“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion”
Sipping my morning coffee and “working” (aka browsing through my Facebook feed - WHOOPS) I stumbled across the quote from @NatalieMacneil new #soulshot.
It immediately rang true as in the world of dogs, dog ownership and training it is very easy to be caught up in opinion and lose sight of what really matters – dogs, people and developing and nourishing the amazing bond between man’s (and woman’s (-: ) best friend.
Fast forward to this evening where I caught myself “working” again. This time I came across politician Alan Tobin’s controversial Facebook post. My initial reaction was “sigh” yet another post where misinformation was being passed on to the wider public, which without a doubt would create yet another backlash for a “certain type” of dog as they got dealt the short end of the stick (no pun intended (-: ). I did repost and share BUT then I remembered the quote and thought – How about instead of just having just an opinion I actually do something about it and “change the world by example” or at least try to provide a little education on the matter for those who might not be aware of stereotyping dog breeds.
Here is the result:
Some of these breeds can be misrepresented in a lot ways. For example, did you know that some of these breeds, that have been brandished as being “dangerous breeds of dogs” by Alan Tobin, are actually used in disability assistance and therapy roles around the world. So much for being the most dangerous dogs in the park.
That’s not all. It’s also been well researched, scientifically Mr Tobin, that stereotyping of specific breeds can have a huge negative impact. It affects everything from public perception and can can give a false sense of security around the “friendlier” dog breeds, when in fact there is no difference at all with the risk of aggression or being bitten by ANY breed of dog
A well researched international recommendation is that in fact, it’s not a particular breed of dog that needs to be placed on an “aggressive dog list” but in fact it is a case that much more needs to be done in helping owners understand the exhibited behaviours of their seemingly ‘aggressive dogs’ and how to enable owners to get help by contacting a qualified professional who can help them put an individualised behaviour modification program in place for their dog. More importantly there needs to be much emphasis on guiding owners to help prevent these behaviours developing in the first place through education, guidance and understanding and force free training. Education is not only essential for the dog owning public but the wider community too. Often it is not the dog’s fault, nor what breed he or she may happen to be, but they can become the product of their environment. Outside of the UK they take another approach. The education of a dog and more importantly their owners is seen as being key to the harmonious environment of having dogs around the public. They can be as extreme as to force dog owner to attend training classes when they allow their dog to run up to people in public places.
It seems a shame that here in the UK, a politician especially, would be ready to share a discriminatory post (yes it is a form of discrimination against particular breeds of dog) when so many countries around the world have moved towards a more educational stance on the issue. The UK prides itself on being a multicultural country, when in fact, we are reverting to a form of “name and shame” for particular dog breeds. It’s made even worse, specifically in this case, when a politician does it in such a public display.
So in closing, before I finally head to bed (I really mean check Facebook one more time) I think it was important to share with you some of the important facts that should be considered and that need to be weighed up in this discussion. Having worked with dogs, of all breeds, shapes and sizes, over the past 4 years, I can honestly say that there have been NO patterns to suggest that ANY particular breed is worse than any other.
In my personal opinion, it's simply not fair to the dogs, nor to the owners of well behaved dogs of a particular breed, to be tarnished by some form of basic “breed profiling” which seems to be the norm. If Alan is reading, in our dog training facility, we have a big sign up saying “No Uninformed Politicians Allowed Off Leash”.
So that’s all from me, but take a leaf out of my book. Let’s not just have an opinion about this, let’s lead by example. Why not post some photos about your dogs and share any stories you may have. I think it’s so important that we show to the world that’s it’s not all black and white as people seem to think it is.
Check out some more about this subject in the following links: