In an exclusive report, Dogs Trust has unveiled troubling findings from its inaugural National Dog Survey (NDS), which stands as the most comprehensive study ever conducted on dogs and their owners. The survey exposes a worrisome surge in problematic behavior among adolescent pandemic puppies, compelling inexperienced and first-time owners to consider rehoming them.
Due to the resounding success of the initial study conducted in 2021, Dogs Trust is now launching its second National Dog Survey this month. With an impressive response of nearly 350,000 participants in its first year, the NDS has provided unparalleled insights into attitudes and behaviors. These insights have been instrumental in Dogs Trust’s development of new services aimed at supporting both dogs and their owners. Notable services include addressing issues related to the cost-of-living crisis and the introduction of a free Behavioral Support Line.
As dogs, acquired during the tumultuous on-again off-again lockdowns spanning from 2020 to 2022, adapt to their owners’ return to full or part-time office work, their lack of training and socialization during their formative years is beginning to manifest. Shockingly, almost a third of dogs now being surrendered are a result of “unwanted behaviors.”
The latest figures released by Dogs Trust illuminate the extent of inadequate training experienced by these dogs. One-fourth of respondents expressed concerns about their ability to handle their dog’s behavior, while 18% admitted they did not have the time to train their new pup. The impact of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis on the welfare of these beloved pets is also evident, with over 10% revealing their inability to afford essential training from experts.
Regrettably, the consequences of these circumstances are being felt at Dogs Trust’s helpline and website. The charity has already received over 18,000 requests for rehoming so far this year, with 30% of callers citing unwanted behavior as the primary reason.
In response to these identified pain points from the initial NDS, Dogs Trust has expanded its behavior support services. The charity has introduced a free Behavioral Support Line and Reactive Dog Classes, aiming to prevent the heartache of relinquishment. This demonstrates the tangible impact that the NDS has had in helping Dogs Trust achieve its mission of improving the lives of dogs around the world.
The Behavioral Support Line is manned by specialist officers equipped with a wealth of qualifications and expertise in animal behavior. These professionals possess degrees in animal behavior, dog behavior accreditations, and hands-on experience in assisting both dogs and owners. The support line has already provided practical advice to thousands of owners, enabling them to confidently tackle behavior-related challenges.
Inspired by this success story, the second National Dog Survey commences this week and will remain open until June 18th. Dogs Trust urges dog owners across the country to dedicate just 10 minutes of their time to contribute to this year’s survey, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the UK’s 12.5 million-strong dog population. The results will aid in the development of tailored support programs that are desperately needed.
Owen Sharp, the Chief Executive of Dogs Trust, emphasizes the urgency of the situation: “We frequently hear from families who feel they have no choice but to give up their dogs due to issues that could have been prevented with early interventions. Last year, over 350,000 individuals responded to our first National Dog Survey, providing valuable insights into dog care in the UK. Subsequently, we utilized this knowledge to launch new services that tangibly support dogs and their owners, such as our Behavioral Support Line, which helps address behavior-related issues before they escalate into significant problems.”
Sharp highlights the critical role of this year’s National Dog Survey in shaping the future services provided by Dogs Trust. The valuable feedback received through the survey will enable the charity to further support dogs and their owners across the nation.
To participate in the National Dog Survey and contribute to the well-being of the nation’s dogs, interested individuals can visit the official website at www.nationaldogsurvey.org.uk. By sparing just 10 minutes of their time, dog owners can play a crucial role in making this year’s survey even more comprehensive and impactful.
Dogs Trust’s Chief Executive, Owen Sharp, stresses the significance of the survey’s findings:
“The insights we gained from last year’s National Dog Survey, with its impressive response rate of over 350,000 participants, provided us with a genuine understanding of how people care for their dogs in the UK. This knowledge empowered us to launch new services that provide tangible support to dogs and their owners, including our Behavioral Support Line, which helps address behavior-related issues before they escalate into significant problems.”
Sharp emphasizes the pivotal role of dog owners in shaping the future of Dogs Trust’s services: “The input we receive from dog owners through this year’s National Dog Survey will once again guide the development of services provided by Dogs Trust, ensuring that we can continue to support dogs and their owners across the nation.”
Owen Sharp, Chief Executive, Dogs Trust
By participating in the National Dog Survey, individuals can contribute to creating a better world for dogs, enabling Dogs Trust to enhance their support programs and improve the lives of dogs and their owners throughout the UK.