THE UK ‘went wild for puppies’ during the first national lockdown, but many have now realised they have ‘made a mistake’.

Karen Boyce is the owner of Beastly Thoughts Professional Dog Services, the biggest puppy training organisation in Wales, and she said she saw a huge surge in people blindly buying puppies during the national lockdowns.

However, many of these puppies, through no fault of their own, are now being put up for sale after families realised what it takes to manage a dog at home.

She told the Leader: “I can remember it very clearly, it was practically the first day after lockdown back in March 2020 when I was rung by a vet who had decided to have a puppy. With lockdown she was going to be home much more frequently so was going to take the opportunity to obtain and raise the dog she had always wanted. She was looking to book puppy classes with me.

“And so, it began. The UK went wild for puppies. Everyone who had thought about getting a puppy, but couldn’t because they worked, suddenly saw it as the perfect opportunity.

“My own puppy classes had its best year to date signing up two hundred and twenty puppies; and these were just the tip of the iceberg.

“People also went crazy looking at rescue dogs. The Dog’s Trust had a 62% year on year increase in calls from people wanting to rehome a dog. The RSPCA recorded, between March and October 2020, 30 million unique views on their website’s Find A Pet service; compared to 18 million for the same period the previous year.

“And even though a lot of the rescues had to close their doors they still managed to rehome dogs. Battersea reported a 79% increase in rehoming numbers.”

Karen said it seemed like every household in the UK decided they needed a new dog, but preferably a puppy – a large percentage of which were first-timers.

She told the Leader that puppies became like ‘gold dust’ and pricing's ‘went through the roof’.

But all of that is a different story now with many families realising they ‘made a mistake’.

Karen added: “Some of these owners have tried to recoup their money by advertising their now older puppies on popular pet “For Sale” websites. But unfortunately, a puppy is a bit like a new car and it’s monetary value dips significantly once it leaves the breeders’ home.

“These young dogs, along with many others, are now being offered to local and national dog rescue organisations. The Dog’s Trust itself had 114 calls alone on the two days after the Christmas Bank Holiday from people wanting to give their dogs up, and nearly 20% of these were under nine months of age.

“It isn’t surprising that puppies have found themselves in dire straits, when a third of owners are first time dog owners but also as, according to a recent Kennel Club Survey, one in five owners say that they had not considered the long-term responsibilities of dog ownership.”

Karen said there’s a list of things owners have ‘fallen foul of’, which includes the shock of having a puppy and children full time, finding that working from home doesn’t come with more free time and having to home school as well as watch a new puppy.

She added that some people have lost their jobs and can no longer afford the additional strain and puppies have often become a ‘burden’.

Not to mention puppies who become stressed and destructive when they find themselves home alone when their owners go back to work.

Karen said the answer to many would be to get rid of the puppy, but there is much that can be done before hand.

She said: “A lot can be done to help the owner and their puppy return to a more harmonious relationship.

“The first thing I would do is seek some professional help. It’s quite possible that owners and puppy have painted themselves into a bit of a corner and simply need an expert in to guide them back into the light.

“Only this week I had an owner with a new pup having problems, which included the puppy showing “aggression” towards the eight year old in the household. It turned out it had all got rather negative with lots of “no” and “stop that”.

“So, after a chat this week the owner is so much cheerier. She explained that she had now recognised how much negativity was being directed at the pup.

“But now with management, lots of distraction and just simply helping the puppy there had been no more episodes. Everyone, human and canine, were much happier.

“Raising puppies, as they turn into teenagers, can often be a trying time. But there is no reason why, given some guidance and help, that the majority of owners can’t make it out the other side and create an obedient and happy adult dog.”