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Contest Searches for Real Dogs to “Pawthor” How-To Handbook

By jim Published: August 28, 2009

ST. LOUIS – Forget about doggie day care, spas and designer clothes. According to a recent national survey of American dog owners, the majority say they are pampering their pooches with more simple pleasures, including belly rubs, walks and games of fetch.

The survey, which was conducted by ALPO® brand dog food, reveals that just two percent of dog owners say they have ever pampered their pooches by taking them to a doggie spa and only one percent says they have ever pampered their dog with a professional massage.

When it comes to doing special things for their four-legged friends, 79 percent of dog owners say they feed their dogs treats, 73 percent say they give them belly rubs and 69 percent take them for walks. And, when asked when their dog is happiest, 62 percent of owners say it is greeting them when they come home.

“It’s time to let dogs be dogs again,” said Brian Kilcommons, renowned dog expert and author. “Our four-legged friends really don’t care who designed their collar or what’s happening at the doggie spa. They are happiest when they can express their true inner-dogness – instinctual behaviors including sniffing, digging, eating, playing and sleeping that are in their DNA and define what it means to enjoy a dog’s life.”

In addition to greeting them when they come home, the dog owners surveyed say that their dog is happiest when being taken for a walk or a run (52 percent), receiving treats (48 percent), napping on the couch (32 percent) and chewing a bone (30 percent). And, 78 percent of dog owners say the current economy has not affected their dog’s lifestyle.

“We’re inviting dogs across America to celebrate their real dogness by sharing their stories and inspiring others about what it means to be 100 percent, real, lovable dog,” said Kilcommons. “The winning pawthors’ stories will be published in a common sense guide that should be required reading for dogs and their owners for generations to come.”

The ALPO® Real Dogs Tell It Like It Is contest kicked-off on August 11 and will end on Monday, September 28. Dogs are invited to submit a story (ghost written by their owner) on www.ALPOTellItLikeItIs.com about their favorite real dog behavior, such as eating, chasing, chewing, drooling and napping, and why it’s time to let dogs be dogs. Stories must be 300 words or less and the entry must also include a color photo of the dog. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest. The entries will be judged by Kilcommons and an independent judging panel based on the following criteria: best description of a “real dog” behavior (50%); and originality and creativity of entry (50%). Up to 20 winners will be selected and their stories will be featured in the first-of-its-kind “how to” manual for real dogs that will be published in 2010.

For more information about the contest and how to enter, visit www.ALPOTellItLikeItIs.com.

Survey Methodology

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted June 29 – July 9, 2009. For the survey, a national sample of 713 dog owners aged 25 and older from Ipsos’ U.S. panel were interviewed online. The dog owners surveyed have at least one but no more than four dogs and are not dog breeders. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the U.S. adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. A survey with an unweighted probability sample of 713 and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.7 percentage points 19 times out of 20 of what the results would have been had the entire adult population of these dog owners aged 25 and older in the United States had been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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