The initial results of the Dogs Trust’s inaugural National Dog Survey, the largest study ever of dogs and their owners, revealed the depth of our affection for our furry family members and underscored that we truly are a true nation of dog lovers.
With many of us spending more time at home in the past 18 months than ever before, the bond between human and “human best friend” has grown even stronger. According to the first data (over 231,000 owners and 308,000 dogs), almost half of us (47%) share a bed with our dogs and seven out of 10 take our furry friends with us on vacation (70%).
In addition, almost three quarters (73%) give their dog a Christmas present and 63% celebrate their birthday.
Day in, day out, over a quarter (26%) of the nation says they take their dogs everywhere – but it turns out that Scots are the most affectionate of all of us, with that number rising to 30%.
This puppy love isn’t limited to just north of the border, however. Across the country:
- Welsh people are most likely to share a bed with their dog (50%)
- East Midlanders are most likely to take their dogs on vacation (78%)
- Londoners are most likely to celebrate their pooch’s birthday (66%)
Dogs Trust has also found that younger first-time owners (ages 18-24) prove to be the biggest “softies” and may find separating from their beloved pups the most difficult.
- 95% say they love their dogs – a number that drops by a fifth for those over 75 (76%)
- 85% give their dogs a Christmas present and 80% celebrate their birthday
- 55% share their bed with their puppy
The National Dog Survey is said to be the most comprehensive study of dogs and dog owners ever conducted. It hopes to provide invaluable insights that will enable Dogs Trust to provide the best possible support to our nation of dog lovers.
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, commented, “I don’t think dog owners’ attachment to their four-legged friends is an option, and the nation’s love for their pets has grown even stronger during the lockdown.
“However, there are difficulties that all dog owners face. While we are re-adjusting to a post-lockdown lifestyle – getting back to work and socializing – both owners and dogs can have difficulty being apart.
“Findings from the National Dog Survey will help Dogs Trust provide much-needed support.”
But as great as that sounds to our pampered pooches, as the nation gets used to life after the lockdown, it could pose some problems as dogs that are used to having their human’s undivided attention have to adjust to spending more time alone spend.
If this sounds familiar to you, don’t worry – help is within reach! Dogs Trust, which is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, offers a variety of support services to help us all adjust to the “new normal”. You can find our six top tips below.
Team dogs is a community for dog lovers who want to get the most out of their relationship with their best buddy.
1. Start training
It is important that we train our dogs to manage on their own to prevent separation anxiety from developing. This should start with rewarding your dog for relaxed behavior and gradually building up the time it needs before you reward him. Here is some advice on how to help your dog get used to it Visit the Dogs Trust website here.
2. Prepare your dog to be left home alone
Before leaving your dog at home, there are a few things you can do to make him feel calm and relaxed, such as: For example, take him for a long walk before you set off. Another example is taking into account the time that is still separated in the house and gradually building it up until the actual departure (while the dog is pacified with a nice, long-lasting treat or chew). More advice can be found here.
3. Find a dog walker
Dog walkers can be a great way to break up your dog’s day if you plan to be away from home for more than about four hours (exact number of hours will vary depending on the individual dog). You can access advice on how to find a good dog walker here.
4. Welcome visitors to the house
Lockdown means that your dog may be antisocial or nervous about other people. You can practice teaching your dog not to respond to noises like the doorbell before inviting friends. Tips on how to best prepare your dogs for visitors can be found here here.
5. Meet other dogs
In addition to having little interaction with other people, social distancing has resulted in your dog likely not having much opportunity to interact with other dogs either. First, you should encourage your puppy to walk on a loose leash and keep his or her attention on you before setting out to walk around or next to other dogs. You will find tips on how to introduce your dogs to others again here.
6. Prepare for day trips
Days outdoors can be overwhelming at first, and some dogs may struggle with the added sights, smells, and distractions. Gradually following the steps above, introducing both new people and dogs, your puppy will help cope with it. You can find more tips and advice on tackling day trips here.
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