Port Phillip Council officers have taken part in a dangerous dog management workshop hosted by the Council recently.
There have been 129 reported dog attacks so far this year in the Port Phillip municipality.
Port Phillip Animal Management and City Amenity officers and representatives from Bayside, Melbourne, Glen Eira, Whitehorse and Yarra Ranges Councils refreshed their dog handling skills under the expert guidance of Dog Force Australia instructors including Scooby, a superbly trained Belgian Malinois.
Port Phillip Animal Management Officer, Elle said it was crucial for officers dealing with dogs to stay alert and up to date with handling skills.
“It was great training together as we also built working relationships and swapped stories, ideas and experiences,” she said.
“The feedback was that it was a really awesome experience and we are looking at hosting other training events.”
Officers chosen to demonstrate their dog whispering skills suited up in padded protective gear.
“When Scooby was told to attack me on command, you could feel the pressure of the bite through the padding but there was no pain. I have never been attacked on the job, my skills to avoid this have worked so far. But this training gave me a lot of insight into the force of a dog’s jaws and their strength. Scooby chased me and hit my shoulder but I managed to stay upright.”
The theory and practical work included:
– types of dog aggression that officers may be faced with in the community
– risk assessment / management for various scenarios
– handling techniques
– dog body language.
Elle said many attacks happen when dogs should have been on-leash. Signs that a dog may be feeling tense or aggressive can include snarling, teeth baring, lunging and raised ears and hackles.
“There’s so much to assess when approaching a dog. I scan the whole area to see how best to approach it. Some dogs just aren’t social, it’s not their fault,” she said.
“At the end of the day, it’s about keeping us and the dog safe. We want them to be as happy as possible.”
Port Phillip officers are currently working on a dog attack reporting kit with tips on how to report or avoid a dog attack.