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Aussie dogs acting up with owners back at work

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

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.

Research Key Findings:

✔️ Dog walking:
    • On average, Australian dog owners are walking their dogs 4.41 days a week.
    • Only 25.37% of Australian dogs are getting walked daily (or more than once a day).
    • Behind daily, the next most common frequency was 3 days a week (17.86%), followed by 4 days (15.22%) and 5 days (15.75%).
    • Of these dogs getting walked daily (or more than once a day), over half (51.25%) are walked for 30 – 40 minutes, and just over 2 in 5 (42.92%) are walked 1 – 2 kilometres.
        * 55.17% of dogs are walked for 30 – 40 minutes on average.
        * 48.99% of dogs are walked for 1 – 2 kilometres on average.
    • 91.48% of dog owners agree that walking their dog contributes positively to their mood.
    * Of daily dog walkers, 94.17% agree that walking their dog contributes positively to their mood.
    • 50.20% of dog owners said that weather contributed to not walking their dog more, while 45.70% of people cited a lack of time.

✔️ Returning to work:

    • 59.49% of Australian dog owners returning to work said that they were worried about how this might emotionally impact their dog (this figure excludes people that are essential workers, unemployed or never stopped working from home).
    • 52.50% of Australian dog owners noticed behavioural issues as a result of returning to work and spending less time with their dog.
    • Of those Australian dog owners that had noticed behavioural issues that they think might be a result of reduced time with their dog:

✔️ Feeling guilty:

    • 29.20% of Australian dog owners reported feeling guilty on a weekly basis about leaving their dog(s) at home, not walking them enough or not paying enough attention to them.
    • About a quarter (24.20%) reported feeling guilty on a daily basis.
    • Only 11.40% reported not feeling guilty at all.

* The research is based on a survey of 1,000 Australian dog owners, conducted via online survey method in June 2022.


Back for its fifth year, PAWGUST is an initiative from Guide Dogs that is encouraging Australian dog owners to challenge themselves to walk their dogs for thirty minutes every day in August to raise vital funds that help to support people living with low vision or blindness. It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog.

To register for PAWGUST, visit

About Guide Dogs Australia

Guide Dogs Australia is a brand that represents Australia’s state and territory based Guide Dogs organisations. Guide Dogs delivers a range of essential services to children, teenagers, adults, and older Australians who are blind or have low vision, helping them to lead a life of their choosing and reach their individual goals. Guide Dogs’ mission is to assist people with low vision or blindness gain the freedom and independence to move safely and confidently around their communities. Visit

MEDIA RELEASE, 26th July 2022


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