Good start key to happy dog: expert

ON average, one in 913 dogs in Orange attacks a person every three months, according to quarterly data from the NSW Division of Local Government. 

Yet in Bathurst no people were reported to have been attacked by a dog in the same period, however, there were three dog attacks involving other animals. 

The figures reveal little has changed in Orange when it comes to dog attacks in the past 12 months.

Between April and June 2013 there were 16 attacks in the Orange local government area, compared to 17 attacks from January to March and nine attacks between October and  December  2012.

Internationally-accredited dog trainer and owner of The Dog Lady training school Debi Coleman said it was a shame to see the figures so high, compared to Bathurst, but there were steps owners could take to ensure their dog did not become a statistic. 

She said the first 24 weeks of a dog’s life were the most important when it came to getting the dog used to people, other animals and situations that may cause a dog to become scared.

“Most dogs will attack out of fear,” she said.

While these first weeks of a dog’s life are crucial, Mrs Coleman says there is help available for people wanting to rescue an older dog from a shelter. 

“A lot of people just don’t know where to start,” she said. 

The highest number of attacks occurred in the Gosford local government area where there were 79 attacks, but there were 43,509 microchipped dogs, which gave the city a rate of one attack for every 550 dogs. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com au

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