Column: Love Your Dog, with Lynne Marshall, a dog behaviourist and trainer from Nether Broughton

Dog trainer and behaviourist Lynne Marshall with Goldendoodle Teddy  and Labradoodle Bonnie EMN-150515-091542001
Dog trainer and behaviourist Lynne Marshall with Goldendoodle Teddy and Labradoodle Bonnie EMN-150515-091542001

How sad to hear about little Billy who nearly lost his eye when he was attacked by a dog recently. There have been a couple of other incidents in Melton this month so I thought it may help to talk about dog aggression, what causes it and how you can help both your dog and others.

The main causes of dog aggression:

* A dog that is not socialised properly during the first six months of its life may never learn the social skills it needs to interact with other dogs;

* A dog may have been attacked and become fearful of dogs in general. They learn that if they bark the other dog runs away;

* If good leadership skills are not employed, a dog may start to protect its owner;

* These reactive dogs may fight - you will hear a lot of barking, growling and noise but it’s rare to get serious damage;

* Then, there is the truly aggressive dog that seeks out other dogs as prey. Usually silent, you will hear no noise and this dog will fix on another and run in fast and quiet with the aim to do damage. This dog is dangerous. Fortunately, these dogs are few are far between.

A few ideas to keep your dog safe:

* If you see a dog on a lead, do not let your dog run up to it. Your dog may be friendly but the other person may be trying to exercise their dog responsibly;

* Watch out for the Yellow Dog bandanas or jackets saying ‘My Dog Needs Space’. If your dog does, then it’s a great idea to get one. www.yellowdog.co.uk;

* Take out a pop open umbrella and use it to shield your dog if you have to;

* Don’t be embarrassed if your dog needs to wear a muzzle. They may not look pretty but it can give you confidence that your dog is not a risk.

If you are worried about your dog, whether it is reactive or aggressive you can get help. Speak to either your vet or a behaviourist and let’s keep our dogs safe and happy.

** If you have a question for Lynne email lynnemarshall@love yourdog.org.uk or contact her via her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/loveyourdog1