Challenges in communicating a prevention message
Client’s perception as to whether they have a problem
The Blue Dog message is scientifically correct and well accepted by international veterinary behaviourists. All dogs have the potential to bite, and whether they do or not depends on the overall context of the situation. There are many myths associated with bites – the consideration of “dangerous breeds” suggests there are “safe breeds”. Neutering is often (wrongly) thought to prevent dogs from biting humans. Status dogs are certainly a problem in our society, but checking out the headline facts and figures shows that most bites occur in young children in the home by the family dog. It is easy to understand though why many clients do not appreciate that their family may be at risk.
At the other extreme, a client may believe there is a real risk, but feel unable to effectively protect the family. This may provoke a “fear” response as a means of coping with the situation – and the prevention message may be rejected as a result.
A balanced approach
So there are inherent difficulties about communicating a prevention message (similarly with worming!) and it is important to adopt a balanced approach. For this very reason, the Blue Dog website has been designed to give information about all the good things about having a dog in the family as well as exposing people to the prevention message.