The period of pandemic, from 2020 to 2021, saw 3.2 million UK households acquire a pet~. And while getting a new pet during periods of lockdown presented various issues for pet owners, lack of socialisation was one of the more serious.
With this key time in a pet’s life affected, animal behaviourists continue to report an increase in owners reaching out for help.
Agria Pet Insurance works closely with animal behaviourists and vets, and with behavioural therapy covered within their lifetime policies (up to specified limits*), the specialist insurer sees changes and trends as they happen.
Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Sophie White, shares the top five behavioural issues that dog owners are bringing to her for advice, and suggests,
“If your dog is showing any of the following symptoms, seek veterinary advice first to ensure there’s no physical reason for the behaviour, then seek always professional behavioural advice.”
- Aggressive behaviour towards other dogs. This may be for a variety of reasons including fear and frustration. Keep your dog on lead around other dogs, and ensure there’s enough distance for them to remain calm.
- Separation-related issues. This can happen when your dog is left home alone, closed in another room, or when certain people are not present. Try gathering video footage when they are left and minimise the time they are alone, but do not restrict affection or attention when present.
- Aggressive behaviour towards unfamiliar people. This may occur at home, or in public. It can happen due to fear, territorial behaviour or other emotional triggers. Do not allow your dog access to any unknown people. Keep them on lead in public, away from the front door, and away from visitors.
- Fear-based behaviours with no aggression. These may be fears of people, dogs, traffic noises etc. Do not force your dog to ‘face their fears’. Avoid the things that worry them as much as possible. Reassure them when scared.
- Aggressive behaviour towards familiar people. This may be towards family or regular guests. It may occur due to a variety of reasons, commonly fear or ‘resource related’ aggression. Give your dog their own space and provide all food, chews etc. in here. Do not approach them when they are resting or eating.
“The sooner we intervene with these common issues, the better. But even if these problems have been going on for years, we can still help. The key thing is to understand why the dog feels the need to show the behaviour, what are the emotions and motivations? With his information we can then create a plan to modify and manage these which will in turn change the behaviours being displayed.”
For further information and ideas of how to tackle such issues, Agria’s Behaviour Hub is full of tips and advice, at: agriapet.co.uk/behaviour
Lifetime pet insurance from Agria provides up to £12,500 cover each and every year, including cover for behavioural issues identified by a vet.
For more information about protecting your pet with Agria Pet Insurance please visit agriapet.co.uk
*Ts and Cs apply, see agriapet.co.uk/dog-policy for full details.