Over a quarter (27%) of dog owners would consider giving up their puppy if they displayed behaviour that was mistakenly identified as ‘problematic’ for their age.
One in 10 (10%) would give them up for adoption, while 12% would take them back to the breeder and 6% would give them to a friend. A shocking 2.5% would even considering euthanasia.
New research from puppy training app, Zigzag, has uncovered an extreme knowledge gap when it comes to what is normal behaviour and development.
When asked to identify problematic behaviour in puppies aged eight weeks to three months old, 59% of UK dog owners identified ‘peeing on the floor’ as a behavioural issue, while nearly half considered ‘nipping’ (45%) and ‘chewing furniture and possessions’ (42%) an issue.
For puppies aged 3 to 6 months, over third (38%) of owners considered ‘barking’ a behavioural problem and over a quarter (27%) mistakenly identified ‘crying all night’ as an issue. While ‘jumping up at strangers’ (37%) and ‘pulling on the lead’ (42%) were considered issues by many in puppies aged 6 months to one year old.
Lorna Winter, Director of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter and co-founder and head of training at Zigzag, and said: “This research is incredibly alarming. These behaviours are all completely normal and the stats highlight the misguided expectations we place on the dogs in our lives. Over 3 million* of us are considering getting a puppy, however many have idealised views of companionship and simply aren’t prepared to put in the work when it comes to training or researching what is normal.”
In a bid to show new and prospective owners what normal puppy parenthood really looks like, Zigzag has launched a new campaign, ‘Is my puppy normal?’. The training app is asking owners to share stories, videos and photos, using the hashtag #MyNormalPup, of the moments that aren’t just cute and funny, but are a normal part of raising a dog.
Carolyn Menteith, accredited dog trainer and behaviourist with over 20 years experience said: “One of the questions I get asked constantly is, ’Is my puppy normal?’. In most cases, the answer is yes, but people often doubt themselves because they only see the good bits on social media and in movies. People rarely share how hard it can actually be, so many people’s expectations are completely out of whack with the reality. Owning a puppy is a journey, but if you are raising them properly from day one, the rewards are definitely worth it and it builds a strong relationship and a lifelong bond which can reduce the number of puppies being put up for adoption or rehomed. Not only that, but it prevents far more serious behaviour problems from developing further down the line”
Two thirds (66%) of Brits think raising a puppy is comparable to raising a child – a figure that rises to 75% of dog owners, with only half (50%) of all dog owners said they were fully prepared for bringing a dog into their lives.
Zigzag is on a mission to create a world free of unnecessary abandonment of dogs and believes in educating people about the importance of providing puppies with the right training at the right points in their lives, which can reduce the pressure on rescue homes.
The app is 100% dedicated to puppyhood, teaching owners and puppies valuable life skills (not just tricks) at key points in their cognitive development to keep them safe and happy.
Zigzag is working with some of the world’s leading professional organisations, trainers and behaviourists to provide simple and accessible training programmes that are tailored to the breed and age of each puppy.
For more information on Zigzag, visit www.zigzag.dog