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:

Dog drives explained

* 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’.

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.

Are you scared of elephants?

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

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.

A long haul flight – the ultimate “what it’s like to be a dog” simulator

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.

On a long distance flight someone else controls your stimulation, your environment,  even your meals. Every interaction that punctuates the boredom is treasured. This is, quite commonly, the average life of the dog. We control their environment, their food, their physical and mental stimulation.

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.

People should not assume that dogs can’t have equally extreme reactions to new things.

The following statements are common amongst dog owners:

“My dog would never bite someone.”

“My dog is not a nervous dog.”

Let’s go back to our elephant. We may be tempted to say:

“No. I’m not scared of elephants.”

The more accurate claim should be:

“In general I’m not scared of elephants, but in certain circumstances I could be terrified of them.”

Same for dogs. A blanket statement about what a dog will or won’t do, is or isn’t scared or reactive to, is dangerous and almost certainly wrong. In very simple terms, every dog is capable of biting someone. Every dog is capable of being scared. Every dog is capable of reacting in an unpredictable way in certain circumstances.

Muzzling all dogs will lead to more dog attacks

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?

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.


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.

In short: Why muzzling all dogs will lead to more dog attacks
Dog owners need to take control of their dogs and to improve their ownership standards. Simply applying a band-aid as a ‘solution’ and expecting dog attacks to decline is not only short-sighted, it will have the exact reverse effect. If we want to reduce dog attacks we need better educated dog owners. No dog will be unmuzzled 100% of the time.

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!

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  1. This is completely idiotic. Change the laws for much harder penalties for dog owners with unfriendly dogs. It is always the owners fault for not having a friendly dog. Also increase the budget for animal control to make sure there aren’t any stray dogs in neighborhoods. There is absolutely no way my dogs should be muzzled when they leave the house.

  2. I agree that dogs should not be made to be muzzled. MOST of dogs I meet are friendly…if there is a dog who is unpradictable, they should then as responsible owners do what they feel is best when the dog is out among others in public.

  3. I have a very skittish Border Collie who is very nervous and I thought that muzzelling her would be safer as I didn’t want her to be in a situation where she might bite someone and then they could insist she is put down. However, I have noticed that this has made her more nervous around other dogs and she is definitely better when confronting other dogs off her lead and without a muzzle.

    I have now decided to pay for Molly to have behavioural training to enable me and my dog to get the best behaviour when she is outside the house and then I can show everyone the wonderful dog that I know she is!!

  4. This suggestion/idea has obviously come from a non-dog owner! I once was walking my dogs in a local park, one of mine had a halti head collar on and whilst walking past a group of people one of the ladies told the children to come away from my dog as it was muzzled and very dangerous – then another lady in the group corrected her and said it wasn’t a muzzle but just a walking aid to stop the dog pulling. I have a 30kg staff x lab, he was beaten by men as a pup and is terrified to the bone of men and has also been attacked by other dogs (and did not retaliate) but because of this can put accross the wrong impression – he’s a very sensitive dog and to muzzle him would undo all the years of hard work i’ve put into him in trying to get him to trust man and socialise with other dogs. Also, if he doesn’t get at least one good off lead run a day he’s bouncing off the walls – it would kill him if he had to stay on lead – this i feel would cause more problems and created more highly strung and possibly dangerous dogs. The only way forward is dog licensing.

  5. No way would I ever muzzle my dog. There is no such thing as a ‘bad’ dog…just BAD owners. Good dog owners ensure that their dogs are always under control. Whatever changes are made to the law you will never change the attitude of a BAD owner, and they won’t comply with the law anyway.
    I do however think that dog licences should be re-introduced with a very heavy fine for anyone without one.

  6. I agree with most of what you say. Indeed muzzling all dogs is going to create more problems, for precisely the reasons you have given. However, I think there ought to be far tougher penalties for people who allow dangerous and aggressive dogs to behave in that manner, regardless of whether it is towards humans, or other dogs.

  7. If the facilities that people obtain their dogs were to provide for basic training for the new owners and the dogs we might end up with owners that understand their dogs better and be more understanding to the needs and behaviors of their dogs. Much of the problem is that people really don’t understand that dogs are not humans, but animals (canines) and a such need to be understood, trained and respected as such.

  8. I think dog licences should be compulsory and compulsory dog training/socialisation classes for dogs and their owners. Anyone whose dog then aggresses and is found to not hold a licence would be dealt with severely. An owner would have to pass a test with their dog/s and if necessary the dog, if found to be aggressive in class should PERHAPS (if unable to correct behaviour) be made to wear a muzzle in public. Otherwise the majority of well mannered dogs would have their freedom jeopardised. Their are very few cases of dog bites compared to road accidents but we don’t ban cars on the road!
    I wholeheartedly agree with the article. It would be cruelty to keep dogs on leads – we need to target irresponsible dog owners not dogs.

  9. I live in Canada-and our dogs have to be leashed. I personally have had Rottwilers for many years now. To be a responsible pet owner-I need to have my dog under my control at all times. If my dog is off-leash-I am not fulfilling my responsibility. I do not muzzle my dogs-they do not need muzzles and it is not law in Ontario yet. but if I found that my dog was creating problems with other dogs or people-I would absolutely muzzle them. To me–that is responsible pet ownership. The biggest problem with other peoples dogs that I have ever had-is with un-leashed dogs on a walk. It is different in a dog park when all dogs are off-leash-as they have proven to their owners that they are safe.

  10. Power and responsibility must always go hand in hand.

    Humans are increasingly manipulating everything and everyone around them to suit their convenience.And dogs are no exception.They are extremely social and loving by nature and they need tender caring and human contact to stay that way.

    No effort must be spared to educate human beings…start this at pre school and kindergarten levels and keep it going even in old age homes – it is we who need to develop awareness and feel a sense of kinship towards these beautiful animals that bring so much love and joy into our lives.

  11. It should be made a rule that when buying a dog,pet or otherwise,the prospective buyer have at least,basic handling training.And a license,after all you wouldn’t get a gun without a license.

  12. How would you muzzle a Pug or french bull dog or a boston terrier etc ???????????? This is an easy way out for powers that be. They cannot police every park, every walkway to ensure this rule is adhered to and what would they do if they caught you. It’s the owners need to be educated and restricted not the dogs. An ID scheme where dogs have to be registered and cards carried with you at all times, where vets can help police it by reporting people who do not have ID. This ID should also show you have had basic training in animal care and also 3rd party liability insurance. All puppies should be registered and micro chipped before being handed over to new owners. Where an owner is found not to have it for their dog they will be given 7 days to get all paperwork in order otherwise the dog will be rehomed. If you have a dog that you love, then you will go through all this to ensure your dog never gets taken away from you.

  13. What do you have to say? Muzzling is a terrible idea, the anxiety it will create will be phenomenal, our canine friends will not understand become more aggressive when it is time to go out and most likely either try and run or cowl when it sees another dog approaching (muzzled or not).
    The problem is the owner not the dog. Increase finds and stiffer penalties for aggressive dog owners (ALL aggressive dogs not just certain breeds).
    Heres an idea require ALL dog owners BY LAW to take a basic dog training and behavior class, have it instructed by the local dog officer in conjunction with the Humane Society. If they have or am considering to own a dog.
    Have all dog owners carry a Liability Insurance Policy By Law as well.
    This deter just anyone from having a dog allowing freedom for our K9 friends and force there owners to be good dog owners as well.
    I been a Proffestional Dog Trainer for over 30 years I know what I am talking about.

  14. What utter codswallop! Punishing the majority because of the irresponsible minority is mad. The idiots who own these “bad dogs” are not going to comply with the law and if the government think they will they are living in cloud cukoo land! I agree with Hilary and think there should be mandatory dog licencing with owners only getting a licence once they have proved they can control & take care of the dog (e.g. evidence of attending training classes etc.) Then anyone found without a licence should be heavily fined & I mean HEAVILY fined not just a few quid! As the saying goes “There are no bad dogs only bad owners”.

  15. Well thank you for the invite on this very alarming practise.

    Living in Ontario, Canada I have been maintaining that it is not the dog themselves to blame for this issue. There needs to be a better definition of a “Bully Breed” such as pit bulls, Staffordshire terriers, bull terriers and so on. These dogs were bred for one thing and this is not their fault. With that being said the breed, pit bull is a beautiful dog and needs to be dealt with properly. It is my opinion that not only do these animals require an explicit training regiment the owners need to take training as well. I have been watching Caesar Millan do wonderful things with “bully breeds” and this is just proof positive that with the correct knowledge and training this breed can be just as loving and gentle as the retriever. Now to help protect the general public as they may or may not have the training as the dogs owners do an ‘in training’ may need to be used. TEMPORARILY!!!!!

    Dog fighting will never go away but with the assistance from pet industry officials such as PIJAC in Canada and the USA, Vets and Breeders proper identification and training for these “bully Breeds” we can slow it down.

    Muzzles for dogs that have the proper at home care and exercise do not need to be muzzled. Owners that lack the knowledge and training are the ones that need the muzzles. I believe in the words of Caesar Millan…
    “Calm Assertive Pack LEADERS”
    A muzzle will not stop a dog from hurting you if you provoke it, corner it, or tease it. You don’t them and they will not bother you!

  16. Years ago people had to pay for a dog licence which was for their dog which if it ever worried sheep or someone knocked it over there were rules to follow.
    This meant that most owners were responsible.
    Sadly more people have dogs which they do not understand. They don’t study the breed they choose beforehand,or get trained up themselves into the knowledge of how a dog’s mind works.
    With irresponsible people leaving kids alone for moments with a dog that isn’t theirs,or allowing small kids to be in the same room alone,or a young generation of gangs, showing off as a status their latest addition of dog,this is the reason why the authorities feel the need to over react with ”muzzling”.
    Of course even the easiest laid back kind of dog is going to get irritated with a constricting item placed over it’s nose and mouth if it’s never had one before. You can see at the vets when these muzzles are put on;the dog’s eyes fill with fear!
    I always think dog! Would I like to walk around with something over my nose/mouth feeling constrained and uncomfortable?…No! Of course it will create a personality change.Dog’s have rights and that right is for freedom. It is the owner’s responsibility to bring up a well behaved and obedient dog so it will be a happy dog.What should be happening in my opinion is that people should receive a training certificate from attending dog classes before they can actually own a dog.Just because a mother can have a baby it doesn’t mean she knows how to be a good mother,but if she reads or has experience with other children,it can make her a better mother.Therefore if people want to be better owners they need to educate themselves before owning a dog.

  17. What do you have to say?
    I agree with everything you say, i think the govt like to make the ‘soft’ targets suffer as this is easier to manage than controlling the real problem. no way do i want to muzzle all of my dogs,some it makes worse and more anxious, adn their off elash activity is essential to their health and well being

  18. There are No bad dogs, just bad people.
    I re-habilitate dogs with issues. Namely caused by incorrect ownership.
    Make every owner of these type of breed dogs by law be licenced and therefore accountable for correct training, maintenance and upkeep of such breeds and justifiable for their actions.
    Don’t penalise all dog owners for the irresponsibility of a few ignorant and unworthy owners!

  19. I would one not want to muzzle any of my two dogs and put them on a lead at all times. I have a gentle 11 year old border collie whom loves nothing but to run in the parks/fields playing ball. this keeps her extremely fit. why should she suffer. My yorkie is extremely well behaved off the lead but can bark at other dogs and people but we are trying to curb this problem as responsible dog owners. As we all know a collie is very dirfferent in nature to a yorkie and most people whom don’t like dogs think my collie is the one that could do more harm than the yorkie, though she is the summisive one. Collies are bread to herd sheep, without the farmers instructions they would kill the sheep, hence all dogs on leads on walks through sheep fields. My collie has never worked herding sheep but she tries when in these areas. Yorkies are bred to kill vermin (rats) a dog with the terrier instinct bred into them by guess what, us humans. you never hear of attacks in the papers about yorkies but me being an owner of two know that they love a postman and can be aggressive. it’s my responsibillity to stop them.
    All owners should have compulsary basic dog trainning before owning a pet by law so they can control the dog and learn about the breed. all dogs should be compulsary insured. if you don’t prove insurance then hefty penalties. I can hear cries from the less well off that it would be too expensive. Well maybe the PDSA could offer cut price insurance for them and when they do necessary operations on these peoples dogs the would get a decent pay from the insurace to cover their costs.

  20. What do you have to say? Lets have more controls on bad owners we have two dogs neither is allowed off a lead whilst on a walk outside as we live near busy roads, from experience muzzling a dog causes distress and for many obligatory muzzling when walking is unnecessary. Both have good tempraments and should not be punished for the sins of the few. How long before big brother having punished dog owners moves on to cat lovers can you imagine muzzling moggies to stop them biting and killing birds interestingly my dauaghters have both been bitten by neighbours cats but never dogs our human rights are fast being eroded by bureaucracy in the extreme we need to fight for our pets rights.

  21. Muzzles, liability orders and dog training classes will not force the bad dog owners to change there ways, all any of the above will do is make responsible owners suffer. The out of control and aggressive dogs are usually owned by mindless yobs who don’t obey the law anyway.
    Make microchipping law, with stiff penaltys for failure to update details.
    Increase funding and staff for dog wardens, make cruelty and fighting dogs carry a very stiff sentence.
    Both of my dogs are microchipped, insured and both have third party liability, walk well on and off the lead and are well socialised with both people and other animals and neither has even been to a training class

  22. I work with dogs with aggression issues on a day to day basis. Many can live happy and fulfilling lives with training and management. There are some dogs that do require muzzles to safeguard others in public places, but it’s not realistic or necessary to muzzle all dogs. I think that some form of compulsory training and education is the answer for dog owners. If owners are educated to watch out for potential problems before they become a problem and have a good level of obedience many problems can be avoided.


  23. Talk about sledgehammers to crack nuts!

    Surely, anyone can see that legislation (breed-specific or not)introducing measures such as compulsory muzzling/leashing of all dogs in public, microchipping, licensing and/or prohibitive insurance will tackle neither the problem of so-called ‘status’ dogs used as weapons nor family dogs biting children.

    Fighting-dog owners will simply flout any law designed to curtail their activities, and far too many otherwise law-abiding owners just don’t read the signs that their dog, given the wrong circumstances, may be aggressive.

    I believe the only measures that will, at best, go some way to lessen these problems are (a) to give far stronger powers to police and RSPCA inspectors to confiscate dogs proven to have been deliberately bred, purchased, ill-treated and trained to be dangerous and (b) a widespread education programme to show owners and would-be owners how to train their dogs specifically with family and public safety in mind.

    But there will never be a complete and infallible solution. People who use dogs as weapons know only too well what any dog, if goaded or treated badly enough, is capable of and usually owners whose family members end up bitten don’t know enough.

  24. Here here! No muzzling of our doggy companions – muzzle the bad owners!

    Its always ‘certain types’ of people who have unsociable dogs, they care nothing for the dog, just the impression it gives of being big & tough! They always choose bully breeds for their looks (no fault of the dogs -I know some lovely well behaved ones).

    I agree with everyone having a dog licence and 3rd party insurance, although I suspect the ‘certain type’ of people will not comply anyway!

  25. muzzles and other restraints should be used! but NOT for the dogs – the idiot irresponsible owners of these dogs i mean, as its always their fault!
    A bad irresponsible owner can turn the sweetest of breeds into a vicious & dangerous dog.
    Besides it wouldn’t stop the majority of the past incidents you read about happening, because it happens indoors.
    I totally agree that they need to do something about these irresponsible people being able to own a dog (or any animal).
    not sure exactly what would be the best way to go about it is, just know that they’re barking up the wrong tree this way.

  26. What do you have to say?

    We need to go back to basics, until puppy farms are banned, and breeders take far more care to whom they sell pups too we will have a problem with unruly dogs! Unless the law is tightened up we will always have problem dogs from no fault of their own!
    How often do you read in puppy adverts deposit secures, perhaps no in-depth breed suitability questions asked from either the breeder or purchaser. To keep track of owners and breeders all dogs pedigree or not should have some form of registration, and in my opinion all puppies should by law have to attend puppy socialisation courses. All re-homed and rescue dogs should be made to attend adult dog training classes
    Change and tighten the rules on dog ownership and maybe we would not have a question about muzzling all dogs and stricter controls of dogs in public places

  27. What if you are walking your dog and it is muzzled because of the law and then a dog that someone has let out to potty in other people’s yards comes up to your and your dog and your dog can’t even defend itself because of the muzzle???? It would be suicide for your dog to go out in public with a muzzle on.

  28. There are days where I just want to beat the stupid out of people who come up with these lack of common sense ideas. I completely agree that muzzling dogs will not stop the problem For one thing, an unprovoked attack or biting often occurs when the dog has managed to escape his fence, leash or chain from their home. Implementing a muzzle law would have absolutely no effect on such incidents.

    I also believe that muzzling a dog would absolutely invoke their fight or flight response. When you feel trapped or restrained it’s natural to become tense, defensive and anxiety ridden, just as your example explained, so why do people expect an animal who doesn’t necessarily possess the same logical thinking skills as a human, think that suddenly their dog would react in a calm and logical manner when faced with what they perceive to be a dangerous situation? If anything, an animal who is likely more primitive in nature would react even harsher.

    Treating the whole group as the problem will not somehow magically cure the actual 2-3% problem? The answer lies with proper pet parent training first, followed by proper dog training. If you don’t have the time to devote to training and working with your new dog to make them safe and happy in their environment, then don’t get a dog! It’s just irresponsible pet ownership that comes from our societies need for instant gratification.

  29. I do not believe that muzzling is the way forward to control dog attacks. I live in NZ and the majority of dog attacks occur to children. I believe that children need to be educated in the school environment regarding canine awareness. I have witnessed first hand how some children can display inappropriate behaviour around dogs. I also believe that adults (whether dog owners or not) need to be educated on what gives a dog a balanced life. If a dog owner feels that allowing their dog off lead will limit their control then the dog should be on a long line (not a retractable lead but a long line like the tracking police dogs have). These lines give the dog a 60ft running area and can be staked into the ground freeing the owner to grab the line and haul the dog back in if more control needs to be established. We also have dog parks in NZ and these are great. There can still be the occasional dog fight but this occurs under the supervision of only dog owners so the fight can be broken up swiftly. Dog-free members of the public do not visit the park which further eliminates potential random attacks.

  30. There are several good points in the article, which could easily be distilled down to the simple statement that all dog owners should be responsible in their attitude to dog ownership.

    I would query the value of the example of the elephant in the boardroom as I suspect that fewer people are conversant with the layout and content of their employing organisation’s boardroom than are bitten by dogs. If you must use examples from the work place please try to make them relevant

    In the real world it is always the responsible people who are made to suffer for the stupidity of the irresponsible. Those of us who drive safely and considerately are forced to pay ever increasing insurance premiums to cover the cost of uninsured drivers and those who drive without thought for others. Anyone involved in legal gun ownership will be aware of the stringent rules in place, in the UK, yet this has done nothing to reduce the number of unlicenced, illegally held firearms.

    The introduction of licencing, muzzling etc will only really affect the law abiding among us, as those who keep illegal and/or poorly trained dogs now will continue to do so. What value would there be in imposing a massive fine, as suggested by several people, when the person being fined will simply argue that they cannot afford to pay it. The reality of the situation is that they would be banned from owning a dog for a set period and would then ignore the ruling, much as ASBOs and the like are regularly ignored, in the knowledge that the police don’t have the resources to follow up on “minor issues”

  31. While I agree that muzzling would not be a good idea, I do not see what is wrong with ALL dogs being on a leash in public places.
    My dog is always on a leash, and a long one in the park and he is an energetic terrier and has NOT become aggressive even though he can’t run free. I’m sorry but I think your arguement is nonsense.
    My dog has been attacked twice by other dogs in the park (fortunately he was OK but it did shake us both up considerably), where the other dog has been roaming free and not being controlled by their owner. Few dogs will ever be trained well enough to never be distracted by something else accross a park/road that may interest them!
    I would propose that dogs by law should be kept on a leash in public places, eg street and public parks and allow dogs to run free at designated areas like country parks etc. Why should decent dog owners and other members of the public including children be pestered by other dogs? Long leashes that are commonly used are ideal in parks. I see lazy dog owners stand in the park and never move but let there dog run wild/free…would not be better that they got fit too by actually walking their dogs?

  32. I am a purist. It is a breeder’s responsibility to find appropriate owners for their dogs, and when there is a problem, the owner and the breeder should be charged. Blaming the animal for a poor selection of owner and the inability and unwillingness to train their dogs is STUPID. Do they handcuff shoplifters? Castrate rapists? tattoo Raped on victims foreheads? No.

    So why blame the dog for a stupid ignorant owner and a money hungry irresponsible breeder.

    If the fines went the owner and breeder, it might stop backyard and boutique breeders. Fines should be heavy so that they make an impression.

  33. I am a careful Rottie owner. Any dog in the wrong hands can be a dangerous ‘weapon’, so as other people have said, its some owners not their dogs that are the problem. also would all dogs in public have to be muzzled? What about Police Dogs? Any Service/Helping Dogs? Rescue Dogs? ,Gun dogs out on a shoot? Farmers with dogs? Then we move to Gun dogs Trials, sheep dog trials. The list is endless. The next move could be in your own garden (in case someone puts their hands through the fence), dogs loose when the postman/delivery man comes.

    As for dogs on leads – does this mean everyone? again it would be impossible for gun dogs, farmers etc , but if they are working on a public footpath or access area surely this must count as a public area – not private land.

    This would mean and end to many doggie activities – flyball or agility on a lead with a muzzle, I think not. Even obedience work! What about demonstrations?

    These rules will be impossible to keep – too many loopholes.

  34. I don’t see that dog licensing is the only way forward and in my opinion the only way this could be effective is if it were policed as they do with tv licensing, which I think we can almost guarantee they won’t do due to budget. If they did then GREAT! But I believe it won’t happen, so if they introduce a dog license and don’t police it well enough, then it’s the same old story, the decent citizen who pays their taxes/licenses/fees and the scumbags who don’t give a monkeys generally get away with it.

    As far as muzzling goes, I think the majority of us agree it is not the way forward either and often serves to make the dog worse in many cases. But at the same time, the owners of nervy and snappy dogs also have to be careful about where they walk their dogs and under what circumstance. Unfortunately many don’t think about it and blame others for ‘walking too close’ or having a ‘nosy dog’.

    Obviousley those with aggressive/fearful dogs need to be mindful too but generally this group are thinking about the problem more.

  35. What do you have to say? I think making every dog wear a muzzle is wrong after all it is not the dog it is the owner if you can’t control your dog then don’t have it.

  36. I don’t agree with putting muzzle on every dog, no dog is born aggressive, its the owners who by the way they treat a dog that brings out, or encourages the aggression.
    As a trainer for over 35 years I have found that if there is a problem no matter what the breed, it is left to get totally out of hand before the owner seeks help

  37. All these politicians and such likes all sit behind their desk and come up with more and more idiotic rules and regulations. I myself have always had Rottweiler’s and have never had a problem with any of them, these new proposals are pointing the finger of blame towards the dogs themselves NOT at the owners with whom are responsible for training the dogs. At least a few times a week I find small dogs come running up to my dog growling and snapping at her, as my dog is trained she ignores it. But if it was my dog running up to them it would be a different story, I would have the authorities banging on my door for having a dangerous dog.

    Yes the law has to change but I believe they have to hold the owner’s responsible, maybe bringing back the dog licence and those who apply have to prove they can train and control the dog they are licensing. All of my dogs have always grown up with children and now grand children and all have been as good as gold, I know I keep saying but it is all in the training.

    The biggest part of owning a dog is exercise, a poorly exercised dog is a bored dog and in turn has a massive build up of energy this is when it can manifest itself in to aggression. There’re are a lot of dogs being used out there as status symbols which does nothing for the reputations of the breeds being used, yet again it comes back to the owners. It angers me when I find people crossing the road, grabbing their kids or dogs just because I am walking a Rottweiler, the authorities and the press only feed this fear and ignorance.

  38. in the 10 years that i have had my beautiful black staffordshire bull terrier and i have lost count of the number of times i have been told to put her on a lead as she is a dangerous dog, and the number of mothers who have pulled their children away from her.
    It is the owners responsibility for the upbringing of their dog, and its a shame that we are all tarred with the same brush if we have one of these, so called “dangerous dogs”.
    My dog looks scary, but is a big softie.
    If i had to muzzle her who knows how she would have turned out.
    Rather than just muzzle the dogs, which is the easy option, more emphasis should be put on dealing with the dog owners.
    These “dangerous dogs” are our pets….and we love them.

  39. It’s always the dog! Whatever the breed, a dog can be nasty or unsociable if the owner is irresponsible.

    I am very much for control of ownership, but not harking back to the days of the 7/6d dog license. I think that ALL owners should attend a dog owners responsibility course before being able to own a dog. I know that all shelters and licensed breeders would subscribe to this, but ultimately, we all know that RESPONSIBLE owners would sign up to this. The only owners that would not, are the owners that we’re trying to stop now.

    It all comes down to cost. Any solution would need to be financed and policed, and the only owners who would end up paying are the responsible ones. Those who currently flout the laws will also flout any new laws – and the cost burden would be transferred to responsible owners.

    So what is the solution? You’ll never stop a determined chav wanting to own a status dog, and if they can’t buy and own one legally, they’ll do it illegally, as there is nobody out there to police dog laws.

  40. The photo of the dog wearing a muzzle on this page is misleading. The type of muzzle worn by “unpredictable” dogs is the plastic cage type so dog can drink and bark when wearing this type of muzzle. There is also the metal cage type worn by Greyhounds when racing for dogs that could “nibble” through a plastic muzzle.
    Gale wrote: Quote “handcuff shoplifters? Castrate rapists? Unquote.
    That’s not a bad idea IMO.:-))
    Fines won’t solve any problem, neither will licences, insurances etc. The irresponsible won’t pay, the responsible will.
    Switzerland has very strict rules. If you want to buy a dog you have to pass a theory and practical test. If you already own a dog you only have to pass the theory. And they police it!!!! Unlike the UK where even policing criminality, drivers with no insurance, licence or tax is sadly lacking in efficiency.
    There is no room in society for aggressive dogs. The only acceptable aggression is when a dog is injured and/or in pain, and being provokes by children whose parents haven’t told them that a dog can react by biting if it pulls it’s ears, sticks pencils in it’s ears or jumps all over it etc. Even I would bite in these situations!!!.
    The Dangerous Dogs Act didn’t work. There are more PitBulls and Pit crosses than ever before. Ye dOgs, you could even teach a Cavalier King Charles to bite if you really wanted to, and that’s a breed that don’t know what the word “nasty” means!!!
    Any dog can bite. Look at hospital records and the number of patients with dog bites they receive each year.
    Punish the deed, not the breed. Make the owner of the dogs 100% responsible. Heavy fines, Community work, picking up irresponsible people’s dog poo, and a ban on keeping any sort of animal for either a set period or forever.
    If a dog is a known biter, it should have a one way trip to the vet..
    There are too many dogs with nice temperaments that are being put to sleep because there is no room in rescue for them.

  41. It would be just awful if all dogs were muzzled. I have a Jack Russell cross American Cocker Spaniel, you have never met a more loving dog. He loves it when we go over the park and he can chase leaves, sticks and his ball, pick them up and throw them around.

    What does annoy me is the amount of parents who allow their children to come over, whether the dog is on his leash or not and start playing with him without asking if he is ok with children. Luckily, my dog loves kids and playing with them, but not all dogs are used to them and would be a bit intimidated. As has been said before, it is the humans who should be trained and should have a bit of common sense!

    As soon as I got my dog I enrolled in puppy classes. When he was old enough he was castrated and microchipped.

    The main problem is, those with problem dogs are not going to pay any attention what-so-ever to being told to muzzle their dogs and keep them on a leash. They don’t bother now, so why would they when they are told!

  42. From reading these comments it is very clear – it is the irrersponsible dog owners that should be muzzled! Why should (yet again) the majority suffer because of the few! More should be done to ensure responsible breeders, owners and the effective use of the laws that we already have. Muzzling is not the answer, butof course, it is easy! Politicians – talk to my hand!

  43. I fail to see how my dogs would bring the ball back when on leads and muzzled. Swimming would be only done in very hot weather when I would go in holding the other end of the lead. I’m not against walking my dogs but for them to get the same energy burn as chasing balls and swimming I’d have to quit work and spend 4hrs a day walking them up hill!
    Not going to do that so I’d have unfit, fat unhealthy dogs, what a great idea!

    Two words frustration and anxiety. These would increase if my two were not allowed free exercise. Frustrated anxious dogs could easily lead to aggressive dogs. Maybe we should just get rid of all dogs to solve the problem, humans just seem to want this planet to themselves for their own gains anyway! And we’re the so called intelligent beings! What a joke!

  44. Hmm muzzling all dogs in public, this would be akin to

    handcuffing all people in public (just in case one of them strikes out at someone else)

    putting a speed limiter of say 10mph on all cars (just in case someone speeds and goes out of control)

    living in glass houses (so that everyone can see that no one hits out or upsets anyone else domestically)

    spaying/neutering anyone who as grown up in a bad environment (just in case they pass on their learning)

    Muzzling all dogs will create more problems.

    I’ve come from NZ to the UK with my dogs, in NZ we are very restricted on where we can both run our dogs freely and take them leashed and the dogs have a lot more anti-social issues with each other because they are social animals and don’t always get the needed opportunities to relate properly. Then people become unrealistically scared of dogs because they don’t encounter them as often. In the UK (at the moment) there is a lot more freedom and dogs aren’t as antsy with each other.

    Microchipping is fine, dog registration is just a money grabbing exercise, as is the norm with everything, the responsible will do the right thing, the irresponsible will just keep on doing what they do! 3rd party insurance – stupid, or let’s just say this would be akin to parents having to get it just in case their children attack someone else or perhaps in case the parent loses it with their child. Yep in every country there are thousands more child abuse cases than there are dog attacks!

  45. I have worked with dogs and owned my own dogs for forty years. Throughout the that time there have been dogs labelled as bad dogs, should be destroyed, should be muzzled, should be band! They have ranged from German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans and now Staffys and Pit Bulls. What breed will be next!
    I think the screaming and the idea of muzzling all dogs in public is a knee jerk reaction born from pure ignorance, and definitely from people who have no regard for dogs in general and not an intelligent solution.
    It is undoubtedly the owners of these dogs which are at fault and it is they who should be punished not the dogs.
    Dogs are not born nasty – dogs are made nasty by human hand, deliberately or through ignorance.
    I do think making it compulsory to have dogs microchiped and registered to the owner is an excellent idea and would help deter and police the current problems.
    I have no objection to you publishing my comments above.

  46. Muzzling dogs is sometimes used in the right context!! But certainly never when the owners have total control of their dogs. I used to have Maremma Sheepdogs, The Australian owners of livestock said that they were one of the most hated because of their barking. But these dogs only barked if they were telling an owner that someone was around. Here in the UK their are many different thoughts on this lovely breed but I never had a problem with anyone at all. They never barked at passers by that they had got used to. But I deviate because I was using that breed as an example, many of Australian land owners of Maremma Sheepdogs had a real desire to muzzle the breed, they were only doing a job that the breed were bred for’ Flockguarding’ How on earth could they do the job properly if muzzled? In all the time I owned my five not a nasty bone amongst them, in fact they were often seen at the famous Brentwood show “All About Dogs!” as superb examples of the breeds correct temperament. So in my eyes its not the dogs its the owners!! I would so love to take a muzzle to parliament and challenge the culprit to wearing it? I have a Pomeranian and a Yorkshire terrier now because of becoming disabled. But Its so stupid to have these lovely dogs muzzled or any dog??

  47. I don’t see that dog licensing is the only way forward and in my opinion the only way this could be effective is if it were policed as they do with tv licensing, which I think we can almost guarantee they won’t do due to budget. If they did then GREAT! But I believe it won’t happen, so if they introduce a dog license and don’t police it well enough, then it’s the same old story, the decent citizen who pays their taxes/licenses/fees and the scumbags who don’t give a monkeys generally get away with it.

    As far as muzzling goes, I think the majority of us agree it is not the way forward either and often serves to make the dog worse in many cases. But at the same time, the owners of nervy and snappy dogs also have to be careful about where they walk their dogs and under what circumstance. Unfortunately many don’t think about it and blame others for ‘walking too close’ or having a ‘nosy dog’.

    Obviousley those with aggressive/fearful dogs need to be mindful too but generally this group are thinking about the problem more.

  48. I own two very active Jack Russell Terrorist’s and one is very very smart but also very nervous and a fear biter. I found out that when on lead outside our home she is a perfect dog. She is still nervous but doesn’t tend to bark or try to bite anyone. But if anyone makes a fast move in our direction she puts her tail down between her rear legs and her ears go back, this is a warning to me that she doesn’t like the the situation she is in. On the topic of muzzling a dog that is nervous to start with, this is a very bad thing to do. Now the dog gets really nervous and seems to be afraid all the time and when they see the muzzle they hide and think you are punishing them. I believe in proper training your pet at an early age. We took our 2 JRT’s to obedience training when they were 6 months old and even though it didn’t seem sink in to there brains at the time about 1 year later they both started to take the commands they learned in school. I live in rural NE Tennessee and here we have farms and lots of cows and horses as well as tractors everywhere and with that lots of farm dogs that roam from field to field. We do have animal control agents but they only seem to handle stray and problem dogs. We don’t ever let our dogs roam the area we have 1/4 acre fenced in dog yard that our dogs play in and do there business in. JRT’s aren’t mindful off lead and tend to chase everything like Moles, Rabbits, field Mice, snakes and cats and don’t respond to commands from there owners. I love my dogs too much to let them run wild.
    Now there is a proposal in TN to get all dogs fixed to stop the overpopulation of dogs and cats. Personally I think this is a good idea, but we had both our dogs spayed. The only dogs that wouldn’t be effected by this law would be registered breeders and show dogs. It would be very hard to monitor which dogs were fixed and very expensive.

  49. That is so ridiculous. Why should we torture animals like that? All my dog does is kiss people. This might have an opposite affect on the dog.

  50. First of all, excuse my English, as French is my maternal language… It is not a good idea to muzzle all dogs, they must have a little freedom and they will get more aggressive. It should be only for the aggressive and dangerous dogs, but not all of them are like that…

    My very friendly dogs have been attacked many times by dogs running loose – now they feel threatened by every loose dog they see – one goes on the defensive, the other gets scared to death.
    No one – NO ONE – can control their dog off leash in every given sItuation every single time and no good trainer/handler will tell you that they can. I don’t care what breed of dog it is or how savy the handler, dogs are still dogs and will act like dogs , call it prey drive or too much pent up energy or whatever term you wish to use.
    Responsible pet ownership includes seeing the dog is properly trained and exersized (I know winter is hard – i live in Michigan – the weather changes daily), keeping it under control in public places and PICKING UP AFTER THE DOG!!!!!!

  52. I do not think that any dog should be muzzled. I am an owner of 2 Rottweilers and a Black Labrador. We re-homed Rosie who is 4 this year and she is so loving and lazy but the minute she gets over the park with her friends she is like a different dog she loves running around with her other pals and really looks like she is smiling but when she is on the lead she doesn’t like other dogs coming near her and starts barking, I know she is just standing her ground but if she was muzzled she would probably act like a dog possessed when she saw another dog because of the restriction. My other Rottie (Rocky) who is 2 years old this year is no different on a lead or off it but he loves meeting other humans over the park and getting a big kiss and cuddle of anyone who is willing to do it but if he was muzzled he would look like a dog who is not to be approached or stroked and that is nothing like him at all. Why should dogs be punished for idiot owners who don’t put the time in to look after their pets and neither do they care. Muzzle the idiot owners not the dogs.

  53. I own 5 dogs. My dogs are let off lead every day for a good run. I am lucky enough to live opposite a large country park so there is lots of free space but if someone else appears my dogs get called over and sit with me, they have never jumped up anyone, they have never attacked anything, they are well balanced polite and sociable to all other animals. They live with 4 children and show nothing but love so yes I would have a problem with them being muzzled. I also have a problem with licensing as I don’t see how this would be effectively enforced, it would be the same responsible owners who bought a license and the people who really need to be monitored, wouldn’t bother, same as they don’t bother training their dogs or being a responsible owner.

    For the record I am a 35 year old Mum of 4 and the dogs I own are a Westie and 4 beautifully behaved Staffordshire Bull Terriers…

  54. I have 3 greyhounds who have all retired from the track and so if it became law they should wear a muzzel my dogs have worn one when working.I would and do carry a muzzel as my dogs love to chase so if needed they can wear a muzzel without any problems but I would not like them to have to wear one whenever they went out as I personly do not like them but if needs must or the law says then so be it so I may keep my boys.

  55. Well this is an interesting point!!
    The dogs I see on a daily basis,From the friendliest socialable dogs to dogs that ‘have issues’!! if they are muzzled they get into more problems. I help train and change behaviour of dog ‘aggressive’ dogs. If these dogs have a muzzle on they CAN NOT convey thier facial expressions, they CAN NOT learn HOW to convey the correct body language and facial expressions to other dogs and people and in the end get int o trouble AGAIN!! When its not their fault!! I understand the consept of the muzzle for training to protect the dog and owner but when the dog is in training and they have a responsible owner the the muzle can be weaned off… The BAD dogs out there are not always BAD dogs… the owners need to be sorted. As with any thing the goverment does it will ALWAYS force the BAD EGGS under ground,

    Why should they obey by the rules that us normal civilised law abiding citizens do so…. They dont normally!!

    The dogs are going to take the brunt of this, they will be abandoned, hurt or even killed if they have to be….

    its not just the dogs on the dangerous dogs list that can be dangerous!! come on people it is not the dog it IS THE OWNER!!!!

    I own a Rottie, shepherd and a lab and believe me I have seen far more small dog aggression then large breed aggression. but when a rottie or mastiff lunges at you, you think the worst…. but if a yorkshire terrier does exactly the same…. what do you do?? pick it up!! the teeth arent that painful….

    It really doesnt matter what the dog is… if the owner has developed and accepted this behaviour the they should be responsible for the dogs actions!!

  56. I completely agree with Ryan – it’s up to us as dog owners and lovers to have our dogs under control when in public.
    Earlier today we were walking our five dogs in secluded woodland when suddenly two Weimeraners appeared and started to attack my lab, followed by two frantic owners. The guy said they hadn’t expected to meet anyone ‘in the middle of nowhere’. Does that excuse the fact that he had two aggressive dogs off lead? I have reported the incident to the dog warden and I am fairly certain from the way they behaved that this has happened before.

    We all need to ensure our dogs have basic obedience before they are allowed to run free in public.

  57. More stupid than the original Dangerous Dogs Act! No thought has been put into it, owners spend a lot of time training rescue dogs, to have it messed up in one easy go. it would be a better idea to lock up some of the “offenders” of modern society who knock about innocent folk and injure them. There are places where dogs should be on a lead in public places, but so should some children!

  58. I think the thought of muzzling dogs is disgusting. I own 2 Lhasa Apsos and they wouldn’t hurt a fly! They are friendly and enjoy interacting with strangers when they go for a walk.
    On the very odd occasion I see a muzzled dog, I tend to avoid them as I tend to think the owner has muzzled them for a good reason. If all dogs have to endure this, then all people would avoid them and they wouldn’t get the interaction that they need. It’s good for dogs to make friends with strangers and other dogs and muzzling them would put an end to this. It would be a great shame for all dogs and dog owners.

  59. I have 3 dogs. A rottweiller who we rescued at 4 years old. He’s a lovely dog but can have issues with other dogs but has never caused one an injury. We generally keep him on the lead mainly for his safety – he’s nearly 9 now so being on the lead is no big deal. We let him off when the situation is right and don’t get complacent. We also have a rotti x and a border collie. Keeping those two on the lead would be detremental to their well being and muzzling them would not allow them to play with a ball which they love. Especially our Border Collie – if she couldn’t retrieve a ball her life wouldn’t be complete. I’m under no illusion that all dogs have the potential to attack, but also every human has the capacity to murder, we don’t do it and generally people who have been abused, unloved, deprived of normal experiences or haven’t had positive influences are more likely to. The same with dogs – no dog is born aggressive, its made that way depending on its experiences. Irrisponsible owners should be targeted rather than the breed. All that happens in the proposed law is dogs and responsible owners being punished and the irrisponsible owners who don’t care anyway won’t be punished, they will probably just abandon the dog anyway which will put a strain on shelters etc. Encouragement should be concentrated on puppy training, socialisation and responsible ownership. The Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Dog Scheme should be a recognised tool to good ownership and should carry incentives for people who put thier dogs through, but can also be taken away if you don’t keep it up ie caught not clearing up after your dog etc. The amount of dogs in this country compared to the number of serious attacks is so minimal the target of control should be on those people who own the problematic dogs rather than the millions of people who look after their dogs properly.

  60. The overwhelming majority of dog owners are very responsible and well informed. How often have you actually witnessed a dog out of control in public? Or even in private for that matter?
    The truth is that the irresponsibility belongs to the news media and politicians who blow a few incidents out of all proportion to advance their own careers.
    When we enter into the debate on how to deal with this mythical “crisis” we play right into their hands.

  61. Only dogs that are innately vicious should be muzzled. A well behaved dog should not be muzzled. I have never found the need to muzzle a dog that I owned.

  62. In my opinion there is no ‘Dangerous Dog’. Only Dangerous Owners.

    to ArnieC i do not believe for one moment that any dog is innately vicious, however i can see how it can appear so. I do believe though that they have been taught viciousness from us as humans who have a long time drive to create a powerful, dangerous dog that has sadly turned into a status symbol.

    Take the staffadshire bull terrier for example. These dogs have become inceasingly popular throughout the UK, and are well known to be kind and loving in nature. However due to the increase for the need to have a vicious ‘status symbol’ dog the staffy has been pushed, bullied and trained to be vicious.

    Like i stated earlier, dogs are not born with an innate viciousness. They are taught it.

    Take the wolf as a decendant example. Amazingly the wolf and the dog only share a genetic difference of 4%.
    They are not vicious creatures. They will not attack other wolves because they want to or because it is fit to do so. Only if they cannot escape an oncoming attack (the flight or fight response) will they chose to fight.

    Wolves are another great example to show the roles of alpha, beta and so on within a pack. A dog may appear vicious and dominating but it is again our own fault. some people do not have the mental as well as physical strength to own a powerful dog and keep it happy. If a dog knows the owner is weak and cannot fulfil the Alpha role then it will automatically assume the role itself. Its doing what any wolf would. The alpha is the strongest and smartest, if your dog is smarter than you (in an instinctual manner) then it will undermine you, it will not do it to ‘annoy you’ dogs have no concept of this. It’s simply fulfiling the role you have left available to it.

    In all i think that Humans are the problem, granted you may have the strength to keep a large powerful dog under control but you may not have the knowledge it takes to keep that dog at bay.

    We are the problem. We have bred and re-bred and trained and retrained these dogs to do our bidding, however how long will it take to retrain owners? to stop them from bullying these dogs into something they aren’t?

    Already over 5 cases of staffy attacks have been recorded in the past few months alone, how long will it take for people to realise that the owners are the problem, its their fault these dogs are unbalanced mentally.

    How long til we see the Staffadshire bull terrier on the Dangerous Dogs Act too?
    And for that matter, yorkshire terriers? or even labraors? I have known individual dogs of small breeds as well as ‘soft’ breeds to be vicious and this is down the human factor again.

    Any dog can be trained to sit. its just the same with training the dog to bite, bark and attack Granted though, more drastic and ‘harmful’ methods are used for the latter. But positive or negative reinforcements work equally, it just so happens one is as the name states a more negative approach.

    Dogs aren’t the problem. Owners Are.

  63. I think you are right, muzzling will do nothing. We need to regulate breeding to only responsible breeders that do not breed for aggression. Additionally, there should be more required owner education programs. Finally, the majority of attacks that I hear about happen because a dog has been on a chain it’s entire life. It has been proven that intact male dogs are involved in a majority of attacks. We need mandatory spay and neuter laws for non-registered breeders and we need to outlaw the chaining of dogs.

  64. Muzzling all dogs would be preposterous. Detrimental to their well-being, physically and mentally and above all cruel. We might as well but stuffed dogs on wheels!
    The answer to this whole issue lies in educating the owners. The breed of a dog is irrelevant – they all have 42 teeth which can substantially injure or kill. I suggest educate children in school about the responsibilities of owning a dog, the paramount importance of socialisation and training.
    Micro -chipping would be a good thing too but more important is to make the owners TOTALLY responsible for their dogs’ behaviour. Training/information classes should be widely available in every borough council, advertised in vets, doctors surgeries etc.. These measures would at least be a small start to helping people understand dog ownership and reducing the number of homeless dogs.

  65. Wow! Thanks for all the constructive comments on this article. You guys obviously care passionately about this issue. Thank you.

  66. I have three large dogs, and have never had a problem with any of them. That being said, I do believe in leashing a dog in public unless it si in a dog park. People are well meaning, but it is just not smart to assume your dog wil always react in a positive way to unwanted attention. I do not believe in muzzles because I feel that they can actually cause a negative response even before there is any kind of confrontation. Why try to fix something that is not broken? If there is a dog that is not trustworthy in a public place, he should not be there in the first place!. Lets be responsible owners!

  67. I have a great Lurcher, a rescue, I got him over seperation anxiety and the stress he had, he is a fantastic house dog and wonderful with adults and kids alike, but he IS a LURCHER, so outside with the squirrels and rabbits he is off and runnin!!!, I do however, muzzle him when walking in a residential area due to the fact that he would kill a cat on sight, and this I could not allow. He needs to run so we have a dog friendly park nearby that allows all dogs freedom. We as humans, have made and tried to mould these wonderful creatures into what we want not how they should be, when something goes wrong it is not the human that gets the blame but the dog.
    If a person, for whatever reason, desires to own a dog that is on the dangerous dog list, then why is there not a compulsory high insurance scheme and a compulsory high licence fee scheme for such people. I would not object to paying a licence fee for any dog that I own. I think with the Staffs, and bull terrier type dogs, responsible ownership is a must and these dogs can be lovely pets. in the wrong hands as with any animal, the danger is always there, the cruelty inflicted by such owners on the animals defies belief. Muzzle all dogs and leash them at all times? NO, but something must be done to insure that true dog owners, lovers and people who understand the language and ways of dogs, can own them without being hassled and made to feel guilty. Ann the proud mistress of Jack.

  68. What do you have to say?
    When humans decided to domesticate dogs and make them part of the human pack they took on a huge responsibility of accountability. I believe that responsible ownership is paramount in preventing unwanted/aggressive behaviours in their pets and muzzling all dogs in public is not going to resolve the issue of dog attacks. Most certainly, if dogs are allowed to roam there is the chance that a highly charged/prey drive dog might bite or attack a person. However, if dogs living within a normal family environment are given sufficient exercise,training, and mental stimulation they will not have the urge to release energy in a negative way. Muzzling dogs will, in my opinion, create more problems than solving them. We have a responsibility to our pets to give them the best life possible. We have taken away their initial freedom to live in a domestic environment, so to restrict their freedom moreso, by muzzling is simply cruel and unnessary.

  69. Aggressive dogs is the owners responsiblity. They need to protect the public (when needed) But with that said, the public has a negitive association to a dog being muzzled. We need to change the minds of the public about dogs being muzzled. To me, it is a win-win situation.

  70. I think that the muzzling idea is un-policable unless we become the big brother state where everyone is watching each other and telling tales, i have 2 dogs that the public views as being dangerous (Rottweilers) and they will probably be the first on the hit list of the Government, however i feel that Britain is quickly becoming a Country where responsible people are being punshed for the minority, i feel that if this law came into power then we are on a slipper slope to not even being able to take our dogs out!! – i feel that only the responsible dogs owners will be hit by this as irresponsible dog owners by the very nature of them being irresponsible will not give a toss about the law??

  71. What a STUPID idea. That is just covering up the problem, not fixing it and it punishes all. Let’s train the owners how to handle dogs and then there won’t be an issue. Why should all dogs (and owners) suffer because of a few idiots!

  72. if they really want to deal with dangerous dogs, then they should do just that. deal with actaul dangerous dogs, rather than punishing breeds and responsile owners.

    the first thing that needs to be done is to repeal the dangerous dogs act and get rid of breed specific legislation. it has failed to do any thing other than kill thousands of pet dog that hadn’t done anything.

    if the want to know where to start, look at Calgray’s dog legislation. Calgray didn’t jump on the bsl ban wangon, instead they looked at legislation to deal with the cause of the problem. they put huge resources into dog saftey education, a tougher licencing system, a strict fine structue for voilaters and stronger enforcement. and the result-1000 reported dog bites in 1985 and 260 reported dog bites in 2003.

    if they want to reduce dog bites, why not base new legislation on legislation that has alreay proven to work and work without breed specific legislation. we could also include some other points, like complousary micro chipping, police and dog wardens having the power to place control orders on individaul dogs that have acted dangerously. maybe we could also have a set number of trainning sessions that have single dog has to do. most out of control dogs, just haven’t been trained as they should have been.

  73. I wouldn’t object so strongly to dogs being kept onlead in public if the local councils would provide adequate, secure offlead dog parks with enough space for the dogs to really stretch out. My dogs come alive when offlead and it’s a joy to watch them chasing and coursing with each other. As for muzzling, I can see it from both sides and don’t really have a strong opinion either for or against.
    I own a whippet and a lurcher. As a responsible owner, I recognise that there are occasions when it is necessary to muzzle them, for the safety of small furry creatures and in the case of my lurcher, to prevent him from scavenging and endangering his health. Muzzles are not torture devices. A correctly fitted BASKET muzzle allows a dog to pant, drink, sniff and even smile or growl. In my very humble opinion there is no place for a fabric muzzle (as shown in the above picture) outside of the vets surgery and they should NEVER be used under normal everyday circumstances. It is pure ignorance to assume that every muzzled dog poses a danger and I am disappointed that so many other dog owners will avoid a muzzled dog. Ask yourself which dog can give the deeper bite – the one with or without the muzzle?

  74. I am against muzzling. Perhaps some owners should, be muzzled – because they do not control theri dogs properly!!!!
    I have a black labrador. when he was a puppy, we was attacked several tmes. Twice by two alsations – and the owner said both times that ‘they never did that usually and that he would have them on a lead if they were prone to attacking!’ He got reported to the dog warden!
    My dog is fine with people – he allows my 3 years old grandchild to do anything! That is a love match! (Even so I never leave them alone together.)
    He loves all female dogs, but he is unpredictable with other males. So I keep him under control. He is 8 in May and we have not had a problem.
    Dog owners should he responsible and should control their dogs. Sadly, this does not always happen – some, the small majority, spoil the enjoyment for dogs and their owners. The owners should be punished. Dogs should not be punished and muzzled.

  75. I think its a ridiculous suggestion that dogs should be muzzled, poor dogs who fall into the hand of horrible people should not be punished, instead its the owner who should be held FULLY responsible. They should not categorise ANY specific breed as ‘dangerous dogs’ as its the evil and irresponsible OWNER that goes out of their way to make their dog behave that way. My husband and i have a baby daughter, two cats and a beautiful dog (which is one of those named as the dangerous dogs) and she is the most gorgeous, gentle and friendly dog you will ever meet. I think its completely out of order and it breaks my heart to see these poor dogs being taken away or put down because of these evil owners, if they didnt encourage their dog to be that way there would be no need for muzzles of any kind. I can say FIRST HAND that no dog, just because of its breed is a danger to anyone, its the owners who are. Muzzles and a lethal injection should be used on these a***hole owners!

  76. What do you have to say?
    I have my very first dog. I love taking him on walks but I get very nervous when I see other dogs off thier leads when walking the streets. I think that all dogs should be on thier leads when walking the streets but be allowed off them when playing over the fields/open spaces.
    There is a few people in my local area who walk with their staffs without thier leads and are known to have killed and hurt other small dogs. I do get very scared and I sometimes feel my dog also feels my nervousnes and this is not fair.
    I have asked my local police about known dangerous dogs walking without a lead and they say there is nothing they can do.
    There should be a pannel of different types of people set up to agree a “dog law” that can include who the owners are.
    I love my dog and would never want any harm to come to him but I would like him to have the freedom to run around and interact with other dogs.

  77. Muzzling is a dreadful idea, I only ever thought of putting a muzzle on my wolfhound to stop him eating sticks and balls on the beach not to stop him biting anyone. I decided against it. Instead I set about training him that the only good things to eat were the treats in my pocket !

  78. What do you have to say? i have always been a responsible dog owner. have owned many dogs,had many breeds ie, dobermans, alsations and labs. its not the dogs what am a danger and a nuisance its the owners. i think muzzles should be used for some dogs, but people could think thats a dangerous dog and not all dogs am dangerous who mite be wearing a muzzel. so some dogs will be doomed no matter what!!! only ones who gets penalised is the responsible dog owners yet again!!!!

  79. I know its been said before but dogs any type or breed will only
    need muzzelling [if realy neaded to] if the dog has been brought up wrong [ used to fight or mistreaten badly], there are certain breeds when brought up properly dont need it, most dogs shake toys even the poodle does this one need one.
    Now is the time for all dog owners to be trained properly with there dog how to behave

  80. I have a Greyhound, Lurcher and 2 chihuahuas. My two sighthounds wear muzzles at all times when out, apart from if we are playing with a ball as that is all they are focussed on, as they have extremely high prey drives and would kill cats and birds without muzzles. My lurcher was attacked twice by dogs and abused as a puppy before we got him so he is very scared of people and dogs, so the muzzle is there as a precaution. They are both used to wearing them and have done for years, and happy when I get them out as it means a walk! I would never muzzle my chihuahuas as they are very sociable. It all depends on the dog I think.

    I think it is shocking to even consider muzzling ALL dogs regardless of temperament as that is completely ridiculous. If your dog is sociable and you can control it off-lead then it should be able to be free off lead. No freedom makes one unhappy dog..

  81. I have one of the dangerous breeds (Rottweiler) and he is huge and people are scared of him but he is a big softie. I am a responsible dog owner and trainer and he is let off lead but put on the lead when I see other people/dogs. It is only polite. I expect it of other people but it rarely happens. May be instead of muzzling every dog, try getting every dog owner to do the Good Citizen Dog scheme with their dog, as it tests dog and owner.

  82. As the owner of a Dogue De Bordeaux (the dog from Turner and Hooch film), I am completely opposed to muzzing dogs. I whole heartly blame the OWNERS and not the dogs for the attacks on people.These so called dangerous dogs is the wrong description given,as it should say MISTREATED DOG and DANGEROUS OWNER. My baby who is 38.5kg and is only 11 months and not fully grown yet, is the gentle giant,playful and full of fun even when getting her injection and skin scrapes without any sedation, her behaviour was to lick our vet and want to play.I personally feel that the responsibility starts with the person who initially sells the pup. I wish they would do background checks and home visits to the people buying their pups. I also believe to enforce this they should also be held accountable if later on one of the pups they sold attacks a person. To me the in some cases the selling of these dogs is just to make money because they are big and supposidly bad ,fearless dogs.
    When i see these so called dangerous dogs which my Millie could be seen as one, attached to the end of the lead is a silly little boy/ned, never an adult who is responsible. This completely angers me.
    I am a nurse and worked in A/E and the dog attacks that i was involved with was caused by small dogs and not the dangerous dog. I am by no means saying these attacks dont happen as we all are aware they do because of the press, but you hardly hear about the small dog attacks on children, which are common.
    I also believe that anyone buying a dog which at the end of the day was once a wild animal we tamed and took as part of our family, should be made to have compulsary training in how to care and train the dog.
    I apologise for going on but i am on any animals side on things like this, and get angry and frustrated by ignorant peoples comment when they dont even have a animal of their own.There are thousands of very responsible dog owners,we should be the ones asked not some pen pusher who has no understanding of these beautiful affectionate loyal creatures to man even when in some cases these animals are subjected the cruelest treatment.

  83. I think it is a stupid idea people are the problem not the dogs and most serious attacks on people happen in the home so how is muzzling outside going to help. As for the Idea for compulsory micro chipping it has been proven in America that since the introduction of micro chipping there has been a significant increase in cancer’s in animals so why should we be forced to do this to our animals.

  84. Muzzling dogs is not only totally impractical, but downright harmful to certain short muzzled breeds. Among these are the Staffordshire bull terrier, Bulldog, French bulldog etc. The muzzle will impede the ability to breathe properly. Definitely not a law for all dogs!!!!!. Not even a law for some!!!! Angela.

  85. I have a friend with a young GSD who had a habit of nipping other dog’s bottoms! After a number of verbal complaints and a visit from the Police, my friend decided to keep her dog on an extending lead for many months, to stop him from doing this. He has been beautifully behaved and plays with all his buddies in the park, twice daily without anything untoward happening. He keeps his eyes and ears on ‘his mum’ constantly and is very quick to respond to any instruction she gives him.
    Last week she bought him a muzzle, so that he could run more freely. Sadly, this means he cannot play with his beloved ball but at least he has more freedom. Within two days of wearing his muzzle he was ‘accused’ of attacking another dog!! How could he possibly attack anything with a muzzle on? The owner of the other dog (a labradoodle) saw the muzzle, assumed he was aggressive and immediately became abusive himself! (Muzzle the owner.) People are not interested in understanding dog behaviour, they are just too quick to jump to the wrong conclusions because they want to sue you.
    My own dog is often misunderstood, simply because he is big and lively. He behaves like a small dog, running up to greet everybody, even if they are 200 yards away! He is a GSD x Greyhound who just loves to run. I can understand that a 35Kg dog running towards you is pretty scary but if you watch the other dog’s reactions you can see that my dog is not a threat to them. However, some owners (who generally have their dogs on the lead) immediately become agitated or aggressive, totally confusing their dog, which then reacts badly. My dog is often ‘seen off’ by such dogs and/or I get a mouthful of abuse. (Muzzle the owner.) If they were to let their dog off, it would be a different story. My dog has never attacked another. He has, however, been attacked and he did initially retaliate but finally submitted, at which point I had to pull off the other dog who was going in for the kill. The other owner just watched!
    Would I muzzle my dog? No. Another happy-go-lucky dog would very quickly become depressed as he always carries a ball in his mouth when he is off the lead.
    I got my dog from a rescue centre when he was 7 months old. His recall still leaves a lot to be desired and we’re STILL working on it but I will not give up on him,as his previous owner did, because he deserves a second chance.
    All dogs have the ability to defend themselves but I believe that problem dogs are ’caused’ by incapable owners.

  86. I have a Rottweiller and a Staffordshire bull terrier and they are both loving, well behaved and trained dogs. My husband and I get alot of bad looks in the village that we live in, people tend to think that we are a lower class of human for owning these dogs, We have two children and we trust our dogs around them. My parents and sister own Springer spaniels and my brother owns a dachshound, I would never leave my children any where near these dogs as they are not used to children (and some of them don’t like adults!!).

    I do not believe that any dog that is well behaved should be muzzled, it is the owners responsibility to be aware of how their dog behaves and make an educated decision as to whether their dog should be muzzled.

    Due to the breeds of our dogs we courtiously keep them on leads as we would not want to make other people feel uncomfortable.

    All I would say is Owners should take responsibility, if you see a dog on a lead put yours on one too or make sure you keep it to heel.

  87. I tend to find that the dogs that are muzzled from the moment they leave the front door are so agitated because they are in such a constrained piece of equipment – all they want to do, whether they be friendly or full on nasty, is get out to do their usual things.

    All dogs deserve to have their freedom just as much as any human – when a person has an argument in the street they aren’t subjected to wearing a straight jacket or muzzle for the rest of their life are they, you can’t even keep them on a lead!! 🙂

    As per usual, it’s all down to the training – generally the dogs that do attack are owned by people who want to show their apparent strength by owning a dog that was originally bred for fighting purposes – the training is down to the owner, not the dog itself.

    In public spaces (unless designated dog safe and secure) – ON with the lead and OFF with the muzzle – it’s only fair.

  88. I have two staffies both different in behavior patterns but both very playful and friendly.Jess is older by a year she leads Jazz on and sometimes bullies her but that is her way of telling her she was here first. When we walk both dogs are very well behaved and actually ignore other dogs but love the attention of people they would lick them to death more than bite although Jazz is prone to nipping to get the attention Jess stops her getting. Muzzling i think the owners probably need that more than the dogs. My dogs breed are supposed to be i quote ‘danger dogs’ but i would be more inclined to call them daft dogs. Muzzling my opinion no need if you know your dog/dogs or train them if you don’t know the dog/dogs rescue dogs ect. NO TO MUZZLING DEFINITLEY.

  89. Well here we go again, lets us hit the easy targets. Why are we even talking about putting a muzzle on all dogs? It is not all dogs that are the problem. I agree there are problems with some dogs or should I say owners?!! How will this idiotic idea be policed? The authorities cannot get a grip on the fouling let alone anything else. I for one will not be putting any kind of barbaric restraint on my dog.

  90. What do you have to say? I believe the owners of these dangerous dogs should be educated. Muzzles cause more problems than they are worth. These dogs must be kept on a lead at all times, and only exercised away from other dogs and people.Keep them away from crowded areas and children. Not all dogs are dangerous, most are educated at an early age and love to play with children and like a lot of fuss.
    No muzzles!! keep on a lead.

  91. 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 😛

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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!

  98. 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!

    1. 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.

    2. 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).

    3. 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!!

      1. i fully agree, we have purchased a 3 year old staffy from a animal rescue centre and she is the most loving pet we have ever had, due to being caged and surrounded by barking dogs she has a slight agression to other dogs, but she is attending socialisation classes to overcome this, my 2 young daughters play with her and she is fantastic with them

    4. 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?

      1. 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

        1. 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.

    5. I’m afraid I have to disagree with labeling Staffies as dangerous dogs. We inherited a Staffie last year & he was a very aggressive dog, he’s been known to bite a few times with his previous owner (infact, he’s lucky he never got put down!) But since we’ve had him he’s become the most adorable, friendly, cuddily wee thing ever. We’ve proven with him that a dogs behaviour is all in the training. Consistant love & diciplin & very, very hard work pays off ten fold.

  99. 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.

  100. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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

    2. Sounds like your dog isn’t as well trained as you would like to think if you need to use a halti all the time. Its very cruel to keep a high energy dog like a GSD if you are unwilling or unable to give it adequate exercise, which would be around 4 hours a day on lead at a birsk pace, or a couple of hours a day off lead being allowed to socialise. No bad dogs, only bad owners indeed!

  101. 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?

  102. 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…

  103. 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!

  104. 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.

  105. 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!!!!

  106. 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.

  107. 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.

  108. 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”

  109. 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 .

    1. 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.

  110. 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????

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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.

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. 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!!!

  117. 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.

  118. 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.

  119. 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.

    1. 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

  120. 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.

  121. 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

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. this subject really angers me. the government should not be ruling the dogs as dangerous when it is their environment that their owners have put them in. in my belief there is no such thing as a dangerous dog it is the owner that has incorretly trained their dog and mistreated them. maybe due to the fact that they have chosen the wrong breed that suits there need. or have not comitted as much time as they should have. i am training to become a dog behaviourist and i am half way through my degree and all the books that i have read prove the points i have made above. it is the owners that misread thier dogs body language and then discipline their dogs in the worng way. i also believe that a dog that has behavioural problems can also be completly cured with a second chance with a correct family and training regime. i have a 10month border collie and a 2 year staffie bitch and i have never had any problems with these dogs and i have had both from 8 weeks old. i have also had many different breeds throughout my life from miniture yorkshire terriers to german shepards and i had more problems training the yorkshire terrier than i did the german shepard.

  125. Being a dog owner means that you have many responsibilities, such as making sure that your dog is adequately trained and socialised both with people and other animals.
    Your dog should also be insured against causing damage to another person , property or other animals.
    With all due respect ,if you are unable to keep your dog under control, or train your dog to a sufficient standard, then you should not be a dog owner!!
    It is the responsible dog owner and their dog who always has to suffer the changes in the law which has been brought to bear for all by the irresponsiblble dog owner.
    It will be a sad day when all dogs are required to be muzzled outside our own home.

  126. My partner & I have 2 GSDs (Tetley Esquire & Tennants) which we got as puppies. They’re extremely well trained, they are completely off the lead, wait for us outside shops, are very sociable & have no aggression in them what-so-ever – they don’t even bark at the door! Frankly, if I were forced to muzzle & lead them all the time I would see such a significant drop in their quality of life I would go so far as to call it dog abuse!

    We also have a Staffie cross (Shearer) who we took in last year after the brother-in-law (Steven) moved to a new flat where animals are prohibited. Steven originally rescued Shearer from gypsies who were using him as a fighting dog & he was pretty much feral. After 6 or 7 years of hard work Steven did manage to some what domesticate Shearer, although he always had a viscous streak. We took Shearer in because I would never see any dog go to a shelter when we have the means to look after them properly, but mostly because he would be unfit for rehoming. While in Steven’s care he bit quite a few times, he bit Steven on the face (although this was Steven’s own fault for blowing up Shearer’s nose while drunk), he even bit a small girl of 10 years because she sneezed 10 times in a row, she had to have almost 30 stitches. Any sign of aggression towards Steven & he would bite. When we first got him he would constantly growl at us just for giving him some love & he would pick fights with the youngest Shep when we walked them together (we just walk them separately now – problem solved!) He’s never bitten either of us & I’m 100% confident he never will but I think that’s because he feels nice and secure here.

    I know Shearer sounds like a prime candidate to be put to sleep but, here comes my main point. He’s a cracking wee dog now. Yes, it’s been very hard work & there were moments when we doubted we could rehabilitate him but we stayed strong & he’s my pride & joy now, it’s just so satisfying to see the progress he‘s making. He’s becoming much more confident in social situations (so much so we‘re taking him to Scotland to meet my parents & their dog next month), he’s very loving & he’s actually very receptive to training. He hasn’t growled at either of us months & months now, in fact, I can’t even remember the last time he did. If we can (with no formal training) turn the most aggressive dog I’ve ever met into a cuddily, friendly lap dog it just proves my point that a dog’s behaviour is all in the training and home life.

    To be honest, I think your article has it bang on, muzzles & leads are really not the way to go. Dog owners who put the time & effort into training their dogs properly simply don’t need to muzzle their dogs. If they brought in this law, my partner & I both agree that we just wouldn’t follow it. To think that all those years of (ongoing) hard work to ensure that our dogs are well trained and friendly could all be thrown out the window because some stupid people cant be bothered to put the work in makes me so angry!

  127. Mr. O’Meara: It’s hard to understand why solutions are so often extreme. As the Great Barbara Woodhouse liked to say “There are NO Bad Dogs only bad Owners” I fail to see why all pets should be punished for the actions of a few. We are all aware that our canine friends need to pant when walking or playing and the further that Tongue can flap in the breeze, the more cooling effect will be felt by the pet. I think that muzzles take away that natural cooling ability and leave the pet in danger of overheating.
    What we all really need is much Stronger penalties for pet owners who allow their pets to enjoy too much freedom and a much more effective system for catching and holding stray or un-attended animals who are a potential health hazard to us and our pets, due to neglect and lack of veterinarian services. In short, More funding for Animal Services and better policing of pet owners.
    Thank You: Robert B.

  128. My Fiancee and i own a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and we see people crossing over in stead of walking by us because of our dog Tyson. He is the most friendly dog if you take the time to speak to him and he is this way because of the way we have brought him up so my opinion on this subject is this Tell the government not to muzzle the dogs as it is not there fault they should muzzle the dangerous owners because i believe that a dog only behaves the way it has been taught and i say this about all breeds of dog s not only our beloved Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tyson.

  129. No to muzzles, unless the owner knows the dog is likely to nip or bite. I personally hate the things, they are un natural and are more likely to make a dog bite when it is removed – I have had experience of this with a retired guard dog my parents had, she was a lovely dog but inclined to bite, they muzzled her to start with when out and about and when anyone came to the house that was expected, then took her to dog training classes so the problem was then under control without a muzzle .

    To muzzle all dogs in public is ridiculous, all dogs are not likely to bite, my lab plays with next doors staffy regulary and he is a softie. I am now on my third lab and none of them have ever been or will ever be muzzled.
    Dogs will generally only bite after being provoked or tormented.

    Methinks muzzle the owners and retrain the dogs – no offence is intended

  130. I think muzzling all dogs in public is a ridiculous idea. Whatever size of dog you have if you are in control at all times when out in public your dog shouldn’t have to wear a muzzle. I have grown up with big dogs and will always have big dogs and they will never wear muzzles unless I feel they need them ie. I am not in charge of them or they become very dominant when out in which case it could become dangerous and I would therefore insist on them being muzzled when out and about. I also think that people believe all big dogs should be muzzled as a number of them are on the dangerous dogs list but the truth of the matter is although the bigger dogs can cause more damage they generally don’t cause a problem unless they are treated badly or threatened. I think some of the smaller snappier dogs should also be on the dangerous dogs list as they can cause more damage than a bigger dog as generally bigger dogs are more laid back. I apologise in advance for anyone who reads this and becomes upset by my opinion but this is what I believe and what I hope the government will think about.

  131. I have recently launched a national Responsible Dog Owners Campaign which has support from the likes of Dr Ian Dunbar, Joe Inglis and Keep Britain Tidy.

    The aim of the campaign is to reduce dog attacks on people – and other dogs – and reduce the amount of dog fouling left in public. The main tactic is education. Ryan is right in the article: inform and prepare all owners. Look at previous Government-led campaigns. Have they worked? Obviously not; the incidence of attacks has risen in the past 10 years. We need to look at why this hasn’t worked to show dog owners and the general public alike that any dog can be dangerous.

    Please do support the campaign by visiting the website: http://www.nationaldogcampaign.co.uk and signing the Government petition. All details are confidential and solely for the authentication of the petition.

  132. What do you have to say? I dont think that muzzling is the way forward. I can see the pros for muzzling but i believe if a dog is treated correctly and with respect it will not be necessary. I do believe in responsible ownership and maybe we should bring back the dog licence.
    An owner is always responsible for the dog and if that dog shows a particular tendency for certain behaviours then its the owners responsibility to control the dog ie keeping away from certain situations known to cause the dog distress. I know this is not always possible but muzzling is NOT the answer.

  133. I totally disagree with the blanket use of the muzzle of any similar device, as has already been mentioned it send out an instant message that my dog is dangerous keep away.

    Yes it is terrible when you see on the TV that a dog has savagely attacked someone, invariably it is a child. What should be controlled is the age at which a child is allowed to take what are recorded as dangerous dogs for walk. All to often you see or hear about young adults going around with their Rottie as a status symbol, making them look hard with their piers. Surley this should be something that is acted upon.

    Dogs and Cats are all hunter and live outdoors, but us Dog owners are constantly hve legislation placed on us, when your dog has a pooh in public we have to pick it up or we stand to get fined, what about the cat owner. Admittedly there are exceptions but in general cats are free to come and go when and where they like, they pooh everywhere and the owners are not held accountable.

    It is not nice to see Dog or Cat pooh laying on the ground in public places so we should all be treated the same. Cat owners should have accountability the same as we Dog owners and lovers.

    All too often you hear that dog owners are being stigmatised, lets have a level playing field please.

    Rant over.

  134. What do you have to say? just one thing this cannot possibly work for practical reasons if no other i own pekingese dogs and they have a flat face so nothing to muzle !! not only pekes though with this problem what about pugs ,british bull dogs and japanese chins ??? also it s another burden for the responsable owner most bad owner only walk thair dogs in boiling hot sun to impress people or when they want it to bite

  135. I think it’s about time we muzzled all dogs in public because I am more concerned with a childs safety then wether the dog is unhappy or not. I’m sick and tired of dog owners excuses for not putting them on dogs and then hearing on the news that a child had been killed by a dog because the owner couldn’t be bothered to train or muzzle the dam thing. Yes there are responsible dog owners out there but then there are idiots with dogs too who don’t care about a childs safety and that is the reason it should be made law. Until everyone who owns a dog takes responsibility and not just a few of you.

    For me it’s a no brainer: Dog muzzled = Child safe

  136. i am quessing the person who wrote this does not own dogs ,,all i can say is there are many many bad humans out there that use knifes ,guns but no one wants them muzzled ,,so why on earth would we muzzle our dogs who have never bitten ,,,if i walk the street with my four dogs muzzled stupid people who assume they are nasty when they not ,,, so no i dont agrre with muzzles ,,,and good loven dog owners will do what ever it takes to make sure there dogs are safe and never feel that the dog needs to attack …

  137. also yes it is sad when a child gets attack but why dont parents try and controll the kids for a change its not always the dogs fault but its so easy to blame and kill the dog

  138. I have the same opinion with most of your points, but a few need to be discussed further, I will hold a small discussion with my partners and perhaps I will look for you some suggestion soon.

    – Rob

  139. I believe muzzling ALL dogs in public is unthinkable. Why should a gentle & sensitive dog have to have its freedom breached because of the lack of responsibility of dog ownership within a minor group of people.

    I am the owner of a 3yr old Collie X who is the most submissive gentle dog, he is fantastic off lead and is only interested in playing ball, he is submissive with other dogs allowing them to smell and say hello etc.

    We have recently had a staffy pup introduced to the family who is now 9mths old. Neutered, socialised and being taught good manners is a major part of dog ownership for all breeds. On our walks we have passed MANY people who have a fear of such breeds through irresponsible owners, i myself recently saw 2 girls walking a staffy, allowed it to run off miles ahead of them, how were they aware of who it interacted with, was it being a nuiscance, was it being aggressive? They didn’t even attempt to recall the dog, run after it, but just slowly walked on probably hoping they would catch up with in time. To me this is irresponsible ownership and if I was a dog warden patrolling them that park I would fine them on that basis.

    All dog owners should feel comfortable and enjoy walking “wherever” with their dogs. I believe something needs to be looked at as this growing problem escalates but I would be livid if “muzzling” was introduced in all public places to all dogs.

    Our staffy is also loving, boisterous, excitable etc – but needs a loving but firm owner to teach him manners, to be sociable with other dogs and learn how to interact properly. He has also been neutered at 9mths to kerb any high levely anxiety/stress of testosterone. Lets hope good owners can turn round the bad image that irresponsible owners have given staffys and such like.

  140. How ridiculous to muzzle all dogs in public by law!

    I know there are lots of cases about dangerous dogs and what has happened…
    but I think that most cases you hear in the news about dangerous dogs are they are attacking young children. What do young children do to dogs? Pull their ears and tails and make them fed up.. I haven’t heard many cases about dangerous dogs out and about…
    Really it’s not the dogs fault if you ask me, because if i make too much of a fuss of my DALMATIAN he growls and snaps at me! And dalmatians are so loveable. I’ve never known a dog who tries to attack you anywhere unless you pull it around.
    (sorry if I went a little off the topic there though, it does add a bit to the “dangerous dogs” thing, y’know?)

  141. I beleive that dog owners should be responible enough to know how to look after and also know they have have the skills needed to look after a normal dog let alone a powerful dog such as the breeds on the DDl. I beleive the owners are ultimatly accountable for there pets and if they cannot look after them in the right way they do not deserve to own one. Dogs are given there nature as a pup this is why you need to get it right from a early age with a lot of care and love. if u tease, hit or ignore your pet expect to get problems in the future. ADAM

  142. Interesting article and I do agree that muzzling all dogs is not the answer and could be detrimental to both the dog and the owner. However, better education is the key for the owners as well as the dogs.

  143. I agree with most of the article. However, I think that there should be leash laws. I am in favor of dog-friendly, leash-free areas where pups can run and play together. But loose dogs do not belong *everywhere,* if you know what I mean. My “girls” can be tricky when confronted with what they consider rude behavior by other dogs. It is one thing for me to walk them on-leash, but another thing to predict the behavior of others who subscribe to the “dogs should be free” philosophy. I feel like I avoid the leash-free dog parks for a reason, and that others should respect areas where leashes are not optional.

    Good piece, though. Lots of thought went into this. I like it. Keep up the good work.

  144. I’d be interested to se how anyone could possibly muzzle my littlest dog. He is full grown but his snout is less than an inch long as he is so tiny.
    LIke all ridiculous laws the BRitish spirit would defeat it by quiet rebellion. If all of refused to comply it would be impossible to enforce.

  145. I agree, muzzling is definitely not the answer. Owner education and training is. I have seen dogs muzzled in a daycare environment and watched the dogs demeanor change immediately. They were more likely to get in a fight.

    I also believe in leash laws. More for the safety of the dogs than anything else. I have seen the best trained dogs take off after squirrels or rabbits or some other motivating distraction. I teach my students that leashes are for safety, not control.

  146. A legal requirement to Muzzle ones’ Dogs only penalizes those that are already being considerate and probably have the best trained, socialized and cordial dogs.
    We still have the problem that MOST canine bites are coming from loose, unsupervised or familial/ in-home circumstances.

  147. Muzzling would be the abosulte worst law. It simply transfers the problem from the owner to the dog. The dog will still be aggressive and now frustrated. Most mis-behaved dog owners don’t undertand their dog or haven’t taken the time to educate themselves or thier dog. However, the one thing that people do understand is financial responsibility. If fines for dog bites were exorbitantly high, people would either work with their dog or not own one. And it is usually the people with aggressive/nuisance dogs that don’t put an effort into raising a well behaved dog. And those people should not own a dog anyway.

  148. I think muzzling all dogs in public is definitely not right. It is totally unfair on the most friendly dogs of which there are many. A lot of it depends on how they are treated. People who don’t care for their dog properly should not be allowed to own one or any pet for that matter. Some people buy dogs as presents ,especially at Christmas,this is often why there are so many abandoned when the novelty wears off.

  149. i believe that it should be the responsability of the dog owner personaly but i know that my dog theo who is only 17 month old is 100% safe without one as do many of you out there but then you get the people who havnt got a clue and dont even give a damn the ones who let thier dog poo and not pick it up the ones that are AWARE that thier dog is a liability to other dogs but still dont bother putting one on and you only find out coz its gone for your dog only for the owner to then say (( well yeh my dog tends to do that but i dont know why ))well isnt it flamin obvious to you then that you should probably wear one, then you get the dog owners who think its cruel and use a million other excuses i believe people like that should be required by law to use muzzles the vet that they use should let the relevent authority know they think that the dog is dangerous and be made to get one and wear it all time dog is out it should be inforced too by dog wardens who should be patrolling all known dog walking areas that way our young
    children and our very much loved pets arent hurt but that would never happen would it so its up to us the responsable dog owners
    to just be on our guard

    1. I think all children should be muzzled in public areas, I have heard they speak and eat! Fool! Most attacks on children happen in the home when the children and dogs are not suoervised correctly.

  150. My aunts cat was killed by a dog. I love my dogs they are good with my cat but if they see another cat they will chase it with the intent to kill it. I think a new law to muzzle dogs is a

  151. My aunts cat was killed by a dog. I love my dogs they are good with my cat however if they see another cat they will chase it with the intent to kill it. I think a new law to muzzle all dogs is a good idea i live opposite a field and i see young boys with dogs that they are not able to control which they are encouraging to behave in an aggressive manner. I often worry when i take my dogs out that they will be attacked and they have nearly been biten on a few occasions.

    I think if all dogs are muzzled they will not be able to bite each other or kill cats or attack children.

    1. Did you not read the article? I think all cats should be muzzled, do you know how many birds and small mammals are killed by cats? some are becoming endangered because in part to cat predation on them.

  152. That is unthought outand frankly silly. My cat was killed by a stupid woman driver but that desn’t mean all women drivers should be restricted does it? Of course not, we restrict the stupid ones by enforcing legal penalties.

    Of course it is cruel to muzzle dogs uneccessarily. For example my alsatian who has a snout problem and could not breath if muzzled. He’s gentle as a lamb too.

    Quite apart from that muzzles can’t be fitted to a lot of dogs. Try a tiny pomeranian and I can assure you it just won’t happen.

    Catch all restrictions are suggested purely because they are the cheapest option, cheaper than properly regulating the actual offenders, plus they satisfy the desire of the public for a knee jerk reaction to an emotive case.

    By far the majority of dogs are perfectly safe and a muzzle would be a cruel burden that is unecessary for them. What is required is correct enforcement of current regulations against actual offenders. It won’t happen though because a catch all nonsense law is cheaper to implement.

    Should muzzles become a requirement I will campaign to get every one possible who is responsible to disobey the law whilst reporting every single idiot who isn’t reposible for prosecution. Result, it won’t be tenable, as the cost would escalate. Then we’d return to prosecuting actual offenders as it would be cheaper.

    Please let’s not try to extrapolate one incident witnessed by one individual into all dogs attack cats and kill them. They don’t. Try to think beyond narrow confines of your personal experience

  153. By the way ‘Vintage’ your dogs, “if they see another cat they will chase it with the intent to kill it.”

    You recognise that and but haven’t trained your dogs not to chase cats? Why not? Think about how responsible that makes you. By the way that is rhetorical quetion I don’t need an answer just you to look to your own approach.

    Maybe a muzzle is an easier option for some dog owners than proper dog training. Punish your dog for your reluctance to be responsible.

    We have 13 dogs and every single one of them can be walked through a field of sheep, past chickens, near cats or anywhere else you care to mention without chasing the other creature. Several of them came to us untrained and willing to ‘give chase’ they were taught not to. It just takes patience and care.

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