09/6/14

The SA Story (Again)

selectcommitteesa

After hearing the ‘results’ of the Select Committee on Companion Animal Welfare in SA, I was hugely disappointed in the process and the recommendations. However, I was pleased to hear nothing further about it (it came out July last year!).

Until now.

A few articles (one | two | three) have come out quoting Ian Hunter (politician), Tammy Franks (politician), Tim Vasuedeva (RSPCA CEO), Steven Marshall (politician), and Jay Weatherill (politician).

The hot ideas are compulsory desexing (or just desexing puppies in pet shops), a code of practice, and a breeder licensing scheme, with some extra legislation thrown in for good measure. It’s not a surprise that this is mostly bad news, considering the spurious nature of the original Select Committee report.

 

Compulsory Desexing

The articles seem to be looking at both compulsory desexing, and compulsory desexing of all dogs sold in pet shops. The narrator in the first article describes the community as ‘divided’.

 

Compulsory Desexing of Petshop Puppies

Tammy Franks, in particular, supports the suggestion that all puppies from pet shops should be desexed.

Tim Vasudeva, from the RSPCA, says, “We’ve been desexing puppies between 3-4 months for years and years and we haven’t had any problems.”

The first article claims that the government will look at compulsory desexing of dogs sold in pet shop in light of a Select Committee’s report. While the report made many poor recommendations, desexing of dogs in pet shops before sale was not one of them! False reporting!

The problem with this is: We are desexing very young puppies and there is evidence that there are harms associated with desexing when it is done at a young age. These harms go beyond anaesthetic risks and immediate recovery (which is what Tim is referring to) and is more about long term acquisition of health problems including cancer. (You can read a recent study on golden retrievers, or a recent study on vizslas to learn more about this.)

Further, what is the point of this suggested legislation? Why should all puppies be desexed before sale? Especially because of the long term health risks?

If you wanted to get me on side with this suggestion, I would be more inclined to support the sterilisation of puppies before sale (including tubal ligation and vasectomies, that aren’t known to have these long-term health outcomes). However, I’d still be asking what the point of this was – surely there’s bigger issues for us to be dealing with.

 

Compulsory Desexing of Everything

Tim Vasudeva, from the RSPCA, says that the AVA’s research shows that desexed dogs are 2.6 times less likely to bite. This is not true: the AVA refers to others’ research, using 23 year old data, which suggests desexed dogs are 2.6 times less likely to bite.

Tim Vasudeva spoke about how desexing could be beneficial – in reducing wandering and hormone-driven behaviours and said “At the very least I don’t think can hurt”. While there is actually a study that indicates that this is the case, it is one old study. Anecdotally, I know of plenty of people who have non-humpy non-pissing non-wandering dogs that are entire.

Ian Hunter says that “In the ACT, desexing is compulsory and has led to a 47% decrease in dog attacks. It’s also reduced the number of unwanted dogs being euthanised.” Despite a lot of research on my part, I couldn’t find any evidence that this is the case. Any clues on this appreciated! While there might be a correlation (I stress might), this doesn’t indicate a causation.

 

Code of Practice

All three articles talk about the government introducing a Code of Practice to target puppy farms and makes sure dogs are kept and born into healthy and humane conditions.

But a Code of Practice will affect everyone, not just puppy farms! Such codes produced around Australia have pretty much banned dogs from being kept inside or on grass. Are puppy farms defined as those with lots of dogs? Those breeding many litters? Those producing many puppies? Anyone that breeds full stop? A ‘puppy farm’ is hard to define, and so Codes of Practice affect everyone instead.

Further, dogs already have to be kept in a humane way! The Animal Welfare Acts and similar legislation across Australia requires it. Anyone who is allowing their dogs to get matted, or not have water, or have medical treatments denied, is guilty of an offence. We can get puppy farmers for that! Code of Practice not required!

 

Licensing Scheme

I was excited in article two where there was the suggestion that there would be no licensing scheme… Then article three suggested there would be. I’ve repeatedly made arguments against breeder licensing (the most elaborate being here), but basically:

1) Breeder licensing hasn’t been shown to do much (like the Gold Coast scheme) – it doesn’t reduce pound intakes for sure. And puppy farmers don’t make a habit of signing up.

2) Why would we introduce a new license scheme, when the Animal Welfare Acts are not currently enforced?

3) How do we ensure that responsible and ethical home ‘hobby breeders’ are not discouraged from breeding wonderful pets?

4) Often, breeder licensing excludes ‘backyard breeders’, ‘working dog breeders’, and greyhound breeders. These breeders produce a lot of dogs and dogs that are, seemingly, more likely to end up in the pound system.

 

Other Matters

Tammy Franks wants shelters to reveal euthanasia rates publicly. I think this is great if shelters were to have such transparency.

Article two and three suggest that mandatory microchipping will come in, and be compulsory (presumably, hopefully, compulsory before sale). While I have no qualms with microchipping being mandatory, I look forward to the phone line that allows me to report in those selling animals without microchips illegally. I don’t look forward to my expensive phone bills from making such reports. What I’m saying is: I have no confidence that this legislation will be adequately enforced.

Interestingly, one article says that there will be a “requirement for pets to only be bought from registered breeders”. That would be interesting! No more RSPCA, AWL, rescue group sales. No more guide dog and assistant dog groups selling unsuitable animals. Does that mean private rehomings are no longer legal? Surely this must be some kind of error in reporting.

And still there’s continued bleating about a cooling off period, under the guise that it would “reduce impulse buying and cut the number of pets being abandoned or surrendered”. There is no evidence that this is the case! Firstly, it does not seem that pets acquired impulsively are at any greater risk of being surrendered than pets acquired with a lot of thought. Secondly, there is no evidence that a cooling off period would reduce abandonment of pets. I don’t know how this even gets attention!

 

How unfortunate that the Select Committee’s recommendations are now gaining media attention and potentially some momentum in SA.

I spent a great many hours researching and writing my 20 page submission to the Committee. When the Committee published its findings and suggestions, I was so angry that the recommendations made were based on an emotive community rather than evidence and science.

I had been peacefully thinking that the Select Committee was just a little media stunt, and that it was going to disappear. These recent media reports and troubling and upsetting.

It’s concerning that the Government is prepared to invest resources into plans with no evidence that they will have any impact on animal welfare.

It is just as concerning that the community is lapping it up.

 

Further reading:

Public Misconceptions

Is desexing a cult?

Companion Animal Taskforce in NSW – Feedback

06/27/14

“Just stop breeding until the pounds are empty”

A increasingly common rhetoric in the rescue community goes along the lines of, “I’m not against breeding, just breeding when the pounds are full” coming along with the suggestion “just stop breeding for a few years, until the pounds are empty”.

This is a misguided suggestion. While this almost sounds good to the uneducated ear, it seems to imply that the dogs in pounds are exactly the type in demand or that there is a dog in a pound to suit every person. Further, ceasing breeding for 3 years would have an impact on not just breeders, but breeds as a whole, on any organisation with working dogs (guide dogs, custom dogs, farm dogs). Also, placing a ban on breeding is just unenforceable. However, the biggest issue with this suggestion is that it doesn’t target the source of the problem. I’ll look at all these issues in more detail.

 

Pound dogs aren’t for everyone

The dogs available for adoption in pounds is not highly varied. The suggestion that ‘anyone’ can find the dog that is perfect to their household is erroneous. There’s simply not a large variety of dogs in pounds to suit the demand. The reason that breeders (good and bad) are popular is they fulfil a demand that is not met by pounds. Small white fluffies, and indeed small dogs overall, are not well represented in the pound system.

I looked at the first page of dogs available for adoption at Blacktown Pound (NSW). You can see that most dogs are working or bull breed type, and most are medium to large in size. Not a great deal of variety.

I looked at the first page of dogs available for adoption at Blacktown Pound (NSW). You can see that most dogs are working or bull breed type, and most are medium to large in size. Not a great deal of variety.

Some might argue that if someone really needs or wants a particular type of dog, they should just wait for it to end up in rescue. Is it really fair for someone to wait 2 year or more for a dog that may never appear in rescue? Personally, I was waiting 18 months looking for a dog in rescue (with the requirements that the dog be big, with a wire coat, and very good with other dogs). I gave up waiting and went to a breeder. I feel like I was more than patient, but a dog suiting my needs just wasn’t available to me in this period of time.

On the same date, these are the available pets at Broken Hill Pound NSW available on the 26th of June. Again, the dogs are mostly medium-large working or bull breed types.

On the same date, these are the available pets at Broken Hill Pound NSW available on the 26th of June. Again, the dogs are mostly medium-large working or bull breed types

The other alternative is that people may just get the dog that is available instead of the dog right for them. Did you know that at least two studies (see: one / two) found that 22.5% of the dogs relinquished to a shelter came from a shelter to start with? Being from a shelter is a risk factor for relinquishment in itself, and proposals that people should ‘have to’ acquire a dog from a pound actually seems circular to the end goal of clearing shelters of pets.

 

Implications for Working Dogs

Seemingly in Australia, about 700 dogs are bred for customs and guide dog work each year.  These professions have targeted breeding programs to select for characteristics important for that dog’s individual role. They’ve obviously done the maths, and figure that it’s more cost effective for them to breed their own dogs than take dogs out of shelters and pounds. The proposal that breeders should ‘just stop breeding’ until pounds are empty means that either these programs suffer financially, or the community suffers by not having any dogs at all for several years or more (or forever, really).

Another industry that would suffer would be dogs used on properties for herding or as livestock guardians. These agricultural branches have specially bred dogs for their purposes. Many farms find the work of dogs invaluable, and would also be financially impacted by a breeding ban.

 

Enforcement is not going to happen

I’ve blogged at length about all the types of legislation that continually goes unenforced Australia-wide, yet touted as ‘good’. In reality, animal legislation is horrendously unenforced. If microchipping laws get flaunted, breeder licensing flops, and the animal welfare acts regularly are violated nation wide, what hope do we have of ceasing dog breeding for a particular period of time?

 

Dog and Breed Welfare

The idea that breeding should just stop for ‘a few years’ neglects to mention that ‘a few years’ is a long time in a life of a dog.

Let’s say you have a breed that lives until about 12 years old. Three years is a quarter of that dog’s life. That means the dog is middle-aged by the time it is 6 years old.

What I’m getting at is that if you were to ban breeding for a few years, we are going to be breeding older bitches, which we know is riskier. (As bitches age, they have smaller sized litters with bigger individual puppies, which is riskier for the bitch to whelp.)

This means that, for the individual bitches involved, this is bad for their health.

On a broader scope, if breeders choose not to breed their bitches because of a breeding ban, this could put the health of entire breeds in jeopardy. If a bitch is especially important (maybe she has hip scores of 0/0 in a breed with a high incidence of hip dysplasia, or maybe the bitch was imported from Sweden and is important for improving genetic diversity within the breed in Australia), then the loss of this bitch’s progeny to the breed is significant.

Basically, a breeding ban is bad for individual bitches, as they will be bred older, to their detriment. And a breeding ban is bad for breeds, as desirable or important bitches will not be able to make substantial positive impacts on their breed.

 

Is this really where we should focus?

My biggest gripe with this is it is, again, taking the focus away from the pound – the place where killing happens.

Pounds have an obligation to promote and market their animals. Let’s ban pounds from killing and so obligate them to make changes to their approach!

The other gripe is that this proposal works on the basis that there is an overpopulation program – there isn’t an overpopulation problem.

And: pounds will never be empty! Pounds have an important community service reuniting pets to their families. If my dogs got lost, they’d probably end up in the pound (if not scanned for a chip prior), and I’d be grateful for that.

 

A ban on breeding, even for a short period, is not a solution to shelter killing.

  • Shelters do not have a wide variety of dogs available for adoption, so limiting the availability of some breeds may mean:
    • People wait a unreasonably long time to acquire a dog, or
    • People acquire a dog unsuitable to their lifestyle (and the dog becomes at greater risk of being relinquished back to the shelter at a later date).
  • Working dog breeds (including customs, guide dogs, farm dogs) and the organisations that breed them will suffer, as will the people that these dogs benefit.
  • Animal legislation is not enforced and this will be another unenforceable law.
  • This proposal is bad for bitches and breed welfare.
  • And most importantly, this proposal fails to acknowledge the fault of pounds in the shelter-deaths.
04/3/14

Pit Bull Forum on Studio 10

On the 27th of March, Studio 10 had a news article on a boy who was mauled by a ‘pit bull’, but the pit bull was not euthanised, but instead desexed and defanged.

The panel questioned why anyone would have a pit bull when they’re ‘not pets’, and ‘they’re fighting dogs’, with a history of ‘bad accidents’. They criticised public response to this incident saying, “I don’t understand how they’re blaming the babysitter instead of the owner of the dog”.

Paula Abdul is the only one who says anything mildly positive, with “not every part of that breed is bad”.

Understandably, dog lovers were pretty unimpressed with this coverage and criticised Studio 10 through social media.

And Studio 10 then had a ‘right of reply’ panel. And here is how it went down.

While the guise of this discussion was providing balance, Studio 10 clearly pulled the shots, asked the questions, and didn’t provide adequate right-of-reply in many instances. Here’s a blow by blow of what was said… And what I would’ve said.

The little starting introductory video/graphic describes some dog breeds being ‘banned in Australia’, and then describes that in 2011 half of dog attacks were by five breeds (Bull Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, American Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherd Dogs, and Rottweilers). It then goes on to make the claim that bites by restricted breeds are decreasing.

There’s a lot of stuff in this that the expert panel did not get a chance to address!

  • Firstly, no breed is banned in Australia. The five breeds listed are ‘restricted breeds’, meaning that the way they are owned is regulated by most states, but no state outwardly bans them.
  • While we can dispute the validity of the statistics on breed attacks, it should be pointed out that the pit bull terrier does not appear in the list of breeds involved in half of all dog attacks.
  • While bites by restricted breeds may be decreasing (and I’m not even sure if that is true), that doesn’t mean bites overall are decreasing.

 

Studio 10 asks, “Why do you think pit bulls have such a bad public perception?”

Dr Andrew O’Shea, from the Australasian Veterinary Association, answers this: Because the media chooses to report on pit bull attacks almost exclusively. The media sensationalistness has a lot to answer for. As Dr O’Shea points out, many reports are ‘it’s a pit bull terrier’, when it’s not really. Dr O’Shea points out that the media makes them out to be ‘more dangerous’, but in reality they’re probably just as dangerous as any dog of a similar size. Any dog with teeth can bite.

 

“But Dr O’Shea, I’m confused though, because the media is reporting we’re told, say by the police and other people at the scene, and I think, there is, like you say, there’s a bit of confusion about talking about pit bulls, er, are the crossed with staffordshire terriers, I mean, I must say, sitting here in the studio, I’m very nervous, I’m, I mean, because of the dogs. I feel frightened.”

Not really a question, nor articulately asked, but then you didn’t give the panel a chance to reply either.

What is significant is not just that the media is reporting on ‘pit bull’ attacks, but the fact that attacks by breeds that are not pit bulls are not reported on. For example, in Port Lincoln an 8 year old boys had his nose bitten off by an Australian bulldog. This barely made the news, and when it did, the report focussed on the death of Ayen Chol by a pit bull. While the news heavily reported on Isabelle Dinoire who received the first face transplant, but neglected to report that her facial injuries were as a result of a labrador mauling.

The fact that you feel frightened is probably a consequence of the media hysteria surrounding pit bulls. I am sorry that you’re fearful, but your fear is illegitimate, and proves that we need to reassess the way dog attacks are perpetuated in the media. When two dogs lay in a relaxed and quiet way in a studio (a totally foreign environment to them), and they are regarded as scary, then the community clearly needs a much more comprehensive understanding of dogs and dog behaviour.

 

“Centuries ago, they were bred as fighting dogs. Am I right in saying that?”

Dr O’Shea responds to this by basically agreeing, but argues that defining ‘pit bulls’ is complex, and many dogs that look like a pit bull are classified as one despite not being one. And despite being crossbreed. He says that because they’re a bigger breed and tend to be reactive, they seem to get a bad name.

However, I would’ve taken a different response in responding here… I would’ve said:

Yes, but many dogs have roles now vastly different to their original purpose. Many Labradors are bred to assist blind people – while their original purpose was to carry dead birds around. Many German Shepherds are bred for multi-purpose police roles, including biting people, while their original purpose was herding sheep. Many people own terrier breeds who were bred to kill small vermin. Overtime, breed roles change. Additionally, within a breed, there are many variations in terms of personality and type. If you look at the greyhound industry, you’ll see a vast number of greys are killed for not meeting the task at hand, despite breeding specifically for running fast after quarry. You can imagine, in our current era, where dogs are primarily bred as pets, the history of a dog does not have a large implication on the temperament of the dogs we see today.

 

“A big reactive dog sounds quite scary to me, though. I mean, why, why, what I don’t understand is why people are so passionate about pit bulls in particular. Like, why, I mean, surely, if if, the restrictions at the moment seem to be working at the moment, and the number of attacks is going down, and surely if there is, er, some evidence … For example, you’d be familiar, Dr Hugh Worth, the head of the RSPCA, in 2009 said that there was absolutely no place for these dogs in Australia. He said they were time bombs. He said they should be banned. Now everyone here, I’m sure, who has any knowledge of animal welfare issues knows who Hugh Worth is. He is a very respected veterinarian. The RSPCA is an organisation that is there to prevent the cruelty to animals and protect them. If he is saying it, surely, surely not getting your personal favourite breed of dog is a small price to pay for knowing that kids could be safer. And adults,” say Joe Hildebrand.

“What do you think about that Melanie?” says the host.

Wow, give poor Melanie a chance. There’s about a million points there.

Melanie tries, she says that while ‘the laws appear to be working’ you will probably see that attacks haven’t gone down, but they have stayed the same or risen. She asks if we want to see dog bites to go down, or do we want to see pit bull bites to go down? Maybe pit bull bites are going down, but surely we want dog bites to be going down full stop.

Then Melanie got cut off before she got a chance to say all I would’ve:

  • This is not about people having a dummy spit for not being allowed to own pit bulls. The issue is that banning pit bulls does not make kids and adults safer.
  • There is not a reduction in dog attacks in all, just dog attacks by restricted breeds. So the community isn’t safer from a pit bull ban, they’re just less likely to be bitten by them. (Just like if you banned Ferraris, no more people would die from Ferrari related accidents. But people would still die in car accidents.)
  • Dr Hugh Worth is known as Dr Hugh Worthless by many animal-lovers in Australia. ‘Nough said.
  • The RSPCA is not very well respected and does a pretty poor job at protecting animals.

 

Joe Hildebrand talks about serious pit bull attacks, and includes footage of a guy severely mauled by three American Staffordshire Terriers. He argues that the severity and frequency of these attacks should see the breed banned.

Again, no real chance of reply is provided. So my reply would include:

  • Hi. The dogs in that video are American Staffordshire Terriers. Not pit bulls.
  • Also, people die from weimaraner and jack russell bites, too. The media often fails to report on these attacks, or when they do so, they report in a different way. (For example, Buster the golden retriever attacked 4 people and the media at the time mostly reported on ‘why would a golden retriever attack?’ instead of the ‘golden retrievers should be banned’ approach we see after bull breed attacks.)

“So you’re not hearing of labradors, or maltese terriers, or toy poodles causing this damage…” says Sarah Harris.

Ambulance guy (from the expert panel) says he’s been to attacks of lots of different breeds. He says that he “can’t tell the breeds apart to be honest” and “In my experience… all dogs can bite. It doesn’t matter what kind of breed it is” and ‘the bigger the dog, the bigger the bite’.

I would elaborate this response, if I had the opportunity, to when you say ‘you’re not hearing of’ attacks by different breeds, that’s because you’re not reporting them

 

It’s how you train the dog, surely?

Yay, a decent question! Ambulance guy says that he trains his dogs and doesn’t leave them alone with kids. Good advice!

 

“Brad can talk through how the behaviour works. I mean, are pit bulls aggressive dogs?”

Brad was methodical in his response to this question.

It’s about preventing dog bites. You want the community to be safer, right?

Are you attached to the how (BSL)? Or are you attached to the outcome?

When we look around the world at measures used to reduce dog bite statistics to as low as possible, we see that success is based on behaviour-based strategies and not breed.

“You’ll never get rid of [dog bites] – get rid of 400 breeds – right? It doesn’t really matter.”

Go Brad.

 

“When we were talking about this last week, a 4 year old boy had been attacked and terribly mauled and there was a question mark over the fate of the dog who did that. And I must say, as a mother, I would want that dog destroyed. I wouldn’t want to be standing up let’s protect this dog because he’s just.. severely injured this child, potentially could’ve killed this child. To me, isn’t that more of the issue?”

Brad answers this one as well.

This is the result of a ‘tragic convergence of errors’.

The dog was chained – chained dogs are more likely to bite.

The babysitter was there – not the owner.

The dog was large – larger dog, larger damage.

The child wasn’t adequately supervised

Well done Brad, again.

 

Joe Hildebrand wants hands to be raised for anyone who thinks dogs that attack a child should be killed. (That is, he fails to acknowledge the factors affecting the likelihood of a dog bite, as described by Brad.)

There is no place in society for a dangerous dog. What makes a dog dangerous is based upon the behaviour of the individual.

 

The whole thing got a little bit messy, with Joe Hildebrand speaking over Brad and Brad refusing to be spoken over. In summary:

  • There is a perception in the community that dogs are dangerous and
  • NSW statistics show that the pit bull terrier is the most dangerous breed of dog.

Brad replied that:

  • Perception is only perception, and
  • Those statistics are invalid, and
  • It doesn’t matter: We know what causes dog bites, globally, and we know that BSL doesn’t work.

 

We were talking about whether a dog who attacked a toddler should be destroyed.

Dr O’Shea says it’s context based. A good call.

 

-

And this is where this exchange ends.

So do you think the expert panel was given a fair chance?

 

Further reading:

A Case Study in Media Bias

Breed Specific Legislation FAQ

Posts tagged BSL on Some Thoughts About Dogs

05/30/13

Are they good with kids?

The common question: Are they good with kids?

What it is really asking is: Does this particular breed bite?

And the answer is: Yes. This breed, and every other breed, bites.

 

Puppies in a pen with a child peering in.Dog bites are a lot more complex than simple ‘breed’.  Families with children and dogs need to recognise that any child-dog interaction can end up in a bite, regardless of breed.  However, there are a number of ways that dog bite risk can be minimised.

It is very possible for dogs and children to live safely together, but it involves setting the dog and the child up for success, and managing interactions to ensure they are positive.

 

The Dog

Dogs need to be selected with care as they form an important part of the picture.  For a dog to be ‘good with children’,  they need to be adequately socialised, trained, and have a stable genetic personality and temperament.  Your role, if you’re looking to add a dog to your family, is to select a breeder using stable dogs with good temperaments who socialise their dogs and puppies to all people, including young children.  Once you’ve added one of these well-bred, well-socialised puppies to your family, the next step is to continue to socialise the puppy well with all people, train the puppy appropriate behaviours (e.g. not to jump up), and police child interactions with the dog.

That is, a dog needs to be selected, socialised and trained to be the best dog they can be, and then well managed – for life.

 

The Child

Children need to be taught to interact appropriately with dogs.  Dogs with stable temperaments should not then be an invitation for children to climb on, poke, or otherwise tease or irritate the dog.  Even good dogs have limits.  Children should be taught to:

  • Always leave dogs alone that are sleeping.
  • Always leave dogs alone that are eating.
  • Always leave the dog alone when they go to their special place (which could be the dog’s crate, bed, or kennel).
  • Always leave dogs along that are acting fearful (and how to identify a dog that is scared).
  • Always leave dogs along that are acting aggressive (and how to identify a dog that is angry).
  • To pat dogs on the chin and chest, and avoid hugging or squeezing a dog.
  • Never do anything that could hurt the dog.
  • Never grab a dog by its collar.

All these interactions are high risk for children, as dogs don’t like being interacted with in these ways, and it may lead to them biting.  Children need to have rules concerning their interactions with all dogs, for their own safety.

 

Management

As the dog’s owner and child’s parent, you play an important role in managing the interactions that take place between the dog and the child, and ensuring they are appropriate and safe.  For example, it is your job to ensure that children know not to approach a dog that is eating, while also ensuring that the dog is always removed from the children while eating.  If you think your dog may be fearful during a child’s birthday party, perhaps putting the dog in boarding kennels for the weekend or otherwise confining the dog would be an option.  Management also includes alert, conscious supervision of all dog-child interactions: The mantra of “Supervise or Separate”.  If you can’t watch how dog and child are interacting, then separate the dog from the child.

If you know there are deficiencies in your dog’s temperament or your child’s behaviour, then your management attempts should be set up to prevent these deficiencies giving rise to a dog bite.

 A young border terrier sleeping with a child reading the puppy a story.

 

Any breed that is described as ‘good with kids’ is, at the very least, being deceptively advertised.  Dogs are living individuals, and there’s no guarantee how they will behave with children.

As you can see, the question “Are these dogs good with kids?” is a complex question.  Any dog can be good with kids, provided they are come with a genetic ‘good temperament’ and are well socialised, and well trained.  However, this dog can only be expected to be ‘good’ if the kids interact in respectful and safe ways with the dogs, and all interactions are constantly monitored to ensure all parties are safe.

Having a safe home environment for children is a lot more than just choosing the right breed – it’s an ongoing commitment to education and management of both dogs and children.

If you want your dog to be good with the kids, you really should be asking, “Am I good at management?”

 

Further reading: See Resources for New Puppy Owners, particularly the links under ‘Children and Dogs’.