Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ANOTHER DOG ATTACK

        Yet another child’s life lost as a result of a dog attack. The latest is a baby only days old, attacked in its home by a huge dog, an Alaskan Malamute. This breed was originally bred to pull sleds in the arctic region. The males can grow to just under 40 kilos. The breed are reputed to be fond of people and children making them ideal house dogs. They bond quickly with their owners are intelligent but can sometimes be difficult to train. They are great with children old enough to play with them.
So what went wrong? Reading more into the story it turns out this particular dog was ‘acquired’ by it’s owner from someone in a pub. The previous owner was going to have it put down, and the new owner was a dog lover and no doubt thought he was doing the right thing by saving it from being put to sleep. There is no information on why the previous owner was considering having it put down. Was it being ill-treated ? Had it already bitten? Did the new owner get a full history of the animal before he decided to take it? All of these questions are being asked in the various papers that you read. But I don’t see any of the papers asking what in my mind is the most important question. What was the dog doing in the room with the baby on its own? Where were the mother and father when the attack happened? No matter how well you think your dog behaves, under no circumstances should ANY dog be left in the presence of children without adequate adult supervision. ANY dog is capable of biting, they all have teeth, if pushed to their limit. I am becoming more and more worried that these ‘attacks’ are now a popular news worthy item. Is the underlying trend that the amount of attacks are on the increase? Or are they just being reported more? I don’t know the answer to that I would love to find out. One attack is too many, but I am concerned that with all the media attention these incidents are being given, we might see a knee jerk reaction which affects all dogs and their owners. Up in Scotland we have the countries leading newspaper embarking on a media campaign called ‘dangerous dogs’. Politicians read these papers and assume that this is what the voters want. Newspapers are very influential in getting people to change their attitudes to things. I fear what these politicians are talking about right now, about how to deal with this issue which is on the front pages out our newspapers.
Lets not forget we domesticated these animals decades ago. They are an integral part of our society. They not only provide companionship to many millions of people throughout the land but they provide many functions to professional people also.
Professionals whose job could not be done without dogs. Search and rescue, helping the disabled, working in the forces home and abroad. Putting their lives on the line for their human counter parts. Lets not forget also the contribution dogs are making in health care where they are being trained to identify early signs of seizures and the like. We cannot exist without dogs nor should we. But we have to start learning to understand them more. Understand basic things like their needs. If we continue to ignore a dogs basic needs and not understand what motivates and drives them we will continue to run into conflict. Only through proper socialisation at the earliest age and proper training throughout its life can we hope to coexist without future incidents like the latest tragedy which occurred this week. Its up to us, the dogs can’t do it for us. We need to take the initiative here. We owe to them to try.

Monday, 17 February 2014

CRUFTS 2014

So its only 3 weeks till Crufts 2014. The training team at Tahamasa Canine Academy will be heading off on the Thursday for three days of doggie Disney land. If you have never been to the biggest dog show on earth, and you have anything to do with dogs, you really need to make the trip. You will not be disappointed. Over the years we have met some very interesting people at Crufts and no doubt we will reacquaint ourselves with them and meet new friends this year. Its that type of place.
Dont be put off by thinking it is just for show dogs. Nothing could be further from the truth. We do not show dogs and we have a fun packed three days there every year.
Last year we joined the Kennel Club’s Accredited Instructors Scheme and attended some very interesting lectures which were given by some of the most prominent canine professionals around at the moment. This year we have lined a few more,

Developing Agility Instruction & Coaching in a changing sport.
Aggression, why we are were we are.
Temperament testing in a rescue environment.
Dangerous dogs, are puppy parties to blame?

Phew,... and this is supposed to be a holiday. I’m sure there will be some retail therapy thrown in for good measure. And at night we can relax with a glass of wine and recant on the days many activities.

Having obtained Kennel Club listed status this year for our training academy, we will attending with great interest the Good Citizen Dog Scheme arena to see the latest training ideas. This arena is always buzzing with some great entertainment. Don’t forget off course the heel work to music competitions in the main arena throughout the weekend and the agility competitions also. I particularly like the rescue agility competitions and the ‘Anything But a Collie’ agility competitions.




These particular shows demonstrate that its not just collies that can compete in agility, any dog that has been trained can take part and have fun.

So these are just some of the things that we will be enjoying at our time at Crufts. If you are involved with dogs in any way shape or form you really should not pass up the opportunity to come and see what its all about.
See you there March 6th - 9th.