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Four-legged free-for-all: 9 in 10 Aussie dog owners regret behaviours they’ve allowed

PAWGUST 4 mins read
  • Only 1 in 3 Australians walk their dogs daily.
  • Millennials are twice as likely to indulge naughty behaviour.
  • 93% feel guilty about not paying their dogs enough attention.



Australia, August 1st, 2023: A recent survey by Guide Dogs Australia of 1,000 dog owners revealed that many are missing out on one of the most paw-some parts of a dog life - daily walks - leaving owners feeling guilty and doggos chewsing other ways to release their energy.


Less than a third of Aussie dogs are being taken out daily, with just over half being taken out for the recommended 30-45 minutes when they do go.


This August, Guide Dogs Australia is encouraging dog owners to walk-ease the guilt by taking part in PAWGUST, an annual fund raiser that sees Aussies commit to walking their dog for a set distance (with different challenge levels) throughout the month of August.


Guide Dogs Veterinary and Breeding Services Manager, Dr Caroline Moeser shed some light on how this could improve doggy demeanors.


“Taking your dog out for a daily walk not only gives them needed exercise but allows them to socialise with other dogs. It also gives them significant mental simulation through sniffing and exploring. Daily mental stimulation is not only great for your dog’s longevity but can also put a stop to some pesky behaviours, like chewing your favourite pair of shoes or barking at innocent passersby.”


The challenges of dog parents

The recent survey also revealed that owners are having a ruff time with guilt. Over a third of Australians leave their dogs alone in the house a few times a week and a quarter leave their dog alone at some point every day.


A whopping 93% of owners said that they feel guilty at one time or another about leaving their dog at home, not walking them enough or not paying attention to them at home.


But owners don’t just feel bad about not spending enough time with their pooch, they also have regrets about their training. 90% of dog owners admit they regret not addressing some aspect of their dog’s behaviour. 


The top 5 regrettable behaviours are:

  1. Barking or howling
  2. Jumping up on owners or guests
  3. Chewing household items
  4. Reactiveness (such as lunging at other dogs)
  5. Pulling on the leash during walks


However, millennials are the guiltiest age group for indulging in their dogs, being twice as likely to believe bad behaviour can be cute at times.



Dog owners are not alone

Owners may feel embarrassed or frustrated when it comes to their dog’s bad behaviour but this research shows they’re not alone in this doggy dilemma. And, while no dog owner is paw-fect - we all have busy schedules and sometimes struggle to fit everything in - there's a wag-tastic solution to put those guilt-filled tails to rest.


Take the lead

PAWGUST not only helps you and your dog improve your physical and mental health by walking or running throughout August, but also gives you an opportunity to raise vital funds for Guide Dogs.


And you don’t need to be a dog owner to help out. By gathering friends and family to sponsor efforts, participants (with or without a furry friend) can contribute to raising and training Guide Dogs. These remarkable canines cost over $50,000 to raise and train but provide years of independence and companionship to people with blindness or low vision.


“While changing our dog’s behaviour can take time, dog owners can make instant changes to their own habits by adding something as simple and enjoyable as a daily walk this August – and might find their dogs easier to manage as a result” concluded Dr Moeser.


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Media enquiries

Ben Steel | 0400 524 283 |


Notes to editor: The research is based on a survey of 1,000 Australian dog owners, conducted via online survey method in June 2023.




  • Australian dog owners typically (31.3%) walk their dog daily (or more than once a day). 
  • This is closely followed by 4-6 times a week (31.1%) 
  • 2-3 times a week (30.3%) 
  • Just 7.2% said that their dog only gets walked once a week 


  • 24.1% of Australian dog owners are already doing the right thing by walking their furry friends for 30 minutes (or more) every day. 
  • 54.5% of these are walked for 30-45 minutes and 40.9% are walked for 1-2 kilometres
  • 12.6% of Australian dog owners walk their dogs less than once a day and for less than 30 minutes. 



  • 55% of Australian dog owners said it can be cute when their dog misbehaves 
  • 17.8% said that it is cute
  • 37.2% said that it is sometimes cute
  • 45% said that it isn’t cute
  • Age / generation breakdown on when their dog misbehaves
  • Gen Z 
    • It is cute – 53.2%
    • It isn’t cute – 46.8% 
  • Millennials 
    • It is cute – 58.3% 
    • It isn’t cute – 41.6% 
  • Gen X 
    • It is cute – 41.4% 
    • It isn’t cute – 58.6% 
  • Common behaviours Australian dog owners regret not addressing: 
  • Barking or howling – 30.9% 
  • Jumping up at their owner or at guests – 29.7% 
  • Chewing household items – 25.9% 
  • Reactiveness (e.g., lunging, around other dogs) – 21.4% 
  • Pulling on their leash during walks – 20.3% 
  • Only 10.2% had no behaviours they regret not addressing 


Owner guilt:

  • 16.4% of Australian dog owners feel guilty every day (e.g., about leaving their dog at home, not walking them enough or not paying attention to them at home). 
  • 25.5% said they feel guilty on a weekly basis 
  • 93.2% said that they feel guilty at one time or another, while only 6.8% said that this is never the case. 
  • Of Australian dog owners that said it is cute when their dog misbehaves: 
  • 19.1% feel guilty every day 
  • 30.3% feel guilty on a weekly basis 


Back for its sixth year, PAWGUST is an initiative from Guide Dogs that encourages Australians to hit the pavement in August to raise vital funds to support people living with vision loss and blindness.

It costs more than $50,000 to breed, raise and train a Guide Dog or Assistance Dog, so by braving the cold this August and asking family and friends to sponsor you, you are helping to create a world where everyone who needs a Guide Dog, has a Guide Dog.



Register at:



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


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