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All Dogs need Insurance and Socialisation

In article 109, I answered a letter sent to the editor Peter Baker that came from Christine Baker. You may remember she endured nine minuets of hell when savaged by a family dog. Her injuries were so bad it meant she lost her right arm. Can you even try to imagine what that must have been like? How would you feel if it happened to you?

Such an attack was by anybody’s standard a major tragedy but certainly, no one could say it was only another accident. The signs were all there for people to see of an impending problem yet no one did anything about it. How many dogs in your area worry you or does your own dog worry you or worry other people?

Rarely does anyone contact the authorities to state their concerns because we seem to have this need we should protect defenceless animals to the detriment of humans. As much as I can say I am an animal lover, I must still put humans first in the level of importance.

Certainly, who would dispute the need for us to protect our children has to take precedence over all animals and statistically it is children who are the most likely the ones attacked. How would you feel had it been your child in this situation? Ask yourself how you would feel afterwards about the dog and its owner.

Following the publication of 109, I recived a telephone another call from Christine thanking me for the article telling me it had expressed all that she wanted to say and that she wanted all dog owners to learn from this assault.

No one can say there is any positive aspect for Christine from this incident but to her credit instead of denouncing dogs or their owners, as we would expect, she only hopes all dog owners learn from her tragedy.

She would like all owners to wake up to the potential danger and obtain dog insurance for all of them. Owners must check with their insurance companies that if they have any insurance it does cover them for any potential claim against them. If this were to happen then there would be some benefit from this violent attack. It does not help Christine in any way but it could well safeguard dog owner’s own homes.

The second point Christine mentioned was in relation to the contention that insurance companies will do everything possible to slow down or not to pay a claim at all if they can. They will often give the answer they have to have this delay in order to stop fraudulent claims. How can they say that this claim is anything but an honest claim in need of a speedy solution?

Christine is still paying payments that are part of her compensation claim but there is still no sign yet of any financial help. Lawyers and insurance companies are in an administrative paper circle where they are claiming they are still waiting for this or that.

Administration procedure seems to be taking precedence over human suffering. Must all the paperwork be correct before they will pay any money over to the victim? This is prevarication but it is only when a newspaper becomes involved making the public become aware of their uncaring attitude when they suddenly do something claiming that this was just a one off case or an oversight.

Christine says she is going to take a copy of the Costa Blanca News to her lawyers to show them the power that the press has to highlight the errors of the law, justice, and misadministration. Everyone it seems wishes to try to forget about the victim yet the death of the dog probably caused more annoyance because it was a defenceless animal paying with its life. It is not natural for a dog to act this way. It is the lack of socialisation that will often be the cause of this protective reaction in most dogs. It is not a normal reaction for such a sociable animal unless owners teach their dogs their boundaries then it will learn to protect that territory with devastating results.

Please remember a dog caused all this distress because it believed it could attack an invited person in its own home. Never ever, believe a dog when it attacks someone in its own home is only doing its job because it is not. It could have been possible to prevent such attacks as this had this dog been properly trained in socialbility. If people are not prepared to train their dogs then insurance is necessary.

I did receive an email the other day from a dog owner coming to Spain with two dogs classified as dangerous. The owner had previously asked me where they could obtain the compulsory insurance. I had written back suggesting the insurance companies that advertise here in the Costa Blanca news. This new email was to tell you how easy it was to obtain such cover even when telephoning from England. They simply gave all the details over the telephone, paid by credit card and it was all completed. I have done the same with Winston even though he is not a classified dangerous dog here in Javea.

I had a query the other day regarding puppy classes as to when can puppies start to go out to socilise following their vaccinations. Back in the United Kingdom it was the policy to have their first injections at six to eight weeks with the next ones at ten to twelve allowing the dogs to meet other dogs in the outside world two weeks after that.

The need for socialbility we always asked our vets for the fast vaccines in order the dogs could be taken out as soon as possible like at about ten or twelve weeks of age. This is the important training time.

For the puppy classes here in Spain we need to begin training them as soon as possible but when is the best and earliest time to start. We visited our vet Carmen Garcia here in Javea port to ask a number of questions. The first one related to her being authorised to issue a Certificate of Socialbility. This is the form required for any dogs in category B and C where they have shown aggression or have actually attacked or those dogs trained to attack. In order not to need the required restrictions of short lead and muzzles whilst walking in public areas vets are authorised to assess such dogs to test if they are aggressive or not.

I explained about my current articles and that Winston would be taught criminal work using the civilian method where he would only bit the protective sleeve and to retrieve it for me. If any criminal did not wear such a sleeve, he would never bit him. All he is interested in fetching the sleeve. Carmen does not know what it is I do so she looked at me and said that it was illegal to train any dog to bite people. This is my point precisely and the reason for all of these articles because many owners actually are training their dogs to bite by failing to train for sociability and they are using territorial aggression training even though this is done inadvertently.

In order to write about the procedure of registering for dangerous dogs Winston does not need to register but my criminal training would bring him into section C regarding attack dogs of the Javea law on Dangerous dogs. I told Carman I would register Winston under this section and asked how she went about her assessment so that hopefully she would find Winston is not aggressive and could qualify for the exemption certificate.

Carman showed me the form and it consists of a long questionnaire giving the vet lots of information about the owners the dog and its life history. Once this is completed, the vet then puts the dog through a series of tests to see whether there are any aggressive traits in the dog. If it passes these then the vet will issue the certificate. Carman went on to say that under the newer laws she thinks the certificate does not carry the weight that it use to and in some circumstance does not exempt the owner from not placing a muzzle on some of the dogs.

Next time I return to England, I will obtain a certificate from my local police station in York to show I am neither a criminal nor a terrorist and when I return to Spain, I will go through the whole registration procedure as well as the applying for the exemption certificate.

The second question related to the time when puppies can start venturing into the outside world to train for socialbility once they have had their vaccinations.

I was pleased to hear from Carman that the vets in Spain are very concerned about sociability and want the puppies out meeting people as soon as possible. She said that in the United Kingdom waiting until after fourteen weeks was too late. I would have to agree with this.

Vets here are of the opinion that puppies should have their first injections at six to eight weeks and are then able to be taken out with a little precaution two weeks after that as the first injections are already working.

Obviously they want you to try to keep away from dogs you do not know have been vaccinated or areas frequented by many dogs that you are uncertain about and carry your dog about in order to meet people in order to socialise.

You may think that this is not good advice compared to the vets advice you were maybe use to in the UK but here socialisation is considered more important than the slight risk of infection. Do not forget if the advice was incorrect then the vets would be getting many puppies coming back to the surgeries suffering from the killer diseases and this would show that the advice they were giving was wrong.

They are not seeing many infected puppies that have had their vaccinations so this policy works and sociability training can commence a lot sooner at a time when puppies learn the fastest. This is between eight weeks and sixteen weeks and they should then have most of the information they need to survive in the outside world.

In order to stop dog attacks dogs must be socialised in the early weeks of its life. Any dog that does begin to show aggression must have corrective training and should register as a dangerous dog. Only after such corrective training, owners can apply for a vet to issue a certificate of socialbility.

Whatever dog you own even a little dog can cause an accident so owners must insure their dogs and if everyone were to do this then Christine’s tragedy will have achieved a major benefit not just for the protection of the victims but dog owners as well.

Let's be careful out there.

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