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One Million British Dogs Are Aggressive: Report

cute labrador puppy
Dog owners need to do more to stop dogs from becoming aggressive, says leading veterinary charity.

Following the awful news over the weekend of another dog attack on a member of the public, in this instance a child, leading veterinary charity, PDSA has today released a shock statistic which reveals that over one million* dogs are displaying aggressive behaviour towards people and pets on a weekly basis which includes growling, snarling, and biting.

And it appears the public feel the current dangerous dogs laws may not be as effective as they could be, as the charity’s research also reveals that an overwhelming 87% of people believe pet owners should face tougher penalties if their dog attacks another person or animal.

According to the charity, problem dog behaviour is most often due to a lack of training and little or no socialisation – which involves getting pets used to certain sights and sounds at a young age. PDSA’s research has found that around 4.1 million dogs never went to training classes within their first six months of life, and 25% of owners who had their dog as a puppy did not adequately socialise it.

These figures were taken from the charity’s groundbreaking PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report*, which is the largest survey ever conducted into companion animal health and welfare standards in the UK today, using data from over 11,000 UK pet owners.

PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, says: “The aggressive behaviour displayed by some dogs is a grave concern due to the serious and sometimes fatal consequences it can pose to both people and pets.

“PDSA is urging owners who may have concerns about their pets’ aggressive behaviour to seek professional advice as soon as possible. Anyone with a young dog should, without exception, make a commitment to socialising and training their pet using effective and humane methods. It is up to owners to make sure that they provide appropriate early experiences for their young dog so that their pet grows up to be confident and sociable. Effective socialisation also prevents fears from developing which can be a cause of aggression in later life.

“The first thing any worried owner should do is consult their vet who will advise them on the right approach for addressing anti-social behaviour. What is important for owners to remember is that in most cases, any behavioural issues pets have can be overcome with the right approach. Behavioural professionals will always seek to find out the underlying reason for why a pet is behaving the way it is, then use kind, evidence-based techniques to change that behaviour for the better.”

Another shocking revelation from the PAW Report is that over a third (35%) of owners admit they would consider giving up their dog if its behaviour became a problem, emphasising the need to educate owners about how they can prevent such problems from developing.

Sean adds: “We keep hearing awful stories about dog attacks and it’s something that dog owners have to take very seriously. Owners have a responsibility for their dog’s behaviour and must consider the effect their dog’s actions have on others.”

PDSA produces free downloadable leaflets on Behaviour and Training and many other pet advice leaflets which are all available at www.pdsa.org.uk/leaflets. To download a full copy of the PAW Report, which is the biggest report of its kind ever to assess the health and wellbeing of UK pets, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/pawreport.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Kaitlyn Chaney

    February 15, 2012 at 4:50 am

    There have been books written on this subject, I can think of two — Dogs Bite, but Balloons and Slippers are More Dangerous and The Pit Bull Placebo. I’m sure there are plenty more. Extremists aren’t interested in facts, however.

    Here’s an interesting factoid from Dogs Bite developed from CDC studies: Average number of fatal injuries to children per year from

    Human Caregivers – 826
    Buckets – 22
    Playgrounds – 15
    Balloons – 11
    Dogs – 10

    Along the same lines, the average number of total deaths per year from the following sources are as follows:

    Cars – 43,730
    Other – 14,818
    Falls – 14,440
    Poison – 14,142
    Choking – 5,555
    Fires – 3,410
    Drowining – 3,334
    Guns – 791
    Bicycles – 774
    Dogs – 16

    While no one would wish harm to any human being fatal injuries to children from all of these causes combined are very, very, very,very rare. A child is twice as likely to die from an injury involving a bucket than from a dog. Oops, there go the orange buckets from The Home Depot. And we’ll all have to beware of the Bucket Control Officers. (As an aside, given the push for gun control, wouldn’t you expect to see thousands killed each year by firearms?)

  2. Sarah Whaley

    February 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Whilst lack of dog training, early socialisation, knowledge and responsibility of dog owners is a concern that needs to be tackled NOW, children also need to understand that dogs are not toys and hence curb their behaviour accordingly around ALL dogs (whether in their family or not)

    Dogs, basically, do not trust children. Children move quickly and squeal alot = prey.

    Children can also be horrible to dogs, taunting them etc and the parents/guardians then wonder why their little darlings just got bitten.

    Responsibility is with the two legged animals here I’m afraid, as you will probably find that the dog that bit or attacked had already given a clear enough warning (in their language)

  3. Lee Hopkinson

    February 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I have three rescue dogs

    1 Greyhound bull

    2 Black lab x collie

    3 Hinze 57

    walked 3 times a day i can walk with any dogs ,Dogs need you to be there leader
    good food and most of all love and respected.

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