Why Dogs Behave Badley





APWF knows that without new knowledge from research, nothing will change in relation to Pet Welfare in Australia. And beautiful animals will continue to be unnecessarily euthanazed. Sadly, with almost no grant funding available in Australia for research and education to reduce euthanasia of adoptable and treatable pets, most council pounds and shelters are not following world’s best practice for saving these animals. This is the gap that APWF aims to close.

The leading cause for dogs being euthanazed in shelters across Australia in 2012-13 was, quite simply, behavioural problems. Behavioural problems accounted for a tragic 65% of dog deaths. Sadly, these issues such as barking, digging, escaping or even fearful behaviour can all be managed with support and training. Yet, at the moment, many of these dogs are being put down. Tragically, many of them are suffering from separation anxiety, and these behaviours are because they are so fearful of being left alone.

This is why APWF is investigating anxiety in dogs and providing ways that shelters can identify and help these dogs overcome their fears. If not treated before they are rehomed, these dogs are at high risk of being returned to the shelter and being euthanazed. Heart-breaking when you think that their behaviour is not because they are naughty, but because they are simply overcome with fear of being left alone.

APWF is helping shelters identify these dogs, so they can be helped to overcome their fears before they are labelled problem dogs and euthanazed.  Then, shelters can match them with the right human companion, who can give them the right support they need to overcome their fears. It takes time and patient training for these dogs to learn not to panic when their human companion is not around. They need an understanding and patient owner who is able to work with them, not a single person who works 14 hour shifts. The Foundation’s research means that dogs won’t go to homes which will increase their anxiety and put them at risk of being relinquished again and euthanized.

There is currently no simple test for shelters to predict which dogs will have bad behaviour in a new home simply because they are so fearful of being alone.  That’s why the results of this study are so important. It will save many lives.