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Posted: 29th May 2024

Most common reasons for calling dog behaviour helpline revealed
The data is taken from 8,485 calls made to the support line between 1 April 2023 and 31 April 2024.
Charity urges owners to seek expert advice.

Dogs Trust has revealed the most common behavioural issues faced by dog owners calling the charity’s Behaviour Support Line.

According to the newly released data, reactivity to dogs and people are the most common problems, mentioned in 30 per cent and 27 per cent of calls respectively. They are followed by behaviour related to separation anxiety, which was mentioned in 23 per cent of calls.

The Behaviour Support Line was launched by Dogs Trust in 2022, following feedback gathered in the charity’s annual National Dog Survey.

In recent years, the survey has revealed that some owners are attempting to improve their dogs behaviour with techniques that could be making it worse. Many of these are based on misguided ideas about showing the dog who is the ‘pack leader’, says the charity.

Among the methods owners said they were using were: pinning dogs to the floor on their back and growling or shouting; smacking them on the nose; and squeezing dogs’ ears to imitate bites.

Katy Errock, behaviour support line manager at Dogs Trust, said: “Problem behaviours such as reactivity and separation anxiety can affect the wellbeing of both dogs and their owners alike, and the results of our National Dog Survey show that some owners could be making the situation worse by using negative training techniques in their bid to resolve the issues.  

“It’s vital that owners seek expert advice as early as possible if they are struggling with any element of their dog’s behaviour.”

This year’s National Dog Survey is open until 14 June 2024 and the charity is keen to hear from dog owners. Last year, nearly a quarter of a million people completed the survey.

Ms Errock added: “We want to hear from dog owners from across the UK so we can continue to provide the services that they need. The insights gained from this year’s National Dog Survey will ensure Dogs Trust can continue to adapt the way we support dogs and their owners, helping them to live the best lives possible together.” 

Dog owners wishing to take part in the National Dog Survey can access it here.

Image © Shutterstock

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