Dog owners being urged to show some ‘Respect’
A new dog behaviour campaign is being launched with the emphasis on ‘Respect’.
The campaign, launched by Canine Behaviour Guernsey and supported by the GSPCA, hopes to create a general guide to dog owners’ etiquette, which can also work for the wider public too.
There have been a rise in anti-social dog incidents in recent years.
Respect stands for Recognise, Evaluate, Sympathise, Politeness, Educate, ‘Canines will be canines’ and Train.
Canine Behaviour Guernsey founder and owner Anna Jane Brehaut believed a lot of incidents occurred due to a lack of consideration for others.
‘A lot of incidents are caused by ignorance – people being unaware of others’ needs,’ she said.
‘We are all sharing the same spaces and we need to be considerate and courteous to all users of public space.’
The campaign follows an increase in the number of reported ‘out of control’ and anti-social dog incidents in the last year.
Police reported an increase in ‘out of control’ dogs last summer, with 52 recorded incidents in the year to August 2023.
Miss Brehaut, who has been a professional canine behaviourist and trainer for more than six years, said she wanted to do something to support dog owners and everyone else to prevent attacks, and live more harmoniously with an increased dog population.
‘A lot of people do not pay attention to who or what is around and can easily walk themselves and their dog into situations which could have been avoided if they assessed the environment a little bit better,’ she said.
‘There is a small proportion of owners who blatantly ignore the law, such as failing to keep their dog on a lead while on public playing fields or not picking up dog mess. We must also remember though that there are many, many others who are really responsible dog owners who are trying to do right by their dogs and their community. I understand these people’s frustration when others are not doing the same.’
The GSPCA estimates that the island’s dog population has grown by 20% to some 12,000 since the pandemic.
Welfare and behaviour manager Lorna Chadwick said the shelter regularly received complaints about out of control dogs.
‘It’s important that dog owners are aware of the impact of their dogs on the community and the problems that can be created if a person or animal is attacked – not only physically but mentally.
‘We are all animal lovers, but we do have to share the same recreational space and we must remember that some people are frightened of dogs, have to keep their pets on-lead due to illness or injury, or they may recognise their dogs have problems and are training their pet.
‘We just want people to be more aware of those around them and enable everyone to enjoy our outdoor space.’
For more information and detail about the Respect campaign, visit caninebehaviourguernsey.co.uk.
Recognise – Guernsey is a small island. It is heavily dog-populated and we are all sharing the same space. We need to respect everyone around us and the law.
Evaluate – Assess each and every situation. Who and what is around? Is it safe to continue?
Sympathise – Think about others and be conscious of their circumstances and feelings. Can you help them out?
Politeness – Be polite to others. Kindness goes a long way.
Educate – We can all help by learning more about how dogs behave, their body language and what it means.
Canines will be canines – Dogs are not humans and have species-specific needs. Recognise this and think about what is natural for dogs.
Train – Training any dog is imperative to keep them and others safe. A dog is a huge responsibility and you have to be prepared to invest the time and money into training.