Despite the increasing number of dog owners in Thailand, a lack of knowledge, improper care, and insufficient attention can lead to behavioral problems and mental health issues in dogs. Recently, a research team from Akkhraratchakumari Veterinary College (AVC) at Walailak University, led by Associate Professor Dr. Tuempong Wongtawan and Assistant Professor Worakan Boonhoh, conducted a study on dog behavior and its relationship with humans. They collected data from 2,000 dog owners, with the majority living in the central region, through online questionnaires.
From the collected data, it was found that 88 percent of dog owners were female, with 64 percent aged 23 to 40. 75 percent of them lived in single houses, while only 3 percent resided in condominiums. The data shows that 29 percent of the raised dogs are mixed breeds, chosen for their ease of care, intelligence, and disease resistance. The top three purebred dogs raised were Golden Retriever (10 percent), followed by Chihuahua (8 percent), and Pomeranian (7 percent). Male and female dogs were equally represented.
According to the study, the top five behavioral issues in dogs include being overly excited, seeking constant attention or getting too attached to owners, chasing behavior, aggressive behavior, and fearful behavior. Associate Professor Dr. Tuempong Wongtawan, Head of the Research Unit at AVC, said that he, along with Assistant Professor Worakan Boonhoh and the team, conducted experiments to find ways to prevent and reduce the mentioned behavioral issues. The results showed that providing dogs with food-dispensing toys helps reduce stress, curb undesirable behaviors, particularly excitement, promotes dogs' physical well-being, and improves overall health.
The findings also suggest that when dog owners are present while feeding, take time to play with their dogs, engage in dog walking, and train their dogs using rewards rather than punishments, it can strengthen the bond between dogs and owners and prevent undesirable behaviors.
"Importantly, the team has designed a food-dispensing dog toy made from natural rubber with a vanilla scent. Through research experiments, it has been proven to be durable, safe, and well-loved by dogs. This toy aids in teeth cleaning, promotes physical exercise, and is highly effective in reducing undesirable behaviors," said Associate Professor Dr. Tuempong Wongtawan.
Owners experiencing behavioral issues with their dogs can seek online consultation on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/goodpetandhuman or schedule an appointment at Pet Psychiatry Clinic, Small Animal Teaching Hospital by visiting https://www.facebook.com/AnimalhosWU.