There are many reasons why somebody would surrender their dog to a rescue, and some of them are ludicrous. A list of the most stunning explanation leading charity Dogs Trust has been given include:

  1. “I won a free holiday and I couldn’t take my dogs with me.”
  2. “I’m a vegetarian but he always wanted to eat meat.”
  3. “I got him as a secret Santa present.”
  4. “She was too friendly and wanted to greet every dog and human we met on a walk.”
  5. “He was panting too much.”
  6. “He didn’t like it when we played dress up.”
  7. “She sleeps in her own bed all night – I thought she would want to sleep in my bed.”

However absurd, these justifications are rare. For more often, the explanation as to why a dog is being given up includes behavioural problems the owner doesn’t know how to handle. Dogs Trust has revealed that one in five of the dogs handed over to them in 2017 was given up due to behavioural issues. The situation is especially severe after Christmas.

“Puppies are consistently top of people’s Christmas wishlists, but between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, Dogs Trust received 9 calls an hour from people wanting to hand over their dog, amounting to nearly 600 calls over the festive period – a 14 per cent increase on the same period last year,” a statement reads.

“A third of these calls were made because owners couldn’t cope with their dog’s behaviour. Last year over 20% of the dogs taken in by the charity (3,000 dogs) were handed in for behavioural reasons, 200 of these simply because their owners couldn’t handle their puppy’s behaviour – a figure that is expected to rise this year.” 

Ember was handed in as a puppy because her owners struggled to house train her.

A recent survey by Dogs Trust found that “a quarter of dog owners wish they could teach their dog to settle when out and about and 18 per cent wish their dog would come back when called”. With 27 per cent of people admitting to looking online for training as a first port of call, Dogs Trust is launching a series of online videos designed to help owners train their dogs, in the hope it may keep dogs from being given away due to lack of training. 

We hope that by providing these essential tips and techniques via short, interactive videos, owners will be equipped with the skills needed to enjoy a lifetime together with their dogs

Maria Wickes, Head of Dog School at Dogs Trust says, “A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, but last year Dogs Trust took in 200 dogs because their owners couldn’t handle their puppy behaviour. Often we find that people get a dog for Christmas and hand it over in the weeks and months afterwards because they haven’t realised how much work goes in to owning a puppy. The good news is that it’s not so hard with a few simple tips. 

Dogs Trust Dog School classes are an amazing resource and through our team of expert behaviourists, we helped over 6,000 dog owners train their four-legged friends last year, but in 2018 we also wanted to create something that dog owners everywhere could access at any time of day. Our brand new at-home tutorials are designed with busy lifestyles in mind and cover all the basics from recall to preventing separation anxiety, noise fears and toilet training.

“We hope that by providing these essential tips and techniques via short, interactive videos, owners will be equipped with the skills needed to enjoy a lifetime together with their dogs.”

For more information on Dogs Trust Dog School, visit their website.

Images by Dogs Trust.

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