1 in 5 new dog owners admit to pandemic puppy panic | TeamDogs
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1 in 5 new dog owners admit to pandemic puppy panic

Strictly's Shirley Ballas on how fellow owners helped to ease her puppy 'guilt'

Danielle Elton

Posted 5 months ago ago

Thousands of people across Britain have welcomed a new dog into their lives during the past 12 months.

With online searches for puppies soaring 122% since last March - lockdown, and homeworking, meant many households took the plunge and bought or adopted a new dog.

And they have been lifesavers -  constant and faithful companions during our daily essential exercise, lifting our spirits when the going gets tough and making us laugh with their hilarious antics. 

At home our pet dogs have always ruled the roost - but in the past, unprecedented 12 months they have also become valuable work colleagues, stars of our social media accounts, enthusiastic class members in our makeshift home schools and the bond bringing families, and communities, together.

But research from recently-launched website TeamDogs revealed many brand new dog owners have, understandably, had their ups and downs with their new family member and need help and advice.

  • 1 in 5 new dog owners have regretted buying a dog in the past 12 months, with many even considering giving them up.
  • 1 in 3 (32%) new dog owners find owning a dog is a lot harder than expected
  • 78% of new dog owners have worried about their dog’s behaviour during the last 12 months
  • 43% of new dog owners even say their dog’s bad behaviour has affected their relationship with their loved ones

TeamDogs ambassador Shirley Ballas has had her beloved Lhasa Apso rescue Charlie for four years.

The Strictly judge and dog lover said: “The highs of having a dog totally outweigh the lows but bringing a new dog home can be a really hard transition for everyone.

“I remember when I first brought Charlie home, he used to do wee on the carpet! I was filled with guilt until I spoke to fellow dog owners at the park. I didn’t realise that was so ‘normal’ for a puppy. 

“I’m so thankful I was able to get that insight from other dog owners and hope all of the new puppy parents are able to find similar support.”

TeamDogs creator Ceri Gould, owner of Cockapoo Tommy, said: “Nobody said welcoming a new dog into the family was going to be plain sailing. Puppies, especially, need a lot of love and attention and, frankly, totally disrupt the family routine.

“But things quickly settle down and you’ll soon wonder how you ever lived without them. And, if you need any help, join the TeamDogs family.

“TeamDogs is a new website for dog lovers written by dog lovers. We are dedicated to providing the very best advice and recommendations to ensure dogs, and their owners, are living their best lives together.”

Other survey findings revealed nightly wake ups, chewed furniture, constant barking and unsuccessful toilet training resulted in tense relations at home too; 43% of new dog owners admitted that their dog’s behaviour resulted in strained relationships with their loved ones.  

The full extent of their dog’s bad behaviour resulted in 

  • 18% of new owners having to cancel plans
  • 17% of new owners admitting to sleeping next to their dog instead of in their bed
  • 14% of new owners admitting to crying over their dog’s bad behaviour 
  • 13%of new owners taking a day off work to deal with it

The research also shows that 78% of new dog owners have been most worried about their dog’s behaviour in lockdown compared to 67% of people who already owned dogs. 

In fact, those who got a dog during the pandemic are significantly more likely to have felt a range of negative emotions related to their dog and its behaviour.  

The survey also reveals that dog owners are worried about how their dogs will adjust to life in the new normal as lockdowns begin to ease and normality resumes. 

  • 54% of those returning to work are worried about their dog having to spend more time alone
  • 39% of these are planning to ask friends or family to look after their dog while they’re working

The online survey was completed by a sample of 1,018 dog owners in March 2021 and is representative of the British population. The results are based on all dog owners surveyed but at points pulls out data for a subgroup of owners who got their most recent dog during the pandemic.

TeamDogs launched in March and is a one-stop, dog-devoted shop for dog-owners and lovers dedicated to the latest news, advice and recommendations to ensure the dogs in our lives are living their best life. 

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