Local council plans to deal with menacing dogs will do little to solve the problem and actively encourages bad dog owners, while punishing good dog owners, says local expert Nita Maaka.

Tauranga Council City Council and Western Bay of Plenty Council recently announced they were to offer an amnesty for owners of menacing dogs by giving them free neutering and microchipping, in addition to a subsidised muzzle and registration.

While this may seem like a good idea in theory, these owners will still have no idea how to rear a dog or change any behavior of their dogs, and this does nothing to stop owners having more menacing dogs in the future.

Nita said: “All dogs can be menacing, not just certain breeds. In fact out of all the dogs we have done training with, there has actually only been a couple of dogs that I would call menacing, the rest really just had status and boundary issues.”

All dog owners must pay for registration of their dogs annually, and the perception amongst many is that if you are a good dog owner, then you are effectively paying for the bad dogs owners. Nita added: “Well this I feel is true, as a good dog owner you don’t get anything for your money. Even if you have been a good dog owner all your life and had no dog issues you don’t get a discount – you are expected to pay the same as those that suck up the resources. And 9 times out of ten, the culprits who do not look after their dogs, don’t usually pay for registration anyway.”

As a better solution, Nita suggests the council could create a licensing system that is funded by the local government and local council dog registration fees. Every dog owner has to hold a license, the license system is an opportunity for dog owners to learn about dogs and their behavior. Just like when you are learning to drive, there are some basics that can save a lot of heartache, because a lot of people do not know how to rear dogs, or how to pro-actively train them into their family lifestyle. A lot of the problems people have is with all breeds, not just so called “menacing breeds”.

While the idea of taking extra tests may not sound all that enticing to some, it would actually be mostly for the dog owner’s benefit, as having a well-trained dog can have a huge positive impact on their life compared to one which hasn’t had any training.

Nita said: “Changing the owners education is always going to be the best result. Council’s promoting responsible dog ownership should go hand in hand with education. Educating the dog owners of today and in the future is important and should be on the top of the list. For instance most people would not know how dogs relate to humans as their pack, and how the family structure works to create a balanced dog as part of the family. Most people just think dogs know how to fit in and what to do, this is clearly not the case at all.”

People are very quick to blame dogs for bad or menacing behavior – but dogs are not born this way, they are reared this way. What the local councils and central government is doing may be a start, but much more can be done to dissolve the problems in the long term. Educate the problem out of society.

Nita Maaka owns two businesses, Raw Pawz which provides raw pet food and Mahu Oils which offers natural health products for pets. Nita and her staff like to give back to responsible dog owners, so every year in June her businesses gift free dog registrations to six of their clients, enter just by purchasing on either website in June or by posting your dogs photos on their Facebook pages: Raw Pawz Facebook / Mahu Oils Facebook. Visit either website for more information.

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