Pandemic puppy owners worry about being able to care for their dog after lockdown

New data by The Kennel Club reveals that 10% of owners who bought a dog during the ‘pandemic puppy boom’ are now worried about caring for them when restrictions are lifted.

More than a fifth (22%) said that they are particularly worried about behavioural problems resulting from lack of training and socialisation, and 31% admitted they hadn’t made a plan for their pet when they return to normal life and work.

Whilst 63% of new dog owners said that they believe lockdown is the perfect time to get a dog, both new and seasoned dog owners continue to face challenged as Covid-19 restrictions remain stringent.

The data from The Kennel Club also revealed that 18% of new owners are worry that their dog won’t fit their lifestyle once they return to work and 27% are concerned about getting their dog used to ‘normal life’ once lockdown ends.

More than one in three (37%) also admitted that they didn’t research any puppy classes or training schools in their area before buying and are now worried how their dog will copy when meeting other dogs and humans.

Worryingly, it also seems some new owners may have made short-sighted decisions and didn’t realise the commitment that comes with getting a puppy, which could exacerbate behavioural issues and have a further negative impact for these dogs in the future.

Over a third of pandemic puppy buyers said their main motivation for getting their dog was because they were spending more time at home and 20% admit they hadn’t fully considered the long-term commitment or responsibility that comes with having a dog.

Following this troubling research, and to help guide new dog owners through the development stages of their puppy’s life and address these concerns, The Kennel Club has developed a range of online resources offering training, health and behavioural advice as part of its Be Puppywise campaign.

The campaign also provides tips on responsible puppy buying and advice on how to care for your puppy in its first few weeks at home to help owners to provide the best foundation for their puppy to become a happy, healthy, well-socialised dog.

Bill Lambert, spokesperson for The Kennel Club said: “Training and socialisation are an essential part of a dog’s life from their puppyhood all the way through to their older years. Training doesn’t only ensure that a dog, owner as well as other dogs and humans are safe, it also strengthens the bond between dog and owner significantly.

“We would urge any owners who are worried about their dog’s behaviour, health or socialisation to make use of all of our Be Puppywise resources, including contacting a dog trainer or behaviourist if you’re struggling, to ensure you and your four-legged friend are ready to return to normal life together once restrictions are lifted. Dog ownership is a lifelong commitment and it’s your responsibility to give them the best foundation for a happy, healthy and confident life.

“Training and socialisation might be more difficult at the moment – we’re certainly concerned about issues like separation anxiety and shyness and aggression with other dogs or people – but it’s crucial you take the time and effort to overcome these challenges and Be Puppywise, for the sake of the nation’s dogs, for your new best friend and to help reap the benefits of having a four-legged companion.”