I became interested in research about dogs because of my close connection with my first pet Pantro, a friendly and energetic cocker spaniel. Pantro was the perfect fit for me, for being great company for long walks while also being calm and independent when left alone. However, his behavioural issues were challenging on several occasions.
I have spent over a decade researching the unique connection that dog owners have with our beloved pets. As a researcher in the human-animal interactions field, I studied how other pet owners dealt with both positive and challenging dog behaviours.
Dog ownership has several benefits for people’s psychological and physical health. However, relationships with dogs are complex and can involve some conflicts. Undesired dog behaviours such as aggression and barking are the leading reason people give up their dogs.
Behavioural issues in dogs can cause distress by requiring extra time for training, issues when exercising the pet and limitations related to where to go with the dog and increased stress.
More studies are needed to understand how to prevent the deterioration of the relationship shared with the dog when owners face undesired dog behaviours.
As a part of my PhD studies and alongside the researchers Christine Tardif-Williams, Shannon Moore and Patricia Pendry, I conducted three studies between 2018…