Pandemic puppy owners still struggling with their dogs’ behaviour, new research reveals.
The research by the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reveals that out of more than 1,000 UK dog owners, 97% reported their dog had at least one problem behaviour from a list of 24, while on average owners reported five problems.
The most common problem was pulling on the lead – reported by about two-thirds of respondents – with jumping up and poor recall in second and third place, respectively.
Overall, control problems were the most common type of trouble, reported by 84% of respondents. However, 25% reported their dog had aggressive behaviours.
In addition, the research reveals that while 96% of owners used positive reinforcement to train their dog, 82% used one or more punishment-based methods such as choke chains, shouting or pushing.
The latest results are part of a project by the RVC that follows a group of dogs bought as young puppies in 2020, during the pandemic.
Dr Rowena Packer, a lecturer in companion animal behaviour and welfare science at the RVC and lead author of the study, said: “I think a lot of new owners go in with very high hopes [of] their dog’s behaviour and then when they realise actually training is quite tough, that’s where a third of them were really struggling.”
She added: “Dogs don’t come off the shelf ready to know how to spend a day walking around on a lead meeting other dogs, going into social spaces with other people – all these things need to be taught.”