Thoughts on BBC3’s ‘Dont Blame The Dog’

Has anyone been watching this program? It’s saying that the majority of problems with dogs are caused by the owner, not the dog, and it’s the owners who need to change first. The program seems to be doing a great job so far of re-educating people into becoming more responsible dog owners, and to have respect for their dogs. 
Yes respect. We need to respect our dogs because as the program says, to humanize them is the worst thing we can do. Once we humanize them, we lose control, and dogs need control and discipline as they would get in pack family life to feel secure and happy. 

Ok, our dogs are part of our family so it may be a bit harsh to take the approach of Henry who trains dogs at his company K9 Security Solutions in South Africa for military, protection and anti-poaching. There is a huge problem with poaching African rhinos for their horns, which is worth up to £50k per kilo on the black market, more than gold, diamonds or cocaine (for more information see our previous blog Rhino Wars of Southern Africa).
Henry’s general ethics are good, being firm, consistent and using your voice to stay in control.  He takes 22 year old Holly, who doesn’t even look after her dog (her mum does everything) which is spoilt, destructive and bites, and 22 year old Mikki who seems more concerned with his image than the welfare of his dog (he refuses to use a lead as it looks ‘gay’, and worryingly is bite-training his dog – he says for defence), and changes their attitudes completely inside of a week.
They learn to listen to their dogs, treat them with firm control and take responsibility for them. They learn why it’s their behaviour that makes their dogs behave the way they do – and how this can impact on their dog’s welfare. ie If you walk a dog without a lead, it runs the risk of dashing onto a busy road and getting run over. If you bite-train a dog, and that dog then bites someone because that’s what its been taught to do, the dog will be taken away and destroyed through no fault of its own.
Holly learns that she needs to use her mental strength to ‘win’ any battle of the wills with her dog, and Mikki learns that he doesn’t need a dog to make him look macho.  

In the second episode we meet 21 year old Mishak, rapper and dog breeder, and glamour model Amy, who has absolutely no control over her Jack Russell, and has allowed it to dominate and ruin relationships with her mother and her boyfriend. 

Dont Blame the Dog BBC3

Mishak doesn’t believe in neutering or using leads, or microchipping his dogs (he has 8). He genuinely loves and cares for his dogs but is very confident in his own ‘training methods’, believes his way is best and that we can all learn from him – learn what, though? He sells his puppies to anyone off the street.
He’s already lost a 4 month old puppy who escaped from his garden and was run over on the road nearby. He was inconsolable but doesn’t believe his actions caused his puppy’s death.
In the program he learns that the dogs are in the shelter he and Amy are sent to because of over-breeding, irresponsible owners, and not being controlled and causing problems where they live. He is upset but still doesn’t believe that breeding is part of the problem, rather that people buy dogs for the wrong reasons, can’t handle them and give them up. He says he will just be more careful in future who he sells his pups too.
He is shown the dead bodies of dogs who have been brought to Melbourne’s Lost Dogs Home – they take in about 15 a month, most of whom don’t survive. All because their owners refused to use a lead or make sure their property was secure. 
He is also shown the specially built, maximum security area which houses dangerous dogs that have all bitten people or attacked/killed other animals. Their owners all thought their dogs were fine and under control. Now they are being taken to court and the dogs will more than likely be put to sleep.  
He is given a chance to take a dog training class, and after getting over initial nerves, does really well. He feels he has accomplished something and that this may be a change in career for him, away from breeding. 
Amy doesn’t use a lead either, and has no control, cannot get her dog to come back to her, and also runs the risk of her dog getting run over on the road. She believes her dog should learn not to dash out onto the road, and doesn’t want to take responsibility, she gives up to easily  when trying to discipline her dog. 
Mishak and Amy are given two puppies and have a week to get their behaviour under control and find them new homes. They learn basic skills which will help them with their dogs back home, and Amy learns to persevere! Mishak now walks his dogs on leads, is getting all his dogs microchipped, and isn’t currently breeding.

I’m looking forward to next week’s episode now,  I only hope that there are a lot of dog-owners out there who are watching it too, and taking some tips away with them. Hopefully it has opened some eyes, and more people will start to take more responsibility for their dog’s welfare.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00q6tdc/episodes/guide

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Animal Breeding vs Rehoming

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2 Responses to Thoughts on BBC3’s ‘Dont Blame The Dog’

  1. Emily Moran says:

    My mum always said that you can tell what a person is really like by the way they treat animals. Both Mikke and Mishak – despite the rude boy image they like to give off are clearly respectable young adults with hearts of gold. Mishak in particular moved me to tears with the way he treated those animals and opened up on the show. Mikke too realised that he was living in a bubble after meeting those villagers and having a reality check on life.
    Respect to both of you boys, I liked you both at the beginning of the programme and you can x that by 100% by the time the credits came up at the end.

    • Thats exactly how I felt – especially about Mishak – but they all deserve credit for how they changed their attitudes and how they’ve changed the way they interact with their dogs 🙂

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