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Direct Line Pet Insurance unleashes Hodge the hound for latest pet fix campaign

Hodge, the basset hound featured in Direct Line Pet Insurance's latest campaign.

Direct Line Pet Insurance has cast Hodge, a lovable seven-year-old Basset Hound from Bedfordshire, in its new campaign which addresses the bad habits of the nation’s wayward pets.

Hodge was the winner of Direct Line’s naughtiest pets promotion, which invited owners to share photos and videos of their mischievous dogs. The main prize was a chance to win a dog training boot camp and feature in the resulting Direct Line campaign.

Hodge‘s owners Richard and Andy Kilduff, from Leighton Buzzard, were chosen from more than 250 entries because of Hodge’s dogged stubbornness and reluctance to walk on his lead.

Dog behaviourist Steven Havers hosted the boot camp at Hodge’s home and in a local park. The filmed training session features in a new digital campaign created by brand entertainment agency Media Bounty.

The campaign breaks on December 8th until the end of the year across YouTube and Facebook.

Havers said: “As with most naughty dog situations, the problem here was actually with the owners – not with Hodge. Andy and Richard were guilty of paying Hodge more attention when he was naughty, which gives him the incentive to misbehave more often. All we did was give Andy and Richard a few tips and tricks about how to flip the situation on its head – rewarding good behaviour rather than bad – and we immediately saw positive results. All they need to do now is keep it up!”

Direct Line’s deputy head of news, Claire Foster, said: “Small details and little adjustments to a dog’s behaviour can positively transform life for both pets and their owners. The same applies when safeguarding against those times your pet might need special care and attention.

“We want to be famous for fixing, which is why we were looking to address Hodge’s behavioural issues. Insurance isn’t generally front of mind until people really need it, so what better way to remind a pet owner about those all important details than Hodge the hound.”