How to protect yourself and your dog from the new Dangerous Dog Laws

The recent change in the Dangerous Dog Laws now means that the legislation extends to private property, and owners could face prosecution if they dog bit someone in their own home.  The act is intended to encourage owners to take more control of their dog’s behaviour.  What it doesn’t bear in mind is the way that a dog might be made to feel within their own home, that owners may not be aware of either.So the below are a few things to watch out for and avoid.  No matter how friendly you think your dog is…

dangerous dog laws
This dog definitely wouldn’t bite…

Before you shrug this off and think to yourself that you KNOW that you dog is friendly, I have had several occasions of helping a dog which had always behaved in a friendly loving way, and then started biting out of the blue.  When investigated in more detail, the warning signs were there, but we are humans, so we do not always read the canine signals right.  Please read on with an open mind, then err to the side of caution…

Don’t fall foul of the Dangerous Dog Laws

  1. Remember the old expression that “attack is the best form of defence”?  We are not the only species capable of acting on this.
  2. A dog’s home is his castle.  Your welcome guest may not be welcome to them.  They can consider anyone who enters as an intruder with an unpleasant agenda, so could be in a heightened state on their arrival.  
  3. A heightened state can look like friendliness or excitement (wagging tail, whimpering, panting, pacing and jumping up).   It is unlikely that you can be completely sure that your dog’s friendly jumpy behaviour isn’t actually stressed behaviour, with a view to defending the territory.
  4. Stressed animals, and those who feel under pressure, could get to the point when they feel they have no choice but to bite; to defend themselves or their pack.
  5. Dog do not always want to be stroked.  How would you feel if every person (whether familiar or a stranger) in close proximity came into your personal space and started touching you?
  6. A dog that is showing its belly is showing it’s most vulnerable part, in a gesture that it doesn’t want to be hurt, NOT that it wants it’s tummy tickled.  If your dog is doing this, ask people to leave it alone.  You might have got away with it before, but that doesn’t mean you always will.
  7. Sudden movements or loud noises can tip a dog into protective mode.
  8. People who are afraid of dogs usually “eye ball” dogs, and have a racing heart in their presence.  Think twice about having someone who is afraid of dogs in the same room as yours.  No matter how calm and placid your dog normally is; being in the presence of someone eye balling them and full of adrenalin, could set a usually mild mannered dog into thinking that attack is the best form of defence.

These points are not intended to scare, simply to raise awareness. Every dog is different.  Some are more tolerant than others, but ANY dog could decide to bite if it felt pushed to that point.  Unless your dog is totally indifferent to the arrival of people at your house, please don’t assume that this doesn’t apply to them.  So the simple solution is below!

How to protect yourself from the Dangerous Dog Laws

  1. Always pop your dog into another room before opening the front door.
  2. Ask all visitors to ignore your dog when they arrive, until it feels relaxed about their presence (lies down).
  3. If anyone wants to stroke your dog, they are to invite it over, rather than approach it.
  4. If your dog chooses not to accept the invitation, ask your guest to leave it for a while and try again later.
  5. If you have loud, unpredictable guests round; or lots of guests round at once, just keep your dog out of the room.

This advice is intended for people who’s dogs have never bitten or shown signs that they might bite.  Please follow it, it could save your dog’s life.  If your dog has already bitten, this behaviour can be resolved, but please seek professional help from a Dog Listener.  I cover Essex and the surrounding counties, and there are others further afield.

I have written lots of different articles on dog behaviour, including aggressive behaviour.  I have tagged each of them.  If you are interested in more articles on aggression, you can choose from the below, or click “aggression” in the tag cloud.

The articles include another on the dangerous dog legislation, general dog aggression and there are lots about what makes dogs tick.


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