Rescue dogs reunited for National Siblings Day

To celebrate National Siblings Day (10 April), a litter of former Battersea dogs took part in a virtual reunion to catch up on all the latest news.

For the past year, many of us have been unable to meet up with family members and turned to Zoom to keep in touch. It turns out that canine families are no exception.

In 2017 a heavily pregnant stray Dalmatian was taken to Battersea’s Old Windsor centre where she gave birth to a staggering 11 puppies – many of whom looked more like Spaniels than their mother.

Four years later, five of the crossbreed siblings, Logan, Lola, Jet, Oscar an Skye came face to face for the first time, albeit virtually.

Caroline Sales, Battersea Team Leader and proud owner of Jet, said: “At Battersea we always love receiving updates from owners, but chatting to owners live over a group call made this extra special, not to mention a little chaotic. While the dogs may not have fully understood what was going on, it was lovely to see so many members of Jet’s four-legged family and share stories with their owners. Hopefully it won’t be long until we can meet in person, perhaps one day reuniting the whole litter.”

During the online reunion, some of the littermates were joined by their human brothers and sisters to celebrate the day dedicated to siblings – all of whom were keen to sing their pets’ praises for “always playing games with them” or “giving them cuddles”.

While the family resemblance wasn’t always evident – particularly with Logan, who looks less like a Spaniel than his brothers and sisters – the owners were all pleasantly surprised by just how similar the dogs’ personalities were even after so long apart.

The owners also shared their reasons for choosing to give their rescue pups a home when they did, with Lola’s owners Helen and Peter Graham explaining that they have always adopted rescue dogs because “there’s something special about them, they’re incredibly loyal” while Donna Phillimore, owner of Oscar, talked about losing her previous dog, and the timing of deciding she and her husband Glen were ready for a new pet to love coinciding with Oscar being ready to go to a loving home, describing it as “a great new chapter”.

Battersea is here for every dog and cat, even long after they have left the charity’s care and gone to new homes. Battersea believes that all dogs and cats are special, no matter their size, shape or, in this canine family’s case, mysterious mix of breeds.

To find out why rescue animals make the best pets, visit the Battersea website, or join the rescue movement by using #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed.

 

 

 

 

 

Gemma Atkinson teams up with Hill’s to help feed rescue dogs and cats

Actress and radio presenter Gemma Atkinson is calling on Brits to show their support for shelter pets, as Hill’s Pet Nutrition launches a nationwide campaign today.

As the pandemic reaches the one-year mark, animal shelters up and down the country are facing unprecedented cuts and Hill’s new campaign offers support to homeless pets in desperate need due to Covid-19.

With a growing number of pets reportedly being given up or abandoned and fundraising events postponed due to the crisis, rescue shelters are at capacity and struggling to keep the animals they look after fed and cared for.

Gemma, owners of Spaniel and Sproodle Ollie and Norman and President of The Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, is asking pet parents and vet professionals alike to share pictures of their furry friends using #MissionForeverFriend across Instagram and Facebook.

For every post, Hill’s will donate a bowl of food to a local shelter throughout the month of April, providing up to 14,000 meals in the UK, and up to 100,000 meals across participating countries.

Gemma commented: “Whilst the country has been in and out of lockdown the past year, shelters across the country have been working tirelessly to help the lives of the many animals in their care. Sadly, just like all businesses and industries they have suffered hardship due to the pandemic and are in desperate need of support right now.

“My dogs are a huge part of our family and I’m a massive advocate for animal welfare and successfully rescued pets. By supporting #MissionForeverFriend, animal lovers can show their support for local shelters and give animals in need the second chance they deserve. Hill’s believes that all pets deserve the best care humanly possible, and that the right nutrition has the ability to not only transform lives physically but make shelter pets adoption-ready while they wait for their forever homes.”

Hill’s Pet Nutrition UK and Ireland is proud to be partnering with Raystead Centre for Animal Welfare and Wood Green – The Animal’s Charity. Both charities aim to provide forever homes for shelter pets and offer support and advice for pet owners.

Michael Unsworth, Hill’s Vet Affairs Manager, UK & Republic of Ireland added: “#MissionForeverFriend is an extension of our 365 day-a-year commitment to helping shelter pets, but it’s never been more important to help animals in need than right now. Centres are at capacity with many people experiencing ‘buyer’s remorse’ or sadly suffering financial or health woes due to the pandemic. Just like all vet professionals up and down the country, the staff and volunteers at these shelters have worked round the clock to feed them and keep a roof over their heads, but there’s only so much they can do with funding and rehoming all on hold. This movement will provide much-needed nutrition to thousands of innocent animals and we’re thrilled that Gemma is lending her support to help the cause.”

To learn more about #MissionForeverFriend and find ways you can help shelter pets find their forever homes, visit www.HillsPet.co.uk/shelter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deaf sheepdog learns sign language to continue rounding up livestock

A collie who ended up in rescue when she lost her hearing and could not longer work has learned sign language so she can continue rounding up livestock.

Eight-year-old working collie Peggy was signed over to the RSPCA in December 2018 when her previous owners could no longer keep her.

She was taken in by RSPCA Mid Norfolk & North Suffolk branch and, as it was just before Christmas, animal welfare manager Chloe Shorten took her home to foster until they could find her a space in kennels.

Chloe, from Norfolk, said: “We decided she could stay with is temporarily while we found somewhere more permanent to take her in but completely fell in love with her almost immediately and it soon became clear that she wouldn’t be going anywhere. She fitted in perfectly at our mad house, came everywhere with us and fitted in with my husband’s job – as a shepherd.”

Peggy was a bright and efficient sheepdog but as she’d loft her hearing, she’d lost her communication skills with her handler. But that wouldn’t stop Chloe from helping Peggy get back to the job she loved.

Chloe said: “We knew Peggy wanted to be working so we started the long process of teaching her how to herd and work with a shepherd without relying on voice commands.

“We started by teaching her to look at us for hand signals. We used repetitive and positive reinforcement and instead of pairing a verbal command with an action we’d use a physical hand gesture. She reads our hand signals and body language as a way of telling what we’re asking for. For example, thumbs up means ‘good girl’.”

The couple trained Peggy with a sheepdog trainer’s help in a safe and secure environment and their other two working sheepdogs – Sid and Nora – helped too.

Chloe added: “While Peggy is generally retired, she goes out to work with my husband, Jason, from time-to-time and she absolutely loves it. She’s still learning new things and improving all the time. The main thing for us was being able to tell her that she’s a good girl and reassure her she is going to be okay. It took her a while to learn that we loved her and to gain her trust but it’s been so rewarding knowing that she now understands our praise.

“Now she’s learned to demand fuss by tapping and nudging you on the arm or leg, sometimes she really hits you hard and you feel like you’ve been punched! She absolutely loves running around like a nutter so we have a GPS tracker on her collar just in case we get separated and she couldn’t see us, as she can’t hear us calling her.  But it’s amazing to see her with this new lease of life and enjoying her life with us. She’s proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks; and is a wonderful example of the capability of a dog, even if they do lose a sense.”

 

 

How to protect your pets in the garden

With Spring brings the promise of warmer and longer days, and pet owners across the UK are looking forward to making the most of the season by relaxing in the garden with their four-legged friends.

But while we may love spending time outdoors with our pets, many of us fail to consider the threats that are present in our own back garden.

Gardening experts from The Greenhouse People are on hand to give their top tips for protecting your pets in your garden.

Gated off

A sturdy fence is no longer just to prevent your furry friend from getting out but is now essential for keeping unwanted guests from coming in.

It’s estimated that there has been a 250% increase in dognapping since the pandemic inflated puppy prices, while The Kennel Club reports that a shocking 52% of dogs are stolen from gardens, making it the most likely place a pet will be stolen from.

Ensure your garden is as secure as possible by checking all garden gates are locked and defensive shrubbery is tactically planted around your fence line to prevent intruders from climbing over.

Tech-savvy pet owners may also want to consider investing in extra deterrents such as motion sensor security lights, CCTV and alarm systems.

With all these measures in place, it is still recommended that you adhere to the RSPCA’s advice that you never leave your dog unsupervised while in the garden or at least keep them in view.

Protective planting

Now Spring has arrived, we’re sure to see plants blossoming in our gardens.

Though pleasing on the eye, the fresh colours and smells can be very attractive to pets, enticing them to feast. This may be dangerous, or even fatal, should that plant be poisonous.

A few plants you may not know are poisonous to your pets are…

Tulips – The colourful bloom of tulips are the perfect accent for Spring but avoid keeping them in reach of pets as these plants are toxic to both dogs and cats. On rare occasions, tulip poisoning has also been known to cause heart failure in dogs.

Azaleas – A part of the rhododendron family, Azaleas are considered highly toxic and could cause death in cats and dogs. A vet should be called immediately if these are believed to have been ingested.

Daffodils – Nothing says Spring quite like the sunny-faced Daffodil. However, these friendly flowers are actually poisonous, with the majority of their toxicity stored in their bulb. While low in toxicity, they can still cause upset stomachs and vomiting in cats and dogs.

Spring clean

Much to the dismay of their owners, many dogs will eat their own poo and other animal faeces.

However, this is a very dangerous habit for your dog. It should be quickly discouraged and prevented by regularly removing animal droppings from you garden.

Animal poo can host a variety of diseases and parasites. One of the deadliest for dogs is parvovirus which is highly contagious and often fatal in dogs who are unvaccinated.

Cat stool also poses a very serious threat to both humans and other cats alike and should never be left to fester in the garden.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii which infected cats can pass on to humans through their faeces.

Although in most people it will only cause flu-like symptoms, it can have more severe effects on those with weakened immune systems, such as children or pregnant women.

In the know

You may not know what toxins are in your gardening products, particularly if it is not labelled as unsuitable for pet owners.

Fertilisers, lawn feed and weed killers can all be hazardous to pets, so be careful when using these products.

Many gardeners love to use cocoa mulch for its natural weed prevention – not to mention its chocolatey aroma. However, pets can be poisoned by all products made from cocoa beans. This could even be fatal if large quantities are ingested.

Pet-loving gardeners should be cautious to avoid products that could be harmful and should always strive to use pet-friendly alternatives.

 

Travel tips for UK staycations with ‘lockdown cats and dogs’

As we begin to ease out of lockdown, UK travel will be permitted for England residents from 12 April 2021.

Many more families are expected to holiday at home this year – with major restrictions on foreign travel expected to remain in place for some time to come – and as 3.2 million households added a new pet to their family during lockdown for many, this could their first experience of staycationing with their furry-friend.

RSPCA pet welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “Lots of families took on a new pet during lockdown and may now be planning their first getaway since the pandemic first hit last March. It’s really important that they take into consideration what they’re going to do with their pet when they go away.

“If you’re planning to leave your pet at home then it’s important to start planning right away; will your pet be taken care of by a friend or relative, or will they be going into boarding? Arrange a visit before going away to check you’re happy with the facilities they have or to go through how you’d like your pet cared for and, if possible, whether boarding or with friends, book your pet in for a short overnight stay to get them used to the experience; especially if they’ve never been away from you before.

“If you’re planning to take your pet away with you then it’s important to consider whether your dog will be happy in a new setting or whether it might be a bit overwhelming for them. It’s been tricky for owners who have taken on puppies during lockdown to provide them with many experiences due to Government restrictions so going away on holiday may be difficult for some. If you feel your dog will enjoy a getaway and be relaxed and calm throughout then plan ahead and ensure your accommodation and the places you wish to visit during your stay are dog-friendly and remember to take the weather into consideration when planning your activities.”

What to consider before taking your pooch on your hols:

  • Consider your individual dog and his personality; does he find new experiences stressful or, if bought during lockdown, have you struggled to provide lots of new experiences due to the restrictions? Consider whether going on holiday may be frightening or overwhelming for him?
  • Speak to your vet before deciding to take your dog on an action-packed getaway. Ask if your pet is suitably fit and healthy to travel, consider their age and their general health and fitness when planning your itinerary. Ensure they’re up-to-date with vaccinations, treatments and, if on any medication, that you have enough supplies for your trip.
  • What is the weather forecast likely to be? Remember dogs can struggle in the heat so if you’re planning a summer vacation you’ll need to remember to keep them cool and safe. And never leave a dog unattended in a warm car or caravan as this can be dangerous.
  • What do your holiday plans involve? Will your dog be comfortable in a new setting, meeting new people and visiting new places? Some dogs may find it worrying or stressful so, for them, it may be best to leave them at home with someone responsible who’ll take care of them.
  • Plan ahead; is your accommodation dog-friendly and what facilities do they have? Do the attractions you hope to visit welcome dogs? If you’re planning to travel abroad you’ll need to secure the relevant paperwork in advance.
  • What do you need to take with you? Remember a collar with ID tag, lead, cosy bed, toys and chews, poo bags, food, treats, towel for muddy paws, and a camera to take lots of snaps!
  • Transporting your pet; be sure your dog is comfortable travelling in the car and can be safely secured either in a crate or with a car harness. Take regular toilet breaks and remember, never leave your dog unattended in a car on a warm day.
  • Settling in; give your dog time to settle into a new environment and don’t leave them alone if this will cause them distress. If they seem unsettled you could use a familiar-smelling item to help them settle in. Holidays can be busy so remember to give them time to rest!
  • Remember they’re in new surroundings so if they don’t have the best recall you may want to keep them on the lead to ensure they’re not going to stray onto a road or near a cliff, especially for ‘lockdown dogs’ who may have had limited exposure to wide open spaces and few opportunities outside of the home to practice recall.
  • Keep your dog on a lead at all times when walking in areas where there is livestock no matter how good you think your dog will be. The presence of dogs can be a very frightening experience for some animals so keep your distance.
  • Have fun! Taking your four-legged friend on holiday is a great way to make memories, create a strong bond and enjoy spending quality time with your dog so enjoy it!

RSPCA cat welfare expert Alice Potter said: “Think very carefully about whether your cat would enjoy heading off on holiday with you in your caravan or motorhome. enjoy the holiday – life on the road may not be right for every cat. If you decide to take your cat with you then it’s important to ensure you have all of the items they’ll need and all home comforts with you to make them comfortable. Create vertical space in the caravan so they have places to climb and hiding spots to retreat to if they wish. And ensure they’re microchipped and the registered details are up-to-date in case they go missing or get lost.

“It’s also important to ensure you have a plan for when you will need to leave your cat in the caravan/motorhome to visit shops or tourist attractions. Always make sure they are secure and safe and never leave your cat in a vehicle on a warm day as temperatures can very quickly rise to dangerous levels.”

 

 

 

Poll reveals positive impact of pets

Pet owners reveal their pets have a positive effect on their overall wellbeing with 94% having a positive impact on their health, study reveals.

The poll of pet owners found their four-legged friends make their feel happier (89%), but more than four in 10 don’t have insurance on their pets.

Nearly half (45%) also enjoy the unconditional love their pets provide, while 34% feel their wellbeing is improved as pets help encourage them to get outside every day (34%).

The M&S Bank Pet Insurance research commissioned for National Pet Month also found that furry friends bring joy to their owners on a day-to-day basis by providing companionship and being a source of laughter.

One in five pet owners credit their pets with helping them to meet new people and as a result 89% of those polled consider their pet to be a key member of the family.

However, 44% don’t have insurance to help cover the cost of treatment should their beloved companion become ill or injured, with 22% saying they wouldn’t be able to cover the £817 average cost of a pet insurance claim.

Reasons for not taking out pet insurance included seeing it as an unnecessary expense (32%), not feeling they need it (21%) and simply not getting around to purchasing it (13%).

Paul Stokes from M&S Pet Insurance said: “Britain is known to be a nation of animal lovers and our research certainly seems to reaffirm that. It’s great to see the many different ways our beloved pets positively improve our wellbeing and bring us happiness – this goes to show how important they are to millions of people across the UK.

“Having a happy, healthy pet is a top priority for every pet owner but coping with an unexpected veterinary bill can be different. Having pet insurance in place can help to take away this worry.”

Top 10 ways owners say their pet improves their wellbeing:

1 They make me feel happier

2 Offer me companionship

3 Make me laugh

4 They make me feel calmer

5 Help take my mind off things

6 Know they love me unconditionally

7 Bring positivity to my life

8 Help me get outside every day

9 Help me appreciate the small things in life

10 Help me stick to a daily routine

 

 

 

 

Festival for dog lovers to return this summer

Woofstock UK, a festival celebrating all things dog, is set to get tails wagging as it returns to Devon this August.

Founded in 2014, the award-winning event welcomes families and their dogs to join in a weekend of canine-themed fun.

Visitors can expect a host of exciting attractions at the festival: fun shows for dogs to get involved in, including agility and flyball; a shopping village full of doggy-related stalls; plus, unique activities such as paw painting at the ‘Pawcasso’ tent and a doggy diving pool.

Dog lovers will also welcome the panel of guest speakers offering important pet care advice on topics, such as dog first aid and animal behaviour.

What’s more, there will be live music performances in the evening for families to enjoy, which organisers have made sure are suitable for sensitive doggy ears. However, non-dog owners are also welcome across the weekend too, with the evening music sure to provide entertainment for all.

Taking place from Friday 6th to Sunday 8th August 2021, visitors can choose from either a weekend, daytime, evening, or camping ticket. And, if families are looking for a more luxury experience, there is a glamping option with a variety of tents to choose from — all of which include an exclusive Very Important Pooch treat basket!

Founders of Woofstock UK, Heather and Carol Nesbitt-Bayley, comment on the festival’s return: “After the year we’ve all had, we know this will be an exciting event in the calendar for dog owners like us to look forward to! We can’t wait to welcome everyone back and have some much-needed laughs and fun.”

Tickets for Woofstock 2021 are available now via www.woofstockuk.co.uk/tickets/

Dog theft increases by 19% during lockdown

New research from Direct Line Pet Insurance reveals that reports of dog theft increased by a fifth in 2020.

Last year, an estimated 2,438 dogs were reported as stolen to police forces in the UK, a 19% rise on 2019 (2,026). This is the equivalent of seven dogs being reported stolen every day.

In the past five years, dog theft incidents have risen by 31% from 1,774 in 2016.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers continue to be the most popular breed of dog targeted by thieves, with 97 dogs stolen in 2020. The breed accounted for 21% of all named stolen dogs in 2020 and the number stolen increased by 9% on 2019.

Crossbreeds remain the second most targeted, with 52 dogs stolen last year, although this was a fall of nearly a third (31%) compared to 2019.

Labradors did not make it into the top 10 in 2019 but were fifth in 2020, which may be partly due to their popularity among celebrities like Reese Witherspoon, Camilla Cabello and Ant McPartlin sharing images on social media.

Cocker Spaniels become the third most commonly stolen in 2020 with 34 dogs and moving up from fourth place in 2019. The same trend is true for Springer Spaniels, which were outside of the top 10 in 2019 but are now the most popular targets for thieves.

Breeds that have fallen in popularity for thieves include Chihuahuas, which saw a 76% reduction in the number stolen in 2020 and French Bulldogs have fallen in popularity as a target since 2018, moving from 7th to 10th.

This could indicate that owners have become extra vigilant. The recent high-profile case of Lady Gaga’s stolen French Bulldogs is a stark reminder how valuable and easily identifiable these dogs are.

Madeline Pike, Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “It’s incredibly sad to see the number of dog thefts rising by such a large proportion in 2020. Unfortunately, it seems the increase in dog ownership over lockdown has also translated to a rise in dog thefts, as thieves know how valuable some of these breeds can be and see them as a commodity rather than a beloved member of the family.

“The worry is these numbers will increase even further this year once dogs are left alone more as restrictions ease and we return to a new ‘normal’. Taking simple precautions like not leaving your dog tied up outside a shop or keeping it on a lead when in busy areas, will help reduce the likelihood of being targeted, while making sure microchipping contact details are up to date can help identify a dog if it is stolen and handed in.”

Table one: Top 10 most commonly stolen dog breeds in 2020

Rank Breed 2019 2020 Percentage change Position change Proportion of all named stolen breeds in 2020
1 Staffordshire Bull Terrier 89 97 +9 per cent No change 21 per cent
2 Crossbreeds 75 52 -31 per cent No change 11 per cent
3 Cocker Spaniel 27 34 +26 per cent + 1 7 per cent
4 Bulldog 22 27 +23 per cent +1 6 per cent
5 Labrador 9 26 +189 per cent +8 6 per cent
6 Jack Russell 12 23 +92 per cent +5 5 per cent
7 Border Collie 13 20 +54 per cent +3 4 per cent
8 Springer Spaniel 3 16 +433 per cent +12 4 per cent
9 Chihuahua 50 12 -76 per cent -7 3 per cent
10 French Bulldog 18 12 -33 per cent -4 3 per cent
  All breeds 2,026 2,452 +13 per cent    

 

Steps to follow if your dog has been stolen:

  • Firstly, check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots in case the dog has wandered off.
  • Engage the local community and make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ by sharing with local groups, putting up posters, informing local media and using social media – include pictures and any distinctive marks.
  • There are some specific sites set up to help find lost and stolen dogs, like dogslost.co.uk
  • Report your dog as stolen to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
  • Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens and the council. Provide photos, a physical description and the dogs microchip number.
  • Report your dog to the microchip database and make sure your contact details are up to date.

World’s first ‘Happy Birthday’ song created for dogs and cats

In a World’s first, Natures Menu has launched a special Happy Birthday song, that only dogs and cats can understand.

Featuring high pitched frequencies that can only be heard by dogs and cats, meows and barks and squeaky toy noises, the song has been specifically created to help them celebrate in style.

It’s set to go down with UK pet owners, with a recent survey revealing that 73% mark their pet’s birthday with a special celebration – whether it’s singing Happy Birthday to them (50%) or getting them a gift (27%). And with 3.2 million pets bought in lockdown, many likely marking their first birthday this month, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

The launch of the special rendition of Happy Birthday also ties into Natures Menu’s very own milestone, with the company celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Melanie Sainsbury, Veterinary Education Manager at Natures Menu, said: “With so many of the nation’s pet owners celebrating special milestones in their pet’s life, we’re delighted to be able to support them in giving them the day they deserve. Specific sounds such as high frequency noise inaudible to humans, squeaky toy noise, barks and meowing were all selected as they can cause a hilarious reaction in our pets. Drums were then added so pet parents can keep in time with the familiar Happy Birthday beat and join in the fun.

“Our four-legged friends bring so much joy to our lives, and we’re excited to see their reactions to this special version of Happy Birthday, created just for them. Reactions so far have included dogs trying to find the squeaky toy, ears picking up and cats looking at their owners as if they’ve lost the plot – so it’s just as entertaining for the owners.”

Dog and cat owners can listen to this special version of Happy Birthday via Natures Menu’s Facebook and Instagram social channels and share their pets’ reactions using #naturesmates

You can also view the video here.

Five myths about dog training vets want you to know aren’t true

With more people welcoming pooches to their family, longer evenings present the perfect time to start outdoor training with our four-legged friends.

A vet nurse at leading pet health charity, PDSA has issued advice for new owners and those who may need a refresher, when it comes to pet training.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Many people might be familiar with techniques that punish or scare pets in an attempt to change their behaviour. However, these can leave our canine companions frightened and confused, which may lead to further unwanted habits. We’ve outlined five common dog training myths that are not true, in order to help owners change their dog’s behaviour for the better.”

1 Myth – I need to teach my dog who is boss or they won’t respect me

Nina says, “Frightening your dog into submission can lead to a lack of trust, and even aggressive behaviour further down the line if they’re frightened and don’t know what else to do. Instead, make instructions clear and consistent, rewarding any positive behaviour. Dogs will then know what is expected from them and what they can expect from you.”

2 Myth – Punishment teaches dogs how to behave

“Although punishment methods can supress the behaviour you don’t want in the short-term, they don’t address the reason your dog is doing it,” says Nina.

“Imagine being shouted at when you don’t know what you’ve done wrong, and no one will explain. Reward-based training has been proven to work best, as pets learn to associate a good behaviour with something positive that they want.”

3 Myth – Using a rattle will stop my dog from barking

Nina says, “Rattle cans are often loud and scary enough to stop dogs from barking but aren’t the best solution in the long-term. They can actually make pets anxious about the noise, so the next time they hear it, they’ll bark even more. Consult a behaviourist instead if your dog’s barking is getting out of hand.”

4 Myth – If my dog is scared of something, they just need to learn it won’t hurt them

“Like with human phobias, forcing your dog to be near or interact with something they find stressful won’t teach them not to be afraid,” Nina says. “If your dog has a phobia, firstly as your vet to check your dog over in case of any underlying health problems. Then if they’re given the physical all clear, they can be referred to an accredited behaviourist, who will be able to design a de-sensitisation programme to help your dog manage their phobia.”

5 Myth – My dog doesn’t like treats so I can’t train them

Nina says, “If your dog isn’t a foodie, they may prefer a toy or game used exclusively during training time, while other dogs will favour praise and attention. Most dogs enjoy a combination of different rewards – so why not try them all and see which work best for your pooch.”

For more tips and reward-based training, visit www.pdsa.org.uk/dogtraining.