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Every dog is only as good as its owner

Saturday, 10th September, 2011

BE RESPONSIBLE: Jenny Baker and Jasper. BE RESPONSIBLE: Jenny Baker and Jasper.

By Kurtis Eichler 

A local dog trainer says it is usually the owner’s fault when their pet attacks someone.

Jenni Baker, an RSPCA Puppy Pre-school trainer, said her heart sunk every time a dog attack was in the news.

Ms Baker said she felt sorry for the victim but also for the dog.

“I think ‘that poor dog,’” she said.

“If you are going to own a powerful breed, you’ve got to be responsible.

“Some people don’t know enough about their breeds.”

Ms Baker, who owns of a 10-month-old cattle dog named Jasper, said it was important for people to know their dog and train it.

She said dog attacks, such as the pitbull attack which killed a four-year-old Melbourne girl recetnly, can be avoided.

“Pitbulls, like any breed, they can be the best dog. In dog body language, attacks generally occur from things we perceive as normal.”

She said by looking at a dog’s eyes, ears, tail and body you can tell how it is feeling.

Ms Baker said many owners focus on the tail to see if the dog is happy but “they really need to look at the entire dog.”

She also encouraged people not to punish their dog for growling.

“If you punish the growl, you only see the bite.”

Ms Baker said there was also a “lack of education” amongst some dog owners.

“I’ve worked with lots of dogs in the RSPCA in Sydney.

“Back in Sydney, you’d see quite a few dogs whose owners were unsure how to communicate with them.

“I love learning about dogs. I’m constantly reading up about them.”

She also encouraged owners to desex to their dogs and to keep them safely in their yard.

“A lot of people don’t desex their dog which makes them prone to roaming.”

Ms Baker’s RSPCA Puppy Pre-school and her adult dog classes resume in four weeks.

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