Puppy Love - a man's best friend
Man Up / Man DownNovember 03, 2022x
43:5440.21 MB

Puppy Love - a man's best friend

This episode might not sound obvious for a podcast, however, in our social circles dog ownership seems to have been a major trend. Both David and Volker have become dog owners over the last 18 months. 

And we’re not alone. In 2010/11, 22% of UK households were dog owners, which remained stable until 2020/21, when it jumped to 33%. Similar levels of increase were seen in the dog population – since 2010 it's increased from 7.6m to 12.5m today.

The share of households owning a pet in the UK remained relatively stable between 2011/12 and 2019/20, hovering around 45%; however, this changed significantly during the pandemic, which saw a rise to an unprecedented high of 59% in 2020/21.

So what is it about “man’s best friend” (a phrase that was coined during a US court case)?

A 2020 survey asked dog owners to state their reasons for owning a dog and all linked their ownership to either improving their happiness and/or providing companionship. 

Happiness was the most common response, with 51% stating ‘because they make me happy’; 47% said their dogs provided ‘love/affection’ and 35% stated their dogs provided ‘companionship’.

We recorded this episode during a hot spell in the UK, which has been causing sleep issues. David talks about how lack of sleep creates anxiety, and gets your head racing. 

Yet, having a puppy, like a baby, you have to be there 24 hours and get up at night if they need to get out. But as David suggested, it’s a good reason to go out for a walk.

Volker talks about his 5 am routine, and how it works for him to regularly get his run and exercise programme done, no matter how many beers he had in the evening. But back to the four legged friends…

A puppy or dog provides not only companionship but also helps with your mental health. A dog, not like a cat, will always want to please you. Why do people get dogs or cats? 

Research shows that: they are best friends, provide companionship, fight loneliness and improve mental health. However, as David pointed out, his mental health actually got worse for the first few months of dog ownership, which isn’t something that dog owners talk about.

However, something David has struggled with is the increased interaction with humans! David loves a walk but often finds himself forced into conversations with other dog owners when he’s out for some peace and quiet.

Here are a few more stats we discuss:

  1. On average, dog owners walk 22 more minutes per day compared to people without dogs.
  2. A Lintbells survey reported that UK dog owners walk an average of 21 miles a week.
  3. Dog owners are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than people without a dog.
  4. A 2021 study affirms that dog walking can have a positive impact on a human’s mental health.
  5. 93% of British dog owners wish they walked their dogs more often.

The statistics speak for themselves - if you want to get a dog, you need to consider the time you have to spend with it. Getting a puppy isn’t, for want of a better phrase, just a walk in the park.

While a lot of pressure comes from the children to get a dog but they don’t support you as much as they say they would. Whether it is picking up poo or going for walks, we all know children quickly lose interest in the day to day care.

After Volker’s building work was done, his garden never really recovered, so he got artificial grass to make it easier for the dog to do his business. If the dog has the runs, you can just hose down the lawn. 

Unfortunately, money you spend on dogs is extortionate. And if you don’t train it properly, the dog will or can become the king of the house. 

So it’s important to remember the advice Volker was given by a friend: Don’t ever forget that it’s a dog. Treat him like a dog, not a human being. 

And as Volker pointed out, he loves having Arnie, his miniature sausage dog, at home. With long days in the office, having a reason to break up the day, get up, go for a walk and just having someone or something around reduces feelings of isolation and lonliness. And you can talk to dogs too!

We had a rant about our cats, outlining the challenges of going to vets regularly and, whilst living based on a Buddhist philosophy, it comes down to costs and how you feel being ripped off by vets. Volker was unlucky with Arnie having had a puppy disease, making the insurance worthwhile from the outset. 

Have you recently become a new dog owner? What has your experience been like? Has it been all you hoped? Or a bigger challenge than you anticipated. 

Drop us an email to let us know!

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