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your dog's behaviour

Go to behaviour

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training your dog

Go to training


At Dogs Trust we have a mission; we want every dog to lead a happy life free from the threat from unnecessary destruction. It means that a lot of our work is caring for dogs at our rehoming centres – dogs that need a second chance in life. But it also means addressing the root causes of problems. Every year we receive thousands of calls from people asking us to take their dogs into our rehoming centres, and the biggest single reason they give is because of the dog’s behaviour. So to address this problem, we’ve created Dogs Trust Dog School.

Dogs Trust Dog School is a national network of experienced trainers providing fun, educational courses for all dog owners based on up-to-date scientific research. The classes give owners and dogs the foundations they need to develop a strong bond, cope with everyday domestic life and avoid some of the common pitfalls which lead to behaviour problems. On this web-site you'll find lots of hints and tips about dog training and behaviour - you will also be able to find your nearest Dog School and get in touch with your local team for expert guidance on training your dog and understanding his or her behaviour. If you want to make the most of your relationship with your four-legged friend, Dogs Trust Dog School can help.

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Find your nearest Dog School

Our training methods

Our understanding of dog behaviour has changed considerably over the past few decades. Historically, there were misunderstandings about why dogs behave as they do. For example, it was believed for a long time that dogs developed behaviours like aggression in order to achieve high status or ‘dominance’ over their owners. Unfortunately, this led to training methods based on coercion or punishment in order to ‘keep dogs in their place’. With recent research, we know that this type of approach is not only unnecessary but counterproductive. Punishment based training methods cause fear and anxiety in dogs, and are associated with the occurrence of undesired behaviours, including aggression towards other dogs and people.

At Dogs Trust we train dogs using reward based methods, and do not advocate the use of any training equipment which changes behaviour by causing pain or fear in dogs.  As you can see below, there are multiple reasons why reward based training is better!

  • Reward based training enhances the bond between dog and owner
  • It is easier for dogs to learn if we reward them for doing the right behaviours rather than telling them off when they get things wrong
  • Dogs which are trained with rewards enjoy learning - they are a partner in the training sessions and often 'offer' new behaviours to see if they get a reward!
  • Reward based training will not cause pain or injury to dogs
  • Reward based training does not rely on making dogs worried or frightened, so there is less danger of causing problem behaviours
  • Reward based training works to change behaviour!

Facts and Figures

8.5 million

dogs in the UK


of dogs show signs of fear when they hear loud noises

Did you know there are an estimated 8.5 million dogs in the UK, with 24% of households owning one or more dogs? Or that research has estimated about 130,000 dogs come into UK rehoming charities each year?  We also know that undesired behaviours are the most common reason for dogs to be given up to our centres. Its also devastating that behaviour problems are the most common reason for dogs under 2 years of age to be put to sleep by vets. Read on to find out more intriguing facts and figures about dog behaviour......

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Our research

Some of our research findings

Dogs Trust is committed to conducting and funding research which enhances dog welfare - but we also want to make sure that the results of studies are accessible so they have maximum impact on dog welfare. Check out the section below to read one example of research funded recently by Dogs Trust. The aim of this study was to better understand the occurrence of repetitive behaviours (such a spinning and tail chasing) in dogs.

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Current projects

We fund a number of research projects through the Canine Welfare & International grant schemes. Generation Pup is a study following dogs throughout their lives.

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Funding research

As well as providing practical solutions to canine welfare problems happening right now, we invest in securing better dog welfare for years to come, through the work of our Canine Welfare Grants Committee. We welcome grant applications from students , post-graduates and practicing vets and behaviourists for projects which will positively impact dog welfare, however we do not fund any research which requires a Home Office licence.

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