Fur-gotten friends: Aussie dogs acting up as owners return to office
A new survey by Guide Dogs Australia of 1,000 Australian dog owners found that 3 in 5 pooch parents have worried about how getting back to work outside the home might impact their dogs.
Now, two-thirds are noticing new behaviours they think might be a result of reduced time together, including barking, howling and destructive acts such as destroying furniture.
That loss of quality time together could be made worse by owners neglecting one of a dog’s most simple needs – walkies.
Just a quarter of Australians report walking their dogs at least once a day and, when they do get out, the vast majority of walks last less than 40 minutes – with weather and time emerging as the main reasons Aussies bow out on that quality time.
It’s not just our dogs that are suffering either. A quarter of dog owners feel guilty daily, and a similar proportion feel it weekly.
All this when dog owners could be reaping the emotional rewards of a brisk walk with a four-legged friend. Over 90% of dog owners agreed this is something that boosts their mood.
The research was conducted as part of PAWGUST, an initiative that sees Guide Dogs encouraging dog owners to get up and get rid of the guilt by committing to a 30-minute walk together every day in August. That’s roughly 2km a day and 60km in total – no small feat in this icy winter.
By getting friends and family to sponsor their efforts, participants will also contribute to raising and training Guide Dogs, which cost more than $50,000 per dog to breed, raise and train but provides years of independence and companionship to someone with blindness or low vision.
Guide Dog Mobility Instructor, Ryan Jones made a plea for our four-legged friends, stating; “Mid-lockdown in 2020 we surveyed Australians and found over 80% were relying on their dogs for emotional support. Now it’s our dogs’ turn to rely on their owners to get them through a time of significant change by making a walk an immovable part of their routine this August.”
“At Guide Dogs we are always grateful to our dogs, and PAWGUST is about encouraging Australians to get involved by getting outside and spending quality time with their four-legged friends, while raising money to help us raise and train more Guide Dogs at the same time,” said Mr Jones.
According to Guide Dogs Veterinary and Breeding Services Manager, Dr Caroline Moeser, “All healthy dogs – big or small – need to be walked regularly, and not just because of the inherent exercise benefits. It’s vital to provide the opportunity for dogs to socialise, engage in one-on-one attention time and explore surroundings beyond the home. This inspires curiosity and excitement to release endorphins and deters disruptive behaviours” said Moeser.
How to get involved
This PAWGUST, Aussie dog owners can acknowledge the advantages of their four-legged friends by pledging to walk the walk for 30 minutes every day in August via www.PAWGUST.com.au.
By getting friends and family to sponsor their efforts, they will also contribute to the $50,000 it takes to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog – a dog that will provide years of independence and companionship to someone with blindness or low vision.
For those who prefer to walk around the shops in the warmth, you can also support the cause by shopping in-store at PETStock during the month of August. By purchasing selected products you can contribute to PETstock’s goal of raising $200,000 this August for Guide Dogs Australia.