As a kid in the ‘50s I lived in the Camden Town area of London. Now it has been regenerated and gentrified. Children and dogs would take themselves off for the day and play on the bomb sites. They would return in the evening for their tea. The dogs were invariably mongrels and today we would call them ‘street dogs’ (except they don’t exist in the so called ‘developed’ world). Behavioural problems were non existent so something has happened in the intervening years to change this. I suspect it is to do with the population explosion, overcrowding, poverty (or peoples’ expectations) and, in general, peoples’ lack of respect for each other. Of course this has impacted on dogs’ behaviour – you can only put so many rats in a cage before they start to fight!
Today’s boom in ‘breeds’ has led to a reduced gene pool and consequent health issues and, dare I say, behavioural issues. Yes, people today lead busy lives and may underestimate the time and work needed to bring up a dog successfully. Choosing the right breed plays a big part. A client of mine acquired a Welsh sheepdog from a working line and was surprised when the dog was anxious and restless during the day unable to settle in his crate. The dog was eventually returned to the farm. (NB the Welsh Sheepdog Society does not allow the sale of its registered dogs to non-working homes – this one slipped through the net).
For a lesson in dog training, observe the behaviour of a dog with a homeless owner. They are as close to the wild as ever, will follow their guardian everywhere quite happily, off lead and with no ‘misbehaviour’. They rely on their guardian for everything and he/she has assumed the role of family leader, all without any formal training. Lesson learned!