Did you get a new puppy during 2019 or 2020?

What is this survey about?
We are a team of researchers at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) who want to improve the lives of puppies and dogs, but we need your help!

Puppy buying can be an exciting and emotional time for households, but we understand that buying and owning a new puppy can also present a range of challenges. We are interested in learning about the puppy buying process from owners who acquired puppies in 2019 and/or 2020.

By understanding how and why people buy puppies, we can learn where things go ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in that process. This will help future owners avoid pitfalls and help target advice to owners who have experienced problems purchasing their puppy.

Who can take part?
We would like to hear from dog owners who meet all of the following four criteria:
  1. Are over 18 years of age.
  2. Resident in the United Kingdom.
  3. Brought a puppy of any breed or crossbreed home aged under 16 weeks during 2019 or 2020.
  4. Purchased your puppy from a private seller (i.e. you did not breed them yourself, you paid for the puppy AND you did not obtain them from a formal rescue organisation, as we are interested in the process of buying a puppy).
N.B. Even if you no longer own your puppy/dog, we would still like to hear from you.
If you acquired more than one puppy (e.g. one in 2019 and one in 2020, or two puppies during 2020), we ask that you answer for whichever is currently the youngest of these. If two dogs are the same age (e.g. littermates) then please answer for the puppy whose name comes first alphabetically.

We ask for only one response per household; the survey would ideally be completed by the person most involved in the purchasing decision.
What does the study involve?
To take part, you simply need to answer a series of questions online. The survey will be open until 31st December 2020.

You will be asked to complete an ‘essential’ set of questions (taking approximately 10 minutes), and then given the option of completing an ‘extended’ set of questions (taking an additional 5 minutes approximately). This is your choice, depending on how much time you can devote to this study.

Once you have started the survey, you will be able to work on and answer the questions from the same device (e.g. smartphone, PC) until you submit the survey to us, after which you will no longer be able to access your responses.

Completion of the entire survey takes around 20 minutes of your time but can contribute hugely to a lifetime of improved welfare for dogs in the future.
What will happen to my information?
Your information will be kept by the RVC in accordance with GDPR. Only the scientists undertaking this study (Dr. Rowena Packer, Dr. Dan O’Neill, Dr. Zoe Belshaw, Dr. Claire Brand, Dr. Camilla Pegram) will have access to your data. This data will be anonymised and used for research and only anonymised results will be published. Publications may include quotes from the free text responses, but these will be anonymised and you will not be identifiable from any quotes.
Can I change my mind and withdraw my data?

Should you wish to withdraw your data from the study at any point, please contact Dr. Rowena Packer (rpacker@rvc.ac.uk). Any data that you request to be withdrawn will be permanently deleted.
What if taking part raises concerns?
If this study raises any concerns about your dog's welfare, then please contact a veterinary surgeon to discuss. Resources on specific canine welfare issues raised will also be included at the end of the survey.
If this study raises any concerns about your own mental health, then please access these NHS resources:


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This study has received ethical approval from the RVC Social Science Research Ethical Review Board (SR2020-0259) and is generously funded by the Animal Welfare Foundation. If you have any further questions about the study, please contact Dr. Rowena Packer (rpacker@rvc.ac.uk).