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Dogs Trust encourages dog owners to go ‘Bark to School’ as new term starts

Charity prepares for influx of dogs being given up as new school year begins

Dogs Trust encourages dog owners to go ‘Bark to School’ as new term starts

As millions of children across the country return to the classroom after the summer break, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is encouraging dog owners to head Bark to School with their pups in a bid to reduce the number of dogs potentially being handed into rehoming centres.

The charity, which is already experiencing its busiest period on record in terms of handovers due to the rise in the cost of living, is preparing itself for a possible further spike as families return to a post-holiday juggle of work and school, and their young dogs struggle to cope with being left home alone, causing them to exhibit bad behaviours.

Many pups acquired during the pandemic are now well into adolescence, a tricky stage for any dog owner, particularly those short on time and juggling family life, and many families may feel they are unable to cope with problematic behaviour. Many of these issues can be resolved through basic training and education of dog owners.

Last year on September 6th, the start of the new school year, Dogs Trust saw an uplift in enquiries from dog owners looking to rehome their dog. The charity received 163 enquiries to handover their dogs on the first day of term – more than any other day during September – and during the first week of September, saw an uplift in enquiries from struggling owners compared to the previous week.

Kathryn Thomas, Head Coach at Dog School South Wales, explains: “Whilst the majority of dog owners see their dogs as much-valued family members and have loved spending time with their four-legged friends over the holidays, sadly we do see a trend where more dogs are handed into us as soon as children go back to school.

“In many cases, dogs are not equipped to deal with this sudden change in routine where they suddenly have to get used to having less attention which means they may start displaying undesirable behaviour.”

Aside from the rise in the cost of living, one of the main reasons dogs are handed over to Dogs Trust is because of behaviour-related issues that may have been prevented or managed with training. Which is why the charity is urging dog owners to go ‘Bark to School” and take action now by sign their puppy or adult dog up to training classes to avoid future problems so they can live happily together.

Dogs Trust runs affordable dog training and puppy classes in locations across the UK, throughout the year. Dogs Trust Dog School classes operate nationwide and are available throughout the year. At these classes, owners will learn how to teach their dogs how to meet and greet other dogs politely, walk nicely on the lead, come back when called, overcome chewing and mouthing as well as understand dog body language and what your dog is trying to tell you.

Kathryn adds: “Dogs Trust is always here to help families who are struggling to care for their dog, for whatever reason, but we hope that anyone that is finding their dog’s behaviour challenging after the summer holidays will consider heading Bark to School and will sign up to Dog School classes to help their dog fulfil their potential and make sure families and four-legged friends can continue to live happily together.”