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Welfare: The Basics

Let Me Be A Dog

Not all behaviour is bad; sometimes it's just behaviour.

When inviting these wonderful animals into our homes, we must remember that they are dogs. They need to perform certain behaviours to meet their ethological and physiological needs and it's important that we provide them with an outlet for expressing their natural behavioursRetraining a behaviour and adapting it to the domestic environment meets the needs of both you and your dog. Some behaviours are common to all dogs, but some are breed specific. Understanding as much as you can about your chosen breed will help prevent common behaviour 'problems'. 

Natural Dog Behaviour

Give Me Choice

We pretty much control our dogs' entire lives. When they eat, walk, sleep, play, and eliminate. Some of this routine is unavoidable of course, and dogs actually like a sense of routine to feel safe, but they also need the freedom to choose how to go about their daily lives. The more choice we can give them, the happier they'll be. Let your dogs choose whether they wish to sit or stand; let them choose the direction of walk; give them plenty of toys to choose from; and provide a varied and balanced diet.

Animal Welfare Act 2006: The 'Five Freedoms'.

There's never a quick fix for modifying any behaviour, but a few simple checks and provisions can help alleviate existing problems, and prevent new ones occurring.


The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 'Five Freedoms') lists the basic freedoms that dogs (and many other animals) are entitled to by law. It's very poorly publicised, and I've never once seen a poster or leaflet in any of the establishments that pet owners visit.

The requirements of the Act may seem fairly obvious (to feed our pets, give them a bed etc.), but how many of us carry out a daily health check, stop our dogs barking when they could be trying to tell us something, or even consider whether or not they like the cat?

The 'Five Freedoms' are:

* freedom from hunger and thirst

- does your dog have access to fresh clean drinking water and regular meals?

* freedom from discomfort (provision of shelter)

- does your dog have clean and comfortable bedding to arrange as he sees fit? 

* freedom from pain, injury, and disease

- does your dog receive a regular health check (at home, or the vet)? Are all vaccinations and 'spot on' treatments up to date? 

* freedom to express natural behaviours

- does your dog engage in his natural behaviours?

* freedom to live with, or apart from, other animals (including humans!)

- does your dog have a quiet and safe place to go to when he wants to be alone?

These are just the basics. There are so many ways that you can build on these to really

give your dog the best! Please contact me if you'd like further information.

Animal Welfare
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