Should We Muzzle ALL Dogs In Public?

Over the past few years we’ve heard a number of alternative ‘dangerous dog’ solutions proposed. Ways and means by which we can prevent dog attacks from occurring. Ideas and suggestions which can help us rid ourselves of the menace of dog attacks.

One of the most common ideas put forward seems, on the face of it, to be entirely sensible: to muzzle all dogs and keep them confined to a lead at all times in public. Well, whilst it may seem sensible – unfortunately, it is not. In fact I speculate that if we want to literally DOUBLE the number of dog attacks, especially the most serious ones, the way to do it would be to muzzle and confine all dogs to leads in public. I shall hereby try and explain the flaws in this ideology.

Dogs operate in and have personalities which can be linked to something known as ‘drives’. Whilst it is not my intent to make this a ‘technical’ dog behaviour article I shall list the recognised drives below:

* The Prey drive: these dogs stalk, ‘kill’ their toys, shake objects and are highly stimulated by visual movements. They like to chase.
* The Pack drive: these dogs are sociable animals who enjoy being touched by people, prone to separation anxiety.
* The Fight drive: self confident or ‘dominant’ dogs who will guard themselves, their property, their family. Tends to hold strong eye contact even with ‘dominant’ people.
* The Flight drive: unsure in strange situations, always needs to be aware of a potential route of escape, tends to be submissive and is most prone to ‘fear biting’.

Passive Pooch
Creative Commons License photo credit: ChiBart

Dogs may show a tendency to ‘be a high prey drive’ dog or dogs may exhibit high drive behaviour in certain circumstances – for example, a dog which may – by normal personality – operate for most of its life in ‘pack drive’, a friendly dog that loves people for instance, upon encountering its first ever squirrel the dog may instantly switch on to a very high prey drive response.

So it’s not a simple case of being able to label one dog or breed as a particular candidate to fit one of the drive descriptions. Yes, we can generalise (Bull breed dogs tend to score highly on pack drive, they love people, love being touched, enjoy companionship) but these generalisations are what have gotten us in to trouble in the first place!

We simply cannot and should not attempt to define a dog’s personality by its breed type or EVEN its past history. For instance, a dog which has – for its entire life – never been nervous or aggressive about ANYTHING, when faced with a certain new situation or circumstance may exhibit high levels of ‘unplanned for’ behaviour. I often ask people to imagine in their mind how they feel about elephants.

How do they feel when they see elephants on TV on a nature documentary. Most people have neutral views about elephants. We don’t live our lives in fear of them and they are not an animal that invades our daily thoughts. We have no ‘planned for’ elephant response behaviour.

I then ask people to try and imagine how they’d feel if they walked into a room – a room they recognise and have used before, let’s say their boardroom at their place of work – and rather than being confronted by their work colleagues, much to their surprise a fully grown elephant is standing in the room.

Now imagine how you might feel about elephants in THAT circumstance! Heart rate rised, shock, surprise, nervous tension, wonderment, planning for an escape route, sweaty palms – we have no idea how we’d respond to surprising circumstances, especially ones we’ve never planned for – yet we somehow expect our dogs to react consistently to all circumstances based on how they’ve behaved in the past. This is an error.

But what’s this got to do with muzzling and lead confinement you ask?

Well it’s all about the need for owners to be able to do two very, very (very) important things:

1) Allow their dog to exhibit normal behaviour whilst under proper control
2) Understand the risks associated with ‘unplanned’ behaviour

So let’s tackle these two issues.

Allowing a dog to exhibit normal behaviour means allowing a dog to exercise freely. There are some dogs – in fact most dogs – who absolutely thrive on the freedom to run and shake loose the constraints of a leash or the confinement of the four walls of their home and garden. To many dogs, this is their ‘reason to live’. This is their most treasured treat. It also keeps them healthy. If we are to constrain dogs and deny them the ability to exercise freely, a number of things will start to happen and start to happen quickly:

The dogs will start to become very, very wound up at home. Too much energy, no outlet for it. Anyone who has ever had to spend time in a confined space will realise how tedious that becomes. Think of a long-haul flight for an example. Sitting there, waiting for someone else to provide you with ‘release’, waiting for someone else to feed you, relying on others for your stimulation. Now imagine that your entire life was spent on a long-haul flight. I project you’ll do one of two things: You’ll either go quietly mad and spend your days asleep in a permanent bout of depression or you’ll go VERY mad and start threatening to to do ‘crazy’ things in order to get your freedom back. To confine dogs to a permanent life on a long-haul flight will cause a lot of problems.

Dogs will begin to attack more people in their homes. No doubt about it. A dog who is ‘wound up’ a dog who has more energy than they are ever permitted to expend will be a problem dog. If we estimate that 2, maybe 3% of all the dogs in the UK are responsible for attacks and injuries caused by dogs as things stand today – by having a blanket ‘no dogs off lead in public’ law, you can comfortably project that we’ll have maybe as high as 20% of dogs who will pose a far greater risk to people. Yes, we may reduce dog attacks in public but my word, we will massively increase the number of attacks in the home. The net result will be more attacks.

Dogs need off lead exercise and they need the ability to socialise with other dogs. Dogs owners should understand that they have an obligation to keep their dogs under control (and do it! Not just understand it) and they should also recognise that dogs can have very, very different reactions to situations which are ‘unplanned for’. Again, think about how you’d react if you met a real life elephant face to face in a place where you were not expecting it. Don’t assume that dogs can’t have equally extreme reactions to new things.

Muzzling

Similar to the freedom to run argument. If you take away a dog’s defence mechanisms: either the ability to run away or the ability to ‘fight’ you will instantly place the dog into a state of heightened tension.

I want you to think about that elephant again folks. Let us say that you have met the elephant in the boardroom and you’ve just managed to calm your nerves, your blood pressure is lower and your starting to feel a bit more comfortable. No doubt you’ll still be very aware of the fact that there is an elephant in the room but you’ve just about managed to compose yourself. Firstly, you have the door behind you so if things take a turn for the unexpected you can always leg it! Only, now you can’t. Because what’s going to happen now is you are going to be tethered to the radiator and your hands are going to be tied behind your back. How you feeling now? A little less composed? A little vulnerable? Nervous? Tense?

See this is exactly what we do when we impose on our dogs a mandatory constraint. We can – in one fell swoop – make a non aggressive, non defensive dog INSTANTLY more aggressive and more defensive. We can increase the risk of altering the dog’s nature and outlook on life. And again, whilst it is certainly the case that we may (in fact probably would) see a reduction in dog attacks in public, the net result of such a law would be a massive, massive increase in the number of dog attacks occurring in the home.

Why?

Because we will be artificially increasing the drive senses in our dogs. We can’t muzzle a dog all day, we can’t tether a dog all day so for those periods of time when they are unmuzzled we will see a dog with an altered personality. Heightened defensiveness, heightened nervousness – we would make some non aggressive dogs aggressive and some aggressive dogs even more aggressive. Times where the dog is feeding would be exceptionally dangerous. The net result would be more dog attacks.

The solution, whilst simple, is not easy. Dog owners need to better informed on how to manage their animals. They need to be better prepared for the reality that their dogs can and will behave differently in different situations, never assume. They must have better control of their dogs. If they can not recall their dog then they simply should not have the dog off a lead until such a time as that training objective has been achieved. Dog owners need to be aware of the fact that their dogs should not invade other people’s space. Dog owners need to take control of their dogs and to improve their ownership standards. If we could make this happen, society, dogs and their owners would be a lot, lot happier.

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Well, that’s MY view – compulsory muzzling of all dogs would make the problem worse, but what do YOU think?

Have your say using the comment form below. I look forward to reading your views!

190 thoughts on “Should We Muzzle ALL Dogs In Public?”

  1. I’d like to share a few personal experiences before giving my view on this.

    My aunt’s jack russel is a fear biter and he is always muzzled in public because as poor a trainer my aunt is she is a responsible owner and cares about other people and animals she might come across. Also because Ollue feeds on my aunts fear and she is more relaxed when he is muzzled and so he is more relaxed when he is muzzled. As long as Ollie’s muzzle is on he can meet people and some dogs in a healthy way.

    My boyfriends familay are Dangerous owners for dogs. On several ocasions their labrador cross attacked our puppy and other dogs in the field. Whenever we took him out we made sure he was muzzled and we walked him where the only dog around was Cadan our collie GSD puppy. We tried our hardest to discipline and re-educate him so he could be happier and healthier but it was like butting our heads against a massive concrete wall. Everytime we tried to discipline him my partners mother would undermine everything we’d done by reinforcing the negative behaviour! It was like she was deliberately fighting us and in doing so she ended up making Milo worse. It got to the point where I gave up, I was far too embarassed and stressed at having to walk an aggressive dog without being allowed to even try and control him. To compound matters it turned out that on two occasions the family had been billed for vetinary care after Milo had caused serious injury to other dogs and my partners mother thought this was a funny anecdote and that the other owners and their dogs were at fault for walking their dogs past the gate! Two days after an attack on two springer spaniels (the last time we walked him and he was thankfully muzzled) my partners mother walked Milo through a field where there is usually a high amount of dog traffic without a muzzle or a lead, I found this particularly disgusting since Milo has little to no recall and needs to be walked on a long leed to prevent him running into people gardens and the road. After a long discussion with my partner we sourced Milo’s problem to a dog attack when he was a puppy which left him frightened of other dogs and because the problem was originally caused by fear his mother doesn’t see the problem as their’s or Milo’s but all other dogs. Milo’s attacks are now no longer fear provoked, he now attacks because he’s looking for that positive reinforcement but I’d rather lie on the railway tracks and wait for an on coming train than trying to explain that to Sharon once again.

    These are two dogs whose problems originated from the same thing, fear biting, Ollie is muzzled in public places or kept away from heavy foot traffic and muzzled at the first sign of oncoming people, Milo is still allowed to run free and attack whatever he sees fit. Since introducing our puppy Cadan to both families Ollie has improved even more, he used to be toy aggressive but after several months of socialisation with Cadan not only does he no longer snap when Cadan picks up the wrong tennis ball Ollie will actually instigate games wth Cadan in which they will either throw a ball too each other or chase each other for a rope and play tug then swap and the other chases.

    All dogs are different and the only way to solve problems with problem dogs is to solve the problems with the owners, to completely ‘cure’ Ollie my aunt needs more confidence and more dominace. In order to solve Milo’s problems he needs new owners becasue my partners family can’t take criticism or advise on board, they’ll look after him their way and be damned with the consequences. Unfortunately I am only too aware that if a law was passed that all dogs should be muzzled and leaded in public they wouldn’t follow it and so many other irresponsible dog owners won’t follow the law either. In the end the problem dogs will be continuing the way they are and the only difference is the pets of respondible owners will be stressed and anxious because of their enforced confinement and will no longer be able to defend themselves from aggressive dogs.

    If money was no problem then every dog owner would be visited on several occasions by professional behaviourists to check on a dogs progress and educate the owners. Repeat offenders who fail to take on board the behaviourists advice should be punished and dogs should be either taken into rescue centres and foster homes or if absolutely neccessary left with the owners until a suitable new home can be found.

    Muzzling and leading all dogs won’t work, it’s not only cruel but it’s a moronic idea.

    (There is no excuse for owners who say their dog misbehaves because they didn’t know enough to train him properly, books may be expensive to buy but the developed worls has these magical buildings called libraries where you borrow books for free. Also if your dog has specific problems such as food agression, dog agression or recall problems rescue centres will often offer free consultations because the last thing they want is more homeless dogs or dogs on death row. Don’t suffer in silence until your dog is one of the problem dogs on tv or in the papers, call around your local centres and ask what their policies are. Dog’s Trust centres are particularly helpful)

    As you can see I like to talk especially on a subject so close to my heart and I’d just like to point out on the subject of problem dogs that the most agressive dog in the UK and the USA has been declared the Dachshund. It may not inflict quite as much damage as some larger breeds but is responsible for a far greater number of attacks. Just something to put out there when you’ve got a rottweiler coming towards you on one side of the street and a Daschund on the other don’t assume your safer with the Daschund 😛

  2. No — please no muzzling.
    .
    I do not believe this is fair.

    Many non-doggy people see a dog with a halti or similar and automatically think dangerous dog, as they do not, nor often want to understand.

    We all know about the debate of no bad dogs just bad owners–well I totally agree with putting your dog on the lead when out for a walk and encountering/passing other dogs, and have always done this with mine–this is common courtesy, as is picking up your dog poo–only trouble is not everyone does it, and the few who do not do so give all dog lovers, and dogs a bad name.

    I have had many dogs–all for life, and have just got a rescue bitser, who is going to be a big girl, and has thoroughly enjoyed her puppy classes.
    I would hate to see her muzzled.
    How could she smile–and dogs do smile.

    My old girl, of many moons ago, a cross Doberman/German Shepherd, whose parents were actual guard dogs, and who was so faithful for twelve fantastic years , was brought into our home when my children were only one, three and five years of age.
    Friends came in and out and she was one of the children.
    I would never have thought of a muzzle for her.
    She couln’t smile with one on–and she was always smiling, and a muzzle would have scared the kids!

    So what happens to your dog if muzzled and it encounters a dog that isn’t–a not very friendly dog, and I have seen a small dog out by itself!! do damage to a large dog by going for the throat!

    No to muzzles–yes to responsible owners–a dog is not a toy nor an object, it is a member of the family to be treated with the same respect.
    My children were brought up to have manners and to know how to behave when in company and out–so are my dogs.

  3. As the owner of one of the so called dangerous dogs (rottweilers) I believe that muzzles do have a use but not for every dog. Not only does this make the dogs behave unnaturally (as they will always be on the defensive) but it sends the wrong signal to the general public as they see a muzzle and assume the dog is a biter. We use haltis on our dogs when out because they want attention from everyone they see and being Rottweilers this is not always welcome.
    The answer must be training, more so for owners, and stopping some breeders etc from selling to unsuitable owners.
    When we got our 1st Rottie they were relatively unknown (30 odd years ago) but due to films and media showing them as big butch killer dogs they became the must have accessory for more unsavory characters.

  4. muzzling is not the whole answer.
    I have 5 dogs ,2Border Collies both females ages 13 and 12yrs old.,never had any problems with them or there reactions to dogs or people or children.The end of 2006 my son walked in with a golden lab pup she was 14 wks old,yes it took a little time for the old dogs to get used to being chased by a puppy but it worked and they took bay under their wings.As she joined the older girls on walks across the field she was attacked twice by an unknowen dog.She was not hurt as we quickly intervened,also the eldest border got to her side very quickly and saw the other dog off by barking but no contact.In Feb 2008 my son was given a chocolate lab as payment for some work he had done.Dog no 4 arrived.He was very tiny so did not meet thee borders untill he was 10 wks old.They accepted him ,looked on him as another child to bring up..In march 2009,bay and harvey became parents,we kept the last puppy oscar.5 dogs.
    I can honestly say that not one of my dogs would attack a dog,they meet plenty on their walks.I have had toddlers babies in my home with all the dogs without any problems.so no muzzling is not right for most dogs .But there are certain dogs as in life human and animal world that show aggresion without being prevoked,
    I personaly think we should look at the breeds and the people who buy them,then we may find that attacks would decrease,we need a register or certain types of dogs,also an action group made up of rspca,vets and other animal groups to keep a watch on breeding and health of these dogs,to intervene as and when to remove these dogs if they are not under control.We also need to educate the people who buy these dogs as status symbols.I see these owners every day walking there dogs.
    So with a bit of thought and common sence then perhaps we may not need to muzzle all dogs.

  5. I don’t think muzzling is the answer. Perhaps government should think about making owners more proactive with thier dogs, i.e training classes for all new owners and dogs. I firmly believe that it is down to the owners to train their dogs and know when they need to be on lead.

  6. As a groomer I can tell you that muzzling dogs only winds them up. Pet dogs owned by responsible owners are not the problem, the problem lies at the feet of irresponsible people and unfortunately nothing can be done about this. This country has no way of policing dangerous dogs or should I say dogs owned by those irresponsible enough to use then for attach. These people take a dog and due to their own stupidity think that they can train it to be a guard or attach dog. The likes of these people do not care for the dog, very often keeping it in a shed or even worse outside all year, they don’t have the dog chipped, don’t bother with any form of insurance and if the dog is unwell very often will not bother with a vet. How can anyone get through to the likes of these people, and more to the point what can be done about it, NOTHING. The responsible dog owner will be penalised for the moron element. Perhaps the answer lies in the way that these people are raised, no respect for anyone or anything. I have a lot of Staffs on my books and all of them are well behaved and well socialised so the breed is not to blame – only people.

  7. Oh great, so innocent dogs and decent owners are still being victimised I see!
    I would hate to put such a thing on my dog, she would get very depressed at wearing one – I know, as a pup, she would bark at the postman, so I muzzled her – just in case, and she hated it, also the second time she wore it, she ripped it off in 5 mins flat!

    NO I do not agree that all dogs should wear them, cripes, where’s the ‘PC’ in this??????

    Put a muzzle on the do-gooders that come up with this diabolical idea instead!

  8. I think muzzling all dogs is ridiculous. The “dangerous dogs” such as staffs and pit bulls, should definitely be muzzled, but ordinary pet dogs should not. They can be made to look more dangerous wearing muzzles. People will automatically label them as dangerous, as it gives that effect. The dogs themselves can become aggitated and stressed with them on. I know my labrador hates any type of muzzle or anything over his nose, he goes beserk. So this act in itself could turn a completely docile animal into a dangereous one!

  9. I’m afraid I simply can’t go along with the idea that staffs and pit bulls are inherently ‘dangerous’ dogs. This is certainly not my view or experience at all.

  10. There have certainly been a lot of dog attacks over the years, but the ones bad enough to make the news usually occur within the home. It is ‘the boyfriend’s dog’ or similar which attacks the child, ( or did the child taunt this unfamiliar creature first?) On othre occasions, dogs have managed to get out over a fence, or have gone for the unsuspecting postman.
    The muzzling rule would not apply in these circumstances and the accident would not be prevented.
    Also remember that when any new regulation comes in, the less responsible members of society will ignore it. It will be followed to the letter by responsible dog owners, whose dogs are mostly trained anyway, but Jack-the-Lad with his illegal breed will continue to swagger down the street brandishing dog like a weapon.

  11. I think all dogs should be muzzled or halti applied.Im sick of hearing comments like ” he,s never done that before” and “he usually loves children i cant understand why he did it ” or “he must be having a bad day!!!!!!!” STOP HUMANISING THESE ANIMALS! I own a G.S.D. and all of the times my dog has been attacked( which have been 4) they have been by small dogs jack russel, scotty, and twice by a staffy it must be some sort of little dog syndrome they see a larger dog as a threat and feel the need to defend or attack going always for the back legs or throat This is just the way small dogs attack a larger dog (or prey)
    The stress this can cause my dog is not right , as my dog wears a halti. not because he is dangerous or may bite ,but to give other dog owners and non dog owners alike ,confidence that even if they have the nerve to approach me or my dog, that he will or can not harm them.This nonsense of my dog does,nt like is pathetic it because YOU dont like it ,and feel how the dog may feel Stop being so selfish1 because if your animal bites someone and its serious or a child, then YOUR DOG WILL BE DESTROYED!! all because you thinks its unfair on the dog(if your dog could speak,and you gave it the choice of halti or death! which do you think he,d choose?)
    It should be made a legal requirement for dogs to wear a muzzle or halti .if they are caught without it the owner should be fined.. Think about it in motor vehicle terms,if a person is caught with no insurance or road tax ,they are fined or the vehicle is taken off them.
    The same should apply to dog owners, if they cant be responsable then they should,nt be allowed a dog
    Saying it drives dogs crazy is rubbish,when my dog sees the halti coming out he gets so exited why? because he knows he,s going out Train your dogs to understand.its the old saying there are no bad dogs only bad owners
    so you see .if a dog is found with no muzzle or halti on roaming the streets then it should be lifted,and im sorry but the excuse of “i left the gate open or the door open YOUR FAULT,NOT THE DOGS you then should be fined for lack of resposabilty,because im telling you! there are a lot more non dog owners (even dog haters) in this country than dog lovers and we will lose in the long run if we fail to do SOMETHING
    Insurance wont work( go back to my car analogy) for thugs or idiot dog owners who breed there dogs for status ,or worse fighting I can understand why we feel so close to our animals,they become a part of the family which is why we find it easy to humainse them BUT ITS WRONG!! for them and you
    if your dog has to be put down!!! how guilty would you feel?

  12. i own two staffies, and dangerous? I dont think so. You should worry more about divvys on the roads! I will not muzzle my dogs, they need the chance to defend themselves. How about you bein attacked but cant defend? So what makes this different?

  13. muzzling is wrong which will make them nasty i recon they just need to b trained more … if it’s nasty then yes i agree they need to be muzzled but it’s down to the owner of that dog to put 1 on it is just becoming a joke now do we need to muzzle the dog when we get visitors come to the house as well. or when we get burgled put a muzzle on the dog just a load of s**t the goverment should put the recorses in to somthing what needs doing…

  14. I have a beautiful mix boxer/springer and she is the most docile dog ever. When I first rescued her, she was living in a home with her father who is a purebred boxer and she was very subservient to every dog she met. She didnt know how to play or socialise, just sit and stare or bow down. She now knows how to meet and greet and have fun with other dogs and has made many friends in the local area and smiles the biggest smiles when she sees them or my family. To see her muzzled would be the most saddest thing ever, she would not deserve it and Im sure it would undo all the confidence she has gained since we have had her (3 yrs).
    Whoever thought of this idea, has no pets to love or are the most ignorant people on this planet! I believe that the problem is with the owners and extending members who deal with said dog. It certainly isnt the dog in questions fault. Some owners are too arrogant and have no understanding of the concept of being a responsible owner.
    Ps, Does that mean that they will eventually tie every persons hands behind their backs cos there are some dangerous people out there and we dont know who or when they will attack!

  15. I have a lab/alsatian and a lab/staff both are cross breeds and both are very affectionate. I was always in the mind set of staffs are vicious, but on meeting Bertie’s (lab/staff) dad I did change my opinion he was a very soft dog. Bertie is very affectionate and is brilliant with my 8 year old daughter. I don’t agree with muzzling all dogs and I think that it is very narrow minded of the public to say just because your dog is of a supposed dangerous breed it should be muzzled.

  16. cannot believe this is a possibility. i own a staffordshire bull terrior and as you can immagine at this time, come accross a few people who are totally intollerant to this breed due to the media coverage recently which is of course over-hyped and over-written so as to make “good news”. recently my dog has been attacked by no less than 9 jack russels off leads while my mary has been on lead cowering behind me! as for this “muzzling of staffs” as in a comment above, firstly you cant categorise them with pitbulls as ptibulls are banned, staffs are not and had you owned one you would see that breed specific rule is rediculous as jack russels are as dangerous. they may not be as strong but can still kill if they bite in the right places and cause injury to people and other dogs. however, i do believe all dogs should be microchipped and insured. if you cant afford to do this, then you shouldnt have a dog and any responsicle owner will already have this in place. any laws should be on an individual dog basis with protection in place for protecting them selves if THEY are attacked. it is down to the owners not the breed and although this cannot be allowed to be an excuse for a dangerous dog of ANY breed some sensible laws for keeping dogs of any kind DO need putting in place…….for ALL breeds!!!!

  17. i would like to say that breed specific law is rediculous and that a law does need putting in place to protect other dogs and people. i know my dog…..i do mnot know yours. aslo a staffy is not a dangerous dog…..officially! and i have 1 who is a real sweetheart and any dog no matter how well you THINK you know them is capable of harming someone or something is pushed beyond its limits (which you are unaware of).

  18. This is just a ridiculous idea to muzzle all dogs is insane. Somebody should just take a step back and think about it. If a dog bites someone or an owner knows it’s not overly happy about being approached by humans or other dogs then yes, they should not have a dog out without a muzzle, for the wellbeing of the dog as well as anyone else whose path it may cross. I have a fabulous cocker spaniel who is more likely to lick you to death than bite and for a sausage would show the robber just where all the cash is! This is just another ‘rash’ idea that wouldn’t work, just like the rushed through dangerous dogs act.

  19. I diagreee becuase my dog is a staffy and she is the sweetest thing you could ever meet,she has a had one encounter where another staffy went for her but it is not the breeds that have the problem it is often the owners that have the problems, and branding a whole breed a ‘dangeroud dog’ is not fair!!

  20. i disagree agian why can’t we let a dog become part of the family, don’t they show us the same courtesy by letting us join there pack, there’s a saying a god thing ruined by the bad few, this apply to dangerous dogs.

  21. This really is stupid!!! If any law is passed on this how on earth will it be enforced??? The police cannot do it as that will impact on their time spent in the local take away, Oh and the mighty dog warden!!! Well they cannot even control the people that just walk away after their dog has left its mess. Besides, this would be just cruel, pure and simple. I am sure we all agree there needs to be some kind of measure on out of control or aggresive dogs but to treat all dogs the same is just daft. I have a lab who will lick you to death and has never shown its teeth at all in anger, I will never, ever put a muzzle on my dog.

  22. Please re-read my post CAREFULLY. I never said they should not be part of the family …I said they become part of the family which is why we find it easy to humanise them

  23. Emma is correct in her post regarding the way the press intrude on something they nothing about. does anyone remember a few years back of a rottweiler attacking someone ? all of a sudden you see a rash of newspaper articals calling them ” Devil Dogs
    Now im sure Rotty owners don,t appreciate them all being tarred with the same brush
    What i am saying people is we have to come up with a solution that we all are happy with or else the decision will be made for us
    Not every American pit bull will tear your face off, ask some pitbull owners who tried to appeal to the government,who didnt care or want to listen but, had them all lifted and destroyed( that was,nt the dogs fault either) if the media want to make a meal out of it ,they will, then the Gov will have to act.Don’t put blinkers on and think ”it wont happen to me”
    its getting that way for Staffy owners now (of course there are some dicks about) but we are the resposible ones.
    What im bothered about is if the resposability is taken out of our hands by people who dont know anything about Dogs or Breeds.For your dogs benifit stop slagging off others peoples ideas and come up with a solution,so this can be discussed by dog lovers .and who knows we might even come up with a solution .Please don’t let me be the one who says ” I told you so”

  24. Just a little further note to my last posting …
    I have worked and lived in Poland for a short while,and over there ALL DOGS ,LARGE OR SMALL ANY BREED HAVE TO WEAR A MUZZLE IN PUBLIC Now guess who made that decision?????
    ill tell you, the majority of people who asked for it were Non Dog owners. They are in the E.U. If it becomes an E.U Directive i,m sorry but you wont have a say .

  25. No – muzzling is most definitely NOT the answer….

    I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a bad dog, no matter what the breed, only bad owners. As responsible owners it is our responsibility to ensure that our dogs have adequate training in how to conduct themselves in public. When I hear of owners stating that ‘their dog is un-trainable’ I view this as a load of old poppy-cock…either their training routine is inadequate or they have not sent a consistent message to their pets.

    I, for one, would never consider muzzling my dog. A dog cannot speak and so senses its environment mainly with its mouth and nose…something that cannot be done if it is muzzled…how would dog owners feel if they were taken for a walk attached to a lead with their main senses of sight and hearing deprived to them?

    This whole topic is just another example of non-dog owners jumping on the media panic bandwagon that dogs are something to be feared…it does make me wonder how my dog views children yelling and screaming at the top of their lungs in our local park…but then nobody would ever advocate muzzling a child would they????

  26. And mine…we have a staffy / collie cross and he is the most loving pet you could ask for…not an ounce of aggression in him!

  27. No, I dont think muzzling dogs is the answer. The irresponsible dog owners should be muzzled. A dog only does what it is trained to do. The irresponsible owners wouldnt muzzel their dogs if they had too, its us the responsible dog owners that suffer and the well behaved dogs. Who is going to enforce this? It just will not work. My Angel has been attacked and bitten by a dog before she never bite back. The owner done nothing not even by calling her dog back. Angel did bark but what if she was wearing a muzzel what would happen then she wouldnt be able to defend her self.
    Muzzeling isnt the answer cracking down on the bad owners is a start.

  28. I have King Charles Spaniels and there is no way you could get a muzzle to fit them and indeed one is not needed. The responsibility lies with the owner….they know if their dog is a threat or not.

  29. I have a 3year old rotty, this is my second rotty & they have been the soppiest dogs your ever meet, i think it is NOT right to muzzle any dog unless the dog is extremly agressive, if we were to muzzle our dogs when they havent been muzzled before, they are going to get very stressed & this may cause them to become agressive. Its the owners responsibility not the dogs fault at all.

  30. WhaMuzzle or not to muzzle – really difficult to decide whether this is the appropriate response to dangerous dogs. My Harvey wears a muzzle when being treated at the vet’s or when going to the groomer. He is quite defensive in these two situations, perhaps from his former life experiences before I adopted him from the SSPCA. In any other encounter with strangers he is very friendly and very people-oriented in the sweetest way. He loves being petted and likes to sit on people’s feet (shoes) as if he were their dog.
    I for one would not like to have to muzzle Harvey in public because I am sure he would associate this in his doggie mind as an indication that there is something to fear in all these other contexts which presently he doesn’t mind at all. I realize my situation is unique but there it is from my standpoint with my own dog.

  31. How are the concepts of “staffs and pit bulls” and “ordinary pet dogs” mutually exclusive? Or is that question too complicated for someone with your level of intellect?

  32. I thought this discussion was about someones general opinion on the dogs and not the person! I am merely stating my opinion, just as others state their own, I certainly do not retaliate in such a nasty way to the person,I respect their opinions but clearly you are the sort who would let their dog become dangereous

  33. I can say from pofessional experinece that I believe when you muzzle a dog they think something bad is going to happen. I am a professional groomer and I try not to muzzle because this is a stress inducer to dogs. Once muzzled they start to fight and get very distraught. I think the demeanor of the owner changes and they sense that. Only bad dogs are muzzled so why puninish all canines, punish the owners for no common sense or care.

  34. I think stating that all staffs and it bull types should be muzzled is in fair as there are many of these breeds that are pets, I have border terriers which are fab dogs and are on the good family dog list BUY i would never trust them with children’that goes for all dogs. It seems to me that sadly the children are the victoms of these attacks are sadly members of these sub culture scum that have these dogs for one reason and oe reason only. I have freinds who have these breeds, they are all pets and are probably less aggressive than my borders. Remember the staff was always known as the nanny dog.

  35. I think that instead of reacting with such a heavy measure, I believe anyone intending of keeping a dog should by law, attend a dog training course and once completed, be given a dog licence. Anyone found without a dog licence should be fined or sent to prison. I dont think it is down to the owners in regards to how their dog behaves. I think a lot of people do not know what they are doing and sometimes mistreat the dogs which can result in attacks as we have seen. Educate instead of scarmongering!!!

  36. What do you have to say?

    This is just another way to penalise the responsible dog owners. I know if I had to put a muzzle on my dog, a collie cross, his tail would no longer wag on our walks. This could change his nature and make him dread doing out for a walk as he would not want to wear a muzzle.
    Does the person that came up with this idea have a dog?
    The obvious answer, and I feel like I am repeating what has been said countless times, is to start penalising the dog owners that are being irresponsible. All they seem to get now a days is a slap on a wrist with a fine and or a ban which as we all know means noting and does not stop people getting another dog.

  37. What do you have to say? Ever heard of civil disobedience. If every responsible dog owner refuses to comply the cOurts would be swamped with cases and could not function, the law would be repealed as unworkable. ERgo, you do have asay if you’ve got any spirit.

  38. The only answer to this type of legislation would be for all responsible dog owners to refuse to comply. A law is completely unenforcable if sufficient people refuse to acknowledge it.

    No that would not be irresponsible.

    Frankly, having met some of the revolting ‘children’ that are currently enjoying a plethora of ‘rights’ without regard to morality, responsibility or good manners perhaps we ought to make an alternative proposal of muzzling all out of control children and their appalling parents.

    Nobody will and can force me to muzzle my dogs or to put them on leads. There are long established legal rights in this Country to use dogs for various things (shooting, retrieving, amongst others)that are not able to be readily overturned without a lot of revolt.

  39. The only answer to this type of legislation would be for all responsible dog owners to refuse to comply. A law is completely unenforcable if sufficient people refuse to acknowledge it. No that would not be irresponsible.

    Frankly, having met some of the revolting ‘children’ that are currently enjoying a plethora of ‘rights’ without regard to morality, responsibility or good manners perhaps we ought to make an alternative proposal of muzzling all out of control children and their appalling parents.

    To suggest that all owners should attend compulsory classes is a bit daft if you’ll excuse my saying so. For a start where would you get the qualified instructors for these classes? who would train them? How would they be funded? Plus, why the heck should I have someone tell me how to train my dogs when their views may differ wildly to mine and I’ve been keeping dogs for 50 years?

    Iike alot of suggestions these are nannyism gone rife with knee jerk reactions to deal with a minor problem by condemning a large majority of the population who are responsible.

  40. It may have been said before, but for some of us, muzzling our dogs in publc can be compared to keeping a harness on our kids or taking away our right to free speech! The stereotyping of dogs as dangerous can be compared to the stereotyping of all “black” or african americans as being dangerous or thieves even though they may be the sweetest person or people.

  41. All of my 3 dogs will happily accept the muzzle and I walk them with and without the muzzle I feel that they have their place in society and if it saves the life of my English Bull Terriers then why not, none of my dogs are aggressive to people or any other animals, but if I have an accident in my car and you can see from the cards on my cage that relate to each of my dogs that my dogs are willing to accept muzzles any of the rescue services can safely take my dogsout of my vehicle and onto a place of safety for me until they can be taken back home then it is a positive outcome

  42. refusing to comply will get you nowhere only move the goverment into producing a law quicker public out cry civil unrest?? remember the poll tax ?after all the comotion you still had to pay it or go to jail.come up with a solution to our dogs biting people because thats all the law an none dog owners want to hear
    i agree with your point on compulsory classes but not on the lack of teachers,but on the fact that irresponsible dog owners just will not go(the same type of people that dont insure their cars

  43. Actually non compliance does work. You refer to the poll tax but everyone was subject to it and only a minority rebelled. Of those that rebelled few in practice refused to pay. It was a non-starter.

    Instead look at the Child Support Act. When first introduced in March 1993 it overturned existing orders and made nonsense of previous settlements. A high proportion of those affected refused to pay, signed petitions and lobbied parliament. The result was that the Act was very speedily overhauled to remove several of the very unfair aspects.

    As an aside, I’d be interested to know how anyone would muzzle a pomeranian (tiny little faces), a pug (very flat faces) or several other short nosed breeds.

    THe suggestion is nonsense and as with all nonsense it shold be treated with the contempt it deserves.

  44. I’m a firm believer that a dogs behaviour is influenced by it’s upbringing and that dogs are not just born bad. From a personal perspective muzzling all dogs is a bad idea. My own dog is terrified in public places as I have recently just adopted her from a previous home where she was beaten, starved and totally unsocialised. This has resulted in her fearing everything but even if backed in a corner she wouldnt bite, she is so timid it breaks my heart. To muzzle a dog like this would put her under a great deal of unnecessary stress and frankly I just wouldnt do it. Dangerous dogs are a problem which has had a backlash effect on all us responsible ones. The problem in itself is growing harder to police as dogs can be found cheaply pretty much everywhere. As for compulsory lessons to be granted a dog license, Im sure the government would whack on outrageous taxes and they would end up costing the earth. Resulting in some of the perfect dog owners being unable to keep their pets. It just doesnt seem viable. All in all it appears the government is clutching at straws as Im sure they have an incling that people like us would revolt. Im sure we’ll all find out what they decide to do soon.

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