Dog ownership is more than a style accessory

Claire Staines dog trainer with Ruby
Claire Staines dog trainer with Ruby

Having a dog - as the old advert said, is for life, and with that ownership comes a certain level of responsibility towards it’s training and care.

Recently the Journal and Gazette has written about a number of incidents involving dogs which were not under control.

However, that’s about to change if one local Linlithgow woman gets her way.

Claire Staines, who recently spoke at a Scottish Government debate on the banning of shock collars, certainly knows her stuff when it comes to dogs.

She has extensive experience as a dog trainer and behavioural consultant, is a member of the Institute of Modern Dog Trainers as well as a member of the Pet Professional Guild, two of the UK’s leading dog welfare and training organisations.

Now Claire has been asked to become a founder and steering group member of the Pet Professional Guild’s new Scottish branch - a huge accolade and testament to her extensive level of experience.

Claire is concerned, given recent events where dogs have been found worrying livestock, that some owners do not subscribe to the belief that dogs, no matter how well trained, have the instinctive behaviour to chase.

As for preventing livestock attacks, Claire says: “Have a reliable recall, don’t let your dog wander out of sight and when you are near areas with livestock pop a leash on your dog to be safe, even the best trained dog can make an error in judgement.

‘‘When in direct contact with livestock slow your pace down so as not to startle animals.

“You can condition your dog to livestock using training but if they don’t belong to you then leash up for added safety and to prevent any unnecessary incidents ocurring.’’

Claire’s next task is to try and secure a complete ban on electric shock collars in Scotland following in the footsteps of the Welsh Parliament which made their use an offence in 2010.