A very famous scientist once wrote that "for every action there is an opposite reaction" - apoogies to Sir Isaac Newton for paraphrasing! Now it might seem odd that I choose to open my latest blog with such a statement but from my observations recently this applies equally to people and their treatment of or actions towards dogs.
I never seem to get used to the fear that some children have towards dogs and I wonder where it comes from. Unless some unfortunate child has been either harrassed or bitten by a dog then I fail to see why their mere presence can generate such fear. Of course children are told alot of stories - big bad wolves etc and they could be generalising but I doubt it. My theory is that the fear originates from the parents who may have their own unresolved canine issues. So many times recently while I am walking my clients dogs I see doting mothers quickly round up their kids and almost run the other way. What, I wonder, does such action communicate to the child. That ALL dogs are dangerous and not to be trusted - how many psychotic incidents might this create for our future generation? Of course the parent is acting in the best interests of the child but what sort of long term harm is the behaviour generating?
Of course unwarrented action is not just aimed at children - dogs of all shapes and sizes suffer similarly. How many have seen the owner sweep their dog into their arms and skuttle off at the sight of another dog approaching? Now I am not a total risk taker but I do generally like to give the benefit of the doubt. In my view dogs off lead are less likely to attack unprovoked - although there are always the rogues that will prove me wrong. But again I worry what message the owner is sending to their dog by forceably removing them from the vicinity. All dogs are bad - avoid and/or attack? I had a 12 yr old stay with the other week who was totally scared to be anywhere near our other "charges". Is this how dogs should react at the sight of their own kind?