DOGS are being handed into animal shelters with behavioural problems because owners are letting them get bored.
Dogs Trust figures show we spend £1400 a year on our pets – £360 on grooming, £420 on food, £360 on insurance, £144 on treatment for worms and fleas, £40 on vaccinations, £100 on toys, £210 on boarding, £20 on collars, leads and bedding and £75 on insurance policy excess.
But dog trainer Dominic Hodgson says the key to having a happy dog is being the most exciting person in their world – as much fun as another dog.
He explained: “It’s heartbreaking that thousands of dogs are handed in to shelters and even put to sleep and this could be avoided by their owners simply understanding they need attention and stimulation.
“By making walks fun which is as simple as taking out a tennis ball, a toy, even a smelly old sock, you can bond with your dog and take away the stress of them being badly behaved through boredom.”
A study of 400 dogs by researchers at Bristol University found a lack of play can cause up to 22 different behavioural issues including anxiety, aggression, pulling on the lead, whining, and not coming when called.
Thousands of people get dogs and puppies for Christmas and each January, shelters have to deal with an influx of pets being handed in.
Dominic says this is because many owners get overwhelmed while trying to follow complicated advice on dog psychology and behaviour and give up.
He’s written a book, Worry Free Walks, explaining how to build a relationship with your dog to take the stress away for owners.
Dominic, 40, from Sunderland explained: “The reason dogs behave better with walkers and trainers is because they work harder to get their attention.
“Start by playing with their toys and encourage them to focus on you in the house or garden where there’s little distraction. Find something they really enjoy doing.
“Each time you go on a walk, take a bag with their favourite toys and tasty treats and play with them. Don’t be embarrassed by having fun and give them lots of encouragement.
“The more you do this, the more your dog will see you with the same level of enthusiasm as they would another dog rather than their boring owner they want to run away from.”
To find out more tips on socialising your dog, visit mydogssuperhero.com
This story appeared in the Sunday People and Mirror Online for consultancy client Dominic and you can read it here www.mirror.co.uk
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