The management guru, Peter Drucker, once wrote that “plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work”. Never was this truer than in lockdown. How many of us have set out with good intentions, to take more exercise, to learn a new skill, to read War and Peace, only to slide into apathy, unable to resist the lure of another box set or a tasty snack? Even those working from home are not immune, 49% of them admitting that their snacking has increased. Inevitably, the lockdown lard appears around our midriff.
Sadly, it is not just humans that have been piling on the avoirdupois. Research just released by that inestimable charity, Guide Dogs, has revealed that the nation’s pooches have become sausage dogs over the last year, piling on an average of 3.3 kilograms, the equivalent of 100 jumbo jets if the results are extrapolated across the nation.
The reasons are revealing. Counter intuitively, respondents to the survey reveal that they are taking their furry friends for walks less often than before, partly because of the demands of juggling working from home and home schooling, the inability to call upon the services of a professional dog walker and concerns over dog theft. Absence of suitable spaces to exercise the dog means that London dogs have piled on a whopping 5kg whereas those in Yorkshire and East Anglia are positively anorexic, with a 2.4kg weight gain.
Then there are the doggy treats. Spending more time with their dog, the inability to resist their puppy dog eyes, the need to keep it quiet when on a conference call or when someone turns up at the door or the guilt of having a snack oneself means that respondents all too readily reach for the doggy treats. Male owners are more susceptible to taking the easy way out, their dogs averaging a 4.1kg weight gain compared with those owned by women that have added just 2.8kg.
With the better weather and the gradual, and dare we say irreversible, easing of lockdown restrictions, help may be at hand with 44% of respondents claiming that they will get their dogs out more, perhaps even ensuring that they get the one hour of exercise they need a day.
To reinforce their message about the need for exercise, Guide Dogs are launching in May their Walk Your Socks Off challenge, challenging us all, with or without pooches, to set a step target and raise funds to support children and adults in the UK with sight loss. You never know, your furry friend could soon be as fit as a butcher’s dog.
For details of the initiative, follow the link below: