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TDK conference 2016

Study of the behaviour problems of dogs in Hungary
Kácsor Alexandra - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisor: dr. Sátori Ágnes


Nowadays, having a dog has become widespread in the whole world. Instead of keeping them as guard dogs, owners today often treat their pets as family, expecting them to be there for them in every moment of their lives and to behave appropriately. Due to the high level of urbanization, dogs have left their natural habitat, and factors like the noises of the city, crowds of people, or living in flats can lead to behaviour issues. These days, studying and treating behaviour problems is a separate field of research (W. Hunthausen, 1991), and many research studies have confirmed that along environmental factors, genetic background, health issues, old age and improper training can also be found among the causes for it (L. Ackerman, 2011).

This paper studies frequency of dog behaviour issues among Hungarian dog owners. The study was conducted with sharing our own 18-question questionnaire on Internet forums. Besides behaviour issues, questions are on the age of the dogs at the time of adoption, dog walking routines, keeping conditions, and how well owners know and use the definition of behaviour issue. The questionnaire was available between 25 and 27 January 2016 for dog owners. In just three days, 5650 people completed the questionnaire which shows how significant the topic is among non-professionals, too.

Owners’ ranking shows that the most common problem for dogs is fear, more specifically, snapping sounds, noises of cars and shooting sounds are among the most common causes (15.2%). The second most common issue is jumping on people (14.7%). Aggression towards family members is marked by 0.2% of the owners as a common problem, while the frequency of agression towards strangers is much higher (2, 02%). In our study we found positive correlations between the way the dog was kept and barking (p <0,0001), between the owner’s gender and detructive behaviour (p <0,0001), between fear of storm and fear of voices (r=0,7287), between fear of other animals and fear of strangers (r=0,5014), between chewing and destructive behaviour (r=0,6162).

Our results show that behaviour issues can be considered as everyday problems among dog owners, and they selected vets as the primary source of handling these issues (74.3%). Our results are in line with that of foreign studies (Sherman B. L., Mills D. S., 2008), and draw attention to the fact that the demand for diagnosing and treating dogs’ behaviour issues by vets has increased in Hungary, too.

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