One in four would give up their pup for acting like a puppy.

  • Peeing and pooping inside, chewing furniture and nipping rank highest on the list of mistaken ‘puppy behaviour problems’ 
  • Huge knowledge gap sees owners state they would give up their dog or have them put down because of ‘problematic’ behaviour 
  • Zigzag launches campaign ‘Is My Puppy Normal?’ to normalise the challenges of puppy parenthood and training

Over a quarter (27%) of dog owners would consider giving up their puppy if they displayed behaviour that was mistakenly identified as ‘problematic’ for their age. 

One in 10 (10%) would give them up for adoption, while 12% would take them back to the breeder and 6% would give them to a friend. A shocking 2.5% would even considering euthanasia. 

New Research from Zigzag

New research from puppy training app, Zigzag, has uncovered an extreme knowledge gap when it comes to what is normal behaviour and development.

When asked to identify problematic behaviour in puppies aged eight weeks to three months old, 59% of UK dog owners identified ‘peeing on the floor’ as a behavioural issue, while nearly half considered ‘nipping’ (45%) and ‘chewing furniture and possessions’ (42%) an issue. 

For puppies aged 3 to 6 months, over third (38%) of owners considered ‘barking’ a behavioural problem and over a quarter (27%) mistakenly identified ‘crying all night’ as an issue. While ‘jumping up at strangers’ (37%) and ‘pulling on the lead’ (42%) were considered issues by many in puppies aged 6 months to one year old. 

“This research is incredibly alarming.” said Lorna Winter, Director of the UK Dog Behaviour and Training Charter and co-founder and head of training at Zigzag, and said: “These behaviours are all completely normal and the stats highlight the misguided expectations we place on the dogs in our lives. Over 3 million* of us are considering getting a puppy, however many have idealised views of companionship and simply aren’t prepared to put in the work when it comes to training or researching what is normal.”

Is my puppy normal?

In a bid to show new and prospective owners what normal puppy parenthood really looks like, Zigzag has launched a new campaign, ‘Is my puppy normal?’. The training app is asking owners to share stories, videos and photos, using the hashtag #MyNormalPup, of the moments that aren’t just cute and funny, but are a normal part of raising a dog.

Carolyn Menteith, accredited dog trainer and behaviourist with over 20 years experience said: “One of the questions I get asked constantly is, ’Is my puppy normal?’. In most cases, the answer is yes, but people often doubt themselves because they only see the good bits on social media and in movies. People rarely share how hard it can actually be, so many people’s expectations are completely out of whack with the reality. Owning a puppy is a journey, but if you are raising them properly from day one, the rewards are definitely worth it and it builds a strong relationship and a lifelong bond which can reduce the number of puppies being put up for adoption or rehomed. Not only that, but it prevents far more serious behaviour problems from developing further down the line”.

Two thirds (66%) of Brits think raising a puppy is comparable to raising a child – a figure that rises to 75% of dog owners, with only half (50%) of all dog owners said they were fully prepared for bringing a dog into their lives.

A world free of abandoned dogs

Zigzag is on a mission to create a world free of unnecessary abandonment of dogs and believes in educating people about the importance of providing puppies with the right training at the right points in their lives, which can reduce the pressure on rescue homes.

The app is 100% dedicated to puppyhood, teaching owners and puppies valuable life skills (not just tricks) at key points in their cognitive development to keep them safe and happy.

Zigzag is working with some of the world’s leading professional organisations, trainers and behaviourists to provide simple and accessible training programmes that are tailored to the breed and age of each puppy.

For more information on Zigzag, visit

Notes to editors

  • The research was carried out online by 3Gem research and insights
  • All surveys were conducted between 28th April – 3rd May 2022
  • The sample comprised 2,000 UK adults
  • All research conducted adheres to the UK Market Research Society (MRS) code of conduct (2019)
  • UK population stats from World Population Review

About Zigzag

Launched in March 2021, Zigzag is the #1 app dedicated to puppyhood coaching. Designed by a team of experts and backed by leading dog training & behaviour organisations, Zigzag uses data and technology to tailor each programme to the breed, age and environment of each puppy. Zigzag is the only app to be officially endorsed by five leading dog training & behaviourist organisations including PPG, ADPT UK, CAPBT, Animal Behaviour Australia and COAPE-UK.

The early stages of puppyhood are critical for a dog’s cognitive development, yet the majority of dogs don’t get the right training during this period – often leading to behavioural problems and in some cases, abandonment. Zigzag’s platform aims to make puppy training accessible & enjoyable to all, ensuring a lifelong bond and teaching them the skills to grow into confident and happy canine companions.

Each coaching programme is designed to be a complementary training aid alongside other trainers and behaviourists with access to Zigzag’s behaviour experts who are on hand 24/7 to offer tailored support to those who need it. Fundamentally, Zigzag recognises that puppyhood is a journey with its ups & downs, but with the right support, most owners can enjoy the ride.