This little American Staffordshire Bull Terrier is a killer. Well, according to the Belgian papers he is after an Amstaff attacked a 4 year old little girl the other day. So if you own one of these dogs you are embroiled in a hot social and political issue. ( More about that some other time ). Your dog is dangerous, your dog kills and whatever your dog does is wrong. Yes, maybe if he falls in the wrong hands. But should we not ask ourselves what goes wrong when a child or an adult for that matter is seriously attacked by a dog. Any dog. Recently I was asked to speak to a class of 10 year olds about dogs and how to train them. I answered their questions about granny's dog biting people's ankles, about auntie's dog yapping and whining all the time, about their neighbour's dog who chases joggers, about a friend's dog who pulls on the lead so much so that he nearly pulled off someone's arm, how one of them was frightened because he had been bitten, about little anecdotes about dogs they knew and so on. I had a great time and at the end of the class, I gave them my ten golden rules and asked them to think about them and show them to their parents.
Here is what the dog has to say to the child:
1. Do NOT pull my ears or my tail and do not poke your fingers in my mouth.
2. Do NOT wake me up or come up to me to play when I am asleep or when I am eating.
3. Do NOT disturb me when I am in my basket or on my cushion or on my blanket.
4. Do NOT take my food away from me when I am eating.
5. Do NOT bring your face too close to mine.
6. Do NOT interfere if I am ever involved in a fight with another dog.
7. Never run towards me.
8. Never touch a dog you do not know. Always ask the owner of the dog if you can stroke his dog. If he says yes, gently show the dog the back of your hand so that he can smell you.
9. Never threaten me by playing with dangerous objects like sticks or by making violent gestures or by shrieking.
10. Treat me like a dog because I am not a four-legged human and definitely not a cuddly toy. Speak to me in a gentle, sweet voice. I will always love you and I will never hurt you.