We spoke to vets, dog behaviour experts and dog owners across the UK, to compile the Bucket List and managed to detail a variety of experiences from the lavish (having a personal kennel), to the loving (appearing in the family portrait), to the more unusual (being a ring bearer at a wedding).
Janet Connor, former Managing Director at MORE TH>N said: “Being a responsible pet owner isn’t just about making sure your dog is fed the correct food and exercised regularly – it’s also about providing them with life experiences, having fun and sharing quality time with them. By unveiling the ‘Bucket List for Dogs’, we believe it will help pet owners strengthen the already solid bonds they have with their beloved pets.”
1. Flop down in front of a roaring fire
2. Go for a swim in the sea
3. Go mad in the snow
4. Do the ‘Beethoven shake’ and soak everyone around you
5. Dig up a flower bed
6. Have your own spot on the sofa
7. Accompany your owner on a run/cycle ride
8. Attend a family picnic
9. Help your owner bag a date
10. Cheer your owner up when they are down
11. Visit a different continent
12. Roll around in a really stinky, muddy puddle
13. Ruin a pair of slippers or shoes
14. Sleep in your owner’s bed
15. Wake your owner up with a big wet, stinky kiss
16. Chase a cat during a dream
17. Learn another language (so you understand the word for ‘sit’ in at least two languages)
18. Join in a football game in the park
19. Meet a famous dog
20. Try your paws at dancing
21. Learn to speak English (or at least convince your owner you can howl words)
22. Get filthy within 30 minutes of a bath
23. Howl along to your favourite song
24. Ride in an open top car
25. Learn to skateboard
26. Have a personalised Christmas stocking
27. Show the postman who’s boss
28. Try to follow a squirrel up a tree
29. Be a ring bearer at a wedding
30. Go to work with your owner
31. Have your own social media page (Facebook/Twitter)
32. Bound through a forest
33. Have a personalised Kennel
34. Go on a boat and get your sea legs
35. Play Frisbee on the beach
36. Receive your own birthday card
37. Steal someone’s lunch when they’re not looking
38. Create a diversion and steal another dog’s dinner
39. Watch an entire episode of ‘The Washing Machine’
40. Eat doggy ice cream
41. Receive a doggy birthday cake
42. Run a doggy marathon
43. Rip the stuffing out of a pillow or cushion
44. Unwrap Birthday presents
45. Watch Lassie on TV
46. Be in a family portrait
47. Have a stand off with your own reflection
48. Have a favourite local pub
49. Star in a YouTube video
50. Sleep in a boutique dog hotel
Once we completed the list we set about asking dog owners which of the 50 things their pets have partaken.
7% of British dogs have completed the full Bucket List with the most common canine experiences including going mad in the snow (46.5%), going for a swim in the sea (39%) and ‘doing the Beethoven shake and soaking everyone around you’ (33%).
Our in-land areas are home to the most quest-driven pups, as more dogs in the West Midlands have completed the list than any others (11%). East Anglian are close at their heels (10%), followed by canines in the Capital (9%).
Going some way to explaining why so many British dogs remain so un-enlightened, the new data also reveals why our pets might not have had the chance to carry out some of the exciting canine capers on our list.
Two reasons were cited more than any others - owners admitting to not thinking about doing such things with their dogs and claiming that they were ‘unaware of where, or how, to do them’.
With that in mind we've embarked on a crusade partnering with Visit England, Scotland and Wales to create an online guide that highlights the many dog-friendly places across the UK where the top 10 outdoor activities on the Bucket List can be fulfilled.
Talking about the campaign and the research findings, TV vet Marc Abraham said, “Make no mistake about it, we’re undoubtedly a nation of dog lovers but it seems a lot of owners have become stuck in a rut.
Taking our dogs on morning and evening walks during the week and out to a park at the weekend has become the crux of what we do. Understanding and appreciating the many different things you can do with your dog will greatly enrich both your four-legged friends, and you.”
(First published on 12/10/2012)