Failing our dogs – when advice is just wrong

I came across another case of a dog owner who had received very poor advice from so-called ‘dog professionals’ today.

This owner had rescued his dog from the Dogs Trust, an organisation that should be advising owners before the rescue dog is rehomed. Clearly, the advice dispensed had shaped this dogs future life with her, well-meaning, owner.

This dog was a beautiful Rottweiler cross. she had a lovely temperament and was desperate to play. The dog was on a harness and firmly attached to her lead. I asked the owner if she was allowed off lead. He answered ‘never.’ I, of course, asked why?

The owner had rescued her when she was one year old, she was now two. The reason she was not allowed off the lead was that she was quite bouncy (i.e normal behaviour) and, the Dogs Trust had advised to keep her on the lead. This had been further compounded by advice from a ‘dog trainer’ who pointed out that she should not be socialised because she would then want to socialise with other dogs whilst out walking!

I am dumbfounded by the appalling advice from individuals who owners trust to be knowledgeable and who they trust to give professional and reliable advice.

This dog has been doomed to a life of watching other dogs being dogs, while she is prevented from participating in normal dog behaviour.

Let me be clear. All dogs, with very few exceptions, need to be socialised and trained. Denying them the opportunity to live normal lives is bordering on cruelty in my opinion. This owner, through no fault of his own, now restricts his dog, preventing it from enjoying a normal dog’s life.

I guess the message here is to be very careful whom you take advice from. Unfortunately, for owners or prospective owners, there a far too many ‘professionals’ who are members of multiple, impressive-sounding, organisations that are, simply, dispensing bad information and guidance.