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Dog food could help pooch's phone phobia

Tuesday, 15th March 2011

A dog owner whose pooch hates the telephone has advised that dog food toys could help cure its phobia.

Pete Wedderburn, a vet with 25 years experience, was responding to a question sent in by a reader of his column in the Daily Telegraph.

A concerned owner got in touch with Dr Wedderburn as her dog rushes at the phone every time it rings and if the call is answered, she can get aggressive.

In reply, Dr Wedderburn advises the owner to undertake some basic training, whereby the dog is slowly desensitised to aspects of the phone.

He wrote: "Set the phone to 'silent', or with a light flashing instead of a ringing tone. Then use counter-conditioning: reward her for staying calm while you're pretending to talk on the phone.

"For real calls, after you've been alerted in a different way to the incoming call, lead her out of the area for a food toy and shut her in."

Recent research by revealed that pets have caused around £690 worth of damage to the average owners home over the past year.

Cat Hughes, pet psychologist from Puppy Professionals, suggested that owners should invest in cat scratch posts and food dispensing toys to keep pets occupied.