So said a report in the Grauniad. That was just the headline grabber; the article was about the use of statistics, more than anything else. But the dog issue is interesting. There are a few reasons that people from deprived backgrounds and areas are more likely to be attacked by dogs. First, the breeds of dogs: fashionable amongst the masses at the moment are bull terriers. However nice Fifi is, she’s still a bull terrier. Just like our Toby, a greyhound: he’s a lovely hound, but he’ll eat your cat. He can’t help it, and there’s no training him out of it. Bull terriers have been bred for fighting and for cramping their powerful jaws over nice soft throats. Good training, from puppyhood (we only got Toby in adulthood, and you can’t teach an old dog…), and a happy home will probably mean that these jaws are kept to munching Winalot or teddy bears. But, second point, a lot of people – from whatever class/ background – don’t realise the amount of training that dogs need, and don’t realise that training’s often needed for the human as well as the dog. If you’re inconsistent at all, the dog will notice; if you don’t mean what you say, the dog will notice. You have to be alpha pack leader: that’s hard to pull off if you by nature are not, and most people are not: humans are pack animals too, and it stands to reason that more people will be led rather than lead. I have seen many people who are not in control of their dog, and there are times when I have not been in control of mine: entirely to do with me, and not the dog.
Thirdly, dogs need time and not to be left alone for huge periods of it. If you have to work and leave your dog home alone for hours, of course it’s going to have a negative effect on the dog. Fourthly, working breeds, such as terriers, need a lot of exercise – much more than a quick walk round the housing estate (they also need good food, not Bakers or Butchers or other similar crap; but this is expensive). Lastly, violence has a lot to do with things. Not necessarily physical or extreme violence, but the lack of quietness and contentment that accompanies lives full of scarcity. Households where shouting is the norm will not produce placid dogs.
Dogs are not playthings or toys: they are intelligent, working creatures. Badly behaved dogs are not a preserve of any class.