In light of the recent ITV Investigation into Puppy Yoga practices, we have chosen to release a statement to help give our clients, breeder partners and attendees confidence and peace of mind, in working with us at this time.
As the first and only fully licensed puppy therapy specialists in the UK, we want to highlight our viewpoint on some of the worrying concerns raised in the recent ITV investigation.
Paws in Work have always ensured that we do things properly. Obtaining our Animal Exhibits licence some years ago, and with a recent renewal of this licence, we are extremely proud of the processes and procedures we have perfected, which puts us worlds apart from those companies recently investigated.
Our mission as a company is “to create a better life for people and pups”. A mission we have stood by since the birth of Paws in Work. We work to achieve this mission by delivering on our three company pillars.
Helping to spread awareness of mental health in the workplace,
Highlighting ethical breeding practices in the UK
Vital early socialisation of puppies for their positive development.
As a growing team of close to 30 staff in 2023, we know just how much work goes on behind the scenes to deliver this mission, sustainably, ethically and honestly. We take pride in our carefully chosen pillars and have a number of teams in place, to develop and specialise in their chosen departments. From our expert event team, delivering the highest standards and safety, to our operations team dedicated to keeping our pups safe in the event spaces, we know firsthand, that to execute events adhering to Animal Exhibits License requirements and abiding by all relevant Animal Welfare laws, takes a vast amount of dedicated resource and intricate ways of working.
To operate sustainably and ethically would not be possible, without every single one of our staff members fulfilling very particular duties within Paws in Work. Sadly, not every company decides to operate in this way, and the bottom line is prioritised over safe running, in this instance, puppy welfare specifically.
As our business name suggests, Paws in Work operate solely alongside workplaces in a B2B (business-to-business) environment. We have never, and will never, choose to operate in a B2C (business-to-consumer) environment for multiple reasons, including issues around safety, welfare, financial stability, sustainability and more. To operate in this way, simply would not be viable, whilst adhering to the strict demands of working ethically and safely with our litters. This includes but is not limited to, Yoga events, Birthday parties, Weddings, Private House visits, Hen Do’s, just to name but a few. For companies to offer these services, straight away raises concerns as to the legitimacy and safe running of their practices, which in turn, is why there is sadly a lack of licences in place.
Our number one priority as a business has always been to simply put our puppies first. Any client who has been fortunate enough to experience our therapy events previously would have observed we operate in a very particular way, to truly socialise and benefit our pups, putting their needs and development above everything, whilst supporting the wellbeing of our attendees. Socialisation for Paws in Work is not just a buzzword that is used to excuse despicable operating practices and basic welfare needs, but instead, something we work extensively to develop with supporting experts in the K9 field.
This year alone, Paws in Work have invested close to £20,000 solely on the development of our socialisation programme, looking to implement the best ways of working to truly benefit all puppies in our dedicated care. Every staff member has obtained or is in the process of completing their OFQUAL accredited, Level 2 Principles of Puppy Socialisation qualification. Covering all aspects of puppy socialisation at any age across a variety of progressive development markers.
True puppy socialisation covers multiple factors, from the importance of scent work, freedom of choice, the importance of relationships, consensual play, positive reinforcement, the importance of handling, exposure to new environments, textures and levels, grooming practices and more.
Through our unique and tailored sessions, we develop each puppy individually through our socialisation programme, keeping track of any changes in behaviour whilst noting any areas of developmental improvement. This information is fed back to our breeder partners to help develop litters during their time with us and aiding in further development after they graduate from our programme, proving why the sessions are beneficial to our litters and executed in the safest, carefully structured manner. This socialisation programme is constantly monitored and developed through our experienced internal welfare and puppy socialisation department. We have learnt that socialisation is not linear, and requires detailed knowledge of specific breed requirements, as well as individual puppy needs.
Throughout the years we have worked with an extensive high-level client list, who demand a wellbeing partner they can trust, that focuses on these principles that we pride ourselves on, ensuring they are confident in us as a provider and a company that is not prepared to cut corners in any area, especially at the cost of puppy welfare. From our thorough pre-event risk assessments, to the careful selection and onboarding of only the most ethical breeder partners the UK has to offer, we pride ourselves on covering every element, to ensure your events are nothing short of excellent, safe, and extremely beneficial to our litters.
This excellence is highlighted in our impressive 5* Google reviews, across attendees, clients and breeder partners since 2019. Having reviews highlighting our teams' ways of working, and the unprecedented care and attention provided for our pups, is something we truly pride ourselves on. With this in mind, we ask you to please be vigilant in requesting licensing information from anyone working with animals, especially puppies, alongside the relevant insurance details required to protect the puppies at events. Basic liability insurance to cover attendees is not enough. Licensing is there to form an extensive list of standards to ensure welfare, travel, handling, care and attention are all managed to the highest level of excellence.
Sadly, as highlighted in the recent ITV Investigation, clearly not every company holds similar levels of standards or ethical practices when operating with young puppies. It is something we as a business have been trying to highlight and educate on for a number of years, providing regular blogs and social posts to educate the public on our own discoveries. This breakthrough in the media is welcomed with nothing but the utmost respect, and it is helping to educate those unaware of the red flags and inexcusable standards that are sometimes overseen by other puppy event-related companies.
In just the last month, Paws in Work have enforced copyright claims on content, used by particular puppy yoga companies to replicate our practices and mimic our event set-up, as well as reporting a further 2 business' operating without a licence and adhering to the basic safety requirements needed to run events with young litters. This highlights that as the leading supplier of Puppy Therapy events, we must continue to keep one eye open on those looking to cut corners, using our practices and branding as a way of imitating trust, irresponsibly.
The findings are inexcusable, and the viewing was one our team found particularly hard to digest, along with a vast majority of the population who were able to witness the investigation. We continue to educate attendees and followers on the dangers of unlicensed activity, which will remain evermore prominent in our approach.
Moving forward, we will continue to prove how we are different and show to our clients, attendees, breeder partners and followers that there are in fact companies out there doing things properly, not willing to cut corners at the expense of animal welfare for better profit margins and that there are people such as ourselves, that hold extremely high standards to simply put our pups first.
Anything else in our opinion, is simply not acceptable.
Thank you for your continued support and trust.
CEO & Founder - Paws in Work