Should Training For All Dog Owners Be Compulsory?

By Hamish Lazari

The recent spate of dog attacks in the United Kingdom has reignited the debate about adding additional breeds to the Dangerous Dogs Act. The Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman, Chris Huhne is quoted as saying that ‘a review should look at the breed to be banned.’

What Mr Huhne like a lot of other people fails to appreciate is that adding more breeds of dog to be outlawed under the DDA will do nothing to prevent dog attacks occurring in the future.

What breeds would any review panel consider to be eligible for banning, what breed of dog living in the UK has never ever had one of its own kind bite a person either accidentally or purposely?

Would the panel see size as an issue  and only consider large dogs, what about small dogs, the ‘nippers’ and ankle biters that more than contribute to the total number of dog bites per annun in the UK.

The most popular and likely candidates may well be breeds that are associated with certain sections of society.  Is it the fault of a specific dog if it is bought by an irresponsible person who merely wants the dog for ‘street cred.’

Surely the best way to protect public safety and to be rid of unfair breed specific legislation is to look at compulsory training and insurance as a way of protecting public safety.

The National Dog Warden Association at its recent annual seminar in Birmingham presented a number of ‘thoughts’ on the use of owner training and some form of compulsory insurance, where you cannot have one without the other.

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If a dog owner was required to have some knowledge of dog behaviour, correct handling and basic training which had to be certified before one could own a dog, this may make people think about the requirements and responsibilities of owning a dog?

Responsible dog ownership could include a person looking at what it takes to achieve certification and deciding it is not for them.  Differing levels of ownership could be created up to a level for those breeds that may require specialist handling and care.

The answer to dog attacks is not outlawing more breeds but  promoting responsible dog ownership for both dog owners be it through training and promoting safety around dogs to the public at large.

The government needs to act decisively and indeed review the Dangerous Dogs Act but only to get rid of it and to look at some kind of national training scheme for dog ownership to benefit public safety.

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Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine

Jasmine Kleine is the the online editor at She is an experienced dog owner and professional writer who lives with her two beloved dogs, Mabel and Charlie.


  1. Should training for all dog owners be compulsory? YES! It’s not breeds that should be banned, it’s their irresponsible handlers. Aggressive and dangerous behaviour in dogs is a direct result of their handlers being incompetent. Too many people acquire pets with no knowledge of how to deal with them. They leave them alone all day while they’re at work, they don’t train them properly, they don’t take care of behaviour problems right away, and then the animals get blamed for their actions. It is ALWAYS the human’s responsibility to control your dog. Personally, I think people should have to get a license to have a dog, not the dog who needs licensing. It makes me sick to hear of dogs that are put down due to their handlers disregard for dealing with them properly. Any dog can be rehabilitated, so instead of killing them, they should be given to someone who can look after them properly, while their incompetent handlers should be fined, jailed and be banned from keeping animals.

  2. I agree that owners are to blame for the behaviour of their pet. We currently have four dogs and have owned ten over the years. All sorts of breeds and sizes. All with their own problems. Licenses to own a dog should be made law. But not only to own, but to breed dogs and sell them on. You should not be able to purchase a dog or other pet without the seller having a valid license. Of all our pets and livestock, the worst injury I have had came from picking up a pet rabbit, who slashed my arms as if she was carrying razor blades! Compulsory training for owners will not work. The law abiding will attend training but problem owners will not. Insurance for any pet is very expensive and also depends on the age of the pet. Insurance companies will put higher premiums to ‘at risk’ breeds, when only one or two of that breed may be a problem. I have known very placid Rottweilers and know someone with two vicious Poodles. Again, it is the way the animals are bred (problems with close breeding) and the owner that is the problem.

    How about setting a price limit on home-bred, cross-breeds? I know some people breed their dogs just for the price they get for the pups. This would remove the insentive.

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