Dog trainer Gordon Hill says dog owners need to better understand the laws around owning a dog. Photo: Andrew Board.

Dog trainer blasts ‘naïve’ owners

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A dog trainer with 20 years’ experience says dog owners need to shape up and take more control of their dog while out in public.
Gordon Hill is a registered NZQA assessor and dog trainer who has recently moved to Nelson and says he’s seen plenty of examples of poor dog handling during the past few months, leaving the possibility for dog attacks wide open.
“People have this thought that as soon as they get to a park they can let their dog off the leash and let them go,” he says. “There’s no excuse for taking a naïve attitude because the number of children who are bitten in this country is gross, absolutely gross.”
He says too many people think it’s ok to let their dog off the lead too often and often dogs aren’t getting the right training. “Some dogs get trained wrong and that’s a problem everywhere, people who aren’t qualified are training dogs. Another common problem is the puppies being taken too early from their mother. If it’s a backyard breeder they’re happy to sell a puppy quick as to get the coin. If it’s a good breeder they won’t let you have the puppy until it’s had a full eight to nine weeks with its mother.”
Nelson SPCA manager Donna Walzl agreed with Gordon’s statements, saying it causes all sorts of problems if dogs aren’t trained properly.
“It makes it really difficult actually. Some of the dog owners we see don’t take them anywhere, never considered taking them to dog training and it makes life really hard for them.”
Gordon says people need to be more aware of what the laws are and where and when they can let their dog off the leash.
“Just today there was a good example, a lady with a German Shepherd doing everything right, had her dog on a leash and there was a small dog there off the leash. Now if the little dog went over to the big dog and it bit it that lady would get blamed for having a vicious dog, but it wasn’t. It was the smaller dog off a lead that caused the trouble.”
He says some dog owners are too relaxed and that is half the problem.
“I just want everyone to be safe and a lot of what I’ve seen isn’t safe.”
• To contact Gordon phone 027 215 6156.