Dangerous Dogs: Family Friend or Foe?

With all this controversy over dangerous dogs, I wonder when a dog should be classified as a threat to the family?



The media has been awash with stories recently concerning dangerous dogs. Some of these stories have been devastatingly sad, involving children being fatally injured or harmed.

Clearly, if you were to refer to the list of animals contained within the dangerous dogs act, it's pretty obvious which ones any sane person would steer well clear of; pit bull crosses for example.

Safe family pets...?

Generally, our dog loving public seem to be under the impression that most dogs are 'safe' family pets. But research has proved that ALL dogs are capable of harming a human being, particularly babies and small children.

Dogs have a pack mentality and will in every circumstance try to be the leader of that pack, even if this means turning on a trusted owner. They are also territorial, the very reason some people decide to own a large ferocious dog - they make excellent guardians of us and our property.

Dogs can be jealous of a new baby

It is not uncommon for a once soppy old family hound to turn into a jealous snarling beast when a new, gurgling baby arrives on the scene.

To the pet, the baby is an interloper; a threat to his security and position within the family. This needs very careful and sensitive handling and many families simply do not know how to cope with the transition.

Irresponsible dog owners

Then you have the clueless, irresponsible dog owners, whose sole aim seems to be to give certain breeds a bad name, Staffordshire bull terriers for example have had a really bad press because of this.

This is unfair and a bit of a misnomer. Not too many people know that Staffies have a very sweet temperament and are one of the safest breeds to have around children. It maddens me that they are being ill-treated and bred for fighting and violence. This should be clamped down on, with more hefty fines for those at fault.

Dogs can be a key member of the family

Dogs have always been and will remain to be a much loved and intrinsic part of family life, but we must all be aware of the dangers too.

This has to start with educating people on responsible dog ownership. I think the government has to do more to educate people on the basics of bringing a dog into the home, particularly for those with children.

A few simple guidelines and a general shake up within the system to toughen things up could really help, and if they save just one child's life then it's worth it.

Jayne, Working Mum and Freelance Editor

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