the media calling for breed bans and a uneducated city counsellor suggesting all dogs should be muzzled for their first year and then subjected to a bandana system after that. I have some actual solutions that would solve our dog safety concerns.
#1 - Every single person who owns a dog should at the very least attend a series of dog training classes this includes puppy classes, basic manners, canine good neighbour class and more. Dog training should be an ongoing process that takes your pet from puppy to adult (not just 6 weeks or a do it at home job). I might add that I am a Professional Dog Trainer (certified by the CCPDT) and I still bring my own dogs to classes. This provides a stimulating environment to learn in and some constructive feedback from my peers. All dogs of all ages should go to classes.
#2 - If your dog has behaviour issues that include poor recall, aggression, anxiety or any sort of guarding behaviour please have a certified trainer come to your home for private sessions. This is incredibly important and should be a top priority.
#3 - Do not take anxious or aggressive dogs to the park. This is not the venue to socialize them. In fact aggressive dogs should wear muzzles in public and always be kept on leash. I've had a number of dogs who are running off leash in on leash areas attack my own dogs. These dogs should be taken from their owners.
#4 - Irresponsible owners (people who have complaints due to running at large, aggression, ect.) should pay higher licensing fees and should have to prove attendance with a trainer.
#5 - Don't allow your dog to be off leash in on leash areas. Other people and dogs may not want to interact with your dog. Keep your own pet safe by abiding by Bylaws as they exist for a reason.
Things for the public to keep in mind:
#1 - Breed doesn't mean a thing. It's all about socialization, genetics and good training. Every dog should be judged individually and anxious/aggressive dogs should have access to behaviour modification just like a sick dog should have access to a vet.
#2 - Muzzling puppies will stunt bite inhibition and learning. Also most of the aggression incidents we see as trainers do not include dogs under 1 year old. Most are adult dogs who have an escalating history of aggression.
Please be a responsible owner and spread the message. I've personally passed the Canine Good Neighbour test with ALL of my dogs... that's 6 CGNs now. Please take the time to teach your dog to be a good neighbour and to share our city safely.