Experts issue warning over 'impending dog behaviour crisis' caused by lockdown
26 August 2020, 15:10
Dog owners are being urged to act now in order to stop problem behaviours developing.
Experts at Dogs Trust are bracing themselves for a rise in pet abandonments after research revealed the real effects of lockdown on our canine friends.
While lockdown has been tough for many of us across the UK, it's also proved a difficult change for our dogs as they also get used to a new routine.
New research released this week by Dogs Trust found that 1 in 4 owners in the East of England say their dog has developed at least one new problem behaviour during lockdown.
In the area, they also found there had been a 161 per cent increase in reports of dogs whining or barking when a member of their household was busy.
There has been a 22 per cent increase in reports of dogs seeking attention from their owners, and a 75 per cent rise in dog owners saying their pet has "hidden" or "moved away" when approached.
The results also found a 45 per cent increase in reports of dogs being clingy or following their owners around the house.
Dogs Trust also found that Google searches for 'dog bark' had increased by 48 per cent since lockdown started, while the search 'dog bite' had increased by 40 per cent.
The charity are concerned about a rise in dog abandonments following the research results, especially if these behavioural problems are not identified and treated early on.
Rachel Casey, Director of Canine Behaviour and Research at Dogs Trust, said on the results of the study: “These are challenging times as millions of us across the country have had our daily lives turned upside down.
"Whilst some dogs have been happy to have their human family at home more, others have been stressed by reduced exercise, inability to find a quiet place to rest or no contact with other dogs. Our research shows some early warning signs that lockdown is having a negative impact on some dogs’ behaviour."
She continued: “A big worry for us is what the long-term impact of lockdown will have on dogs’ ability to cope when left home alone. Dogs that had separation anxiety before the lockdown are likely to get worse when left again as owners head back to work – but we also expect to see new cases developing, because other dogs, and particularly puppies, have learnt to expect company all day. We could well see a rise in the number of dogs needing our help or being abandoned because of this.
“Together, with the support of the public, we can change the tale. It is much easier to prevent problems that treat them, and we would urge people to visit our website or Dog School videos on YouTube for advice and support to help prevent these problem behaviours from developing.
“We understand that some may not be able to cope with dogs that have developed problem behaviours and will offer support to those who need to hand over a dog, for whatever reason. Please get in touch with us and our rehoming teams will do whatever they can to help.”
For more information about preventing and managing dog behavioural issues, visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/changethetale.