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Pet ‘Paw-Renting’ 101: What’s Your Style?

Blog Home Sep 4, 2020

When it comes to parenting styles, you may already be familiar with terms such as ‘Helicopter’ or ‘Tiger’.

But have you also heard about styles such as the ‘Traffic Light’, ‘Sloth’ or ‘Entranced’?

We recently teamed up with top pet behavioural expert Professor Peter Nevile to examine the ways our Itch Pet dog and cat owners interact with their furry friends, and the results are pretty fascinating.

We found that, when it comes to their beloved family pet, almost three quarters of pet parents (66%) admitted they would fit into a particular parenting style.

66% of pet parents admitted they would fit into a particular parenting style.

Thanks to our study of over 1,800 UK pet parents, we’ve been able to identify popular ‘paw-renting’ methods, such as the ‘Hy-Paw-Chondriac‘, the ‘Goose‘, the ‘Pinot Noir‘ and the ‘Sergeant Major.’

The ‘Traffic Light‘, the ‘Entranced‘, the ‘Sloth‘ and the ‘Constable‘ were amongst the most popular, while the ‘Paws-Off Parent‘ and the ‘Baggage Handler‘ complete the top ten most typical pet paw-renting styles.

Speaking about the results, Professor Peter Neville said that ‘pet parent personas’ have become more common in line with our growing desire to humanise pets and to ensure they feel like one of the family.

“It’s fascinating to discover that there are clearly different categories or ‘personas’ when it comes to pet paw-renting,” he said.

“From the data we’ve analysed, the ‘Traffic Light’ is the clear winner, with 28% of pet parents adopting this style. This is good – it shows that most pet parents are sensitive, caring owners.”

So what exactly are the top ten parenting styles? Here’s our round-up from most to least popular:

The ‘Traffic Light’ – 28%

Itch Pet Parenting Style: The Traffic Light

‘Traffic Light’ pet owners have a healthy balance of rules and freedom. Pets might be given the red light when it comes to surfaces or the bed, but these owners enjoy nothing better than giving them the go-ahead to roam freely in the park.

Traffic Light parents have also mastered training essentials like sit, stay recall, which helps to build trust between owner and pet, and builds confidence in offering a patient response to the amber light signal ‘wait for it…’, or ‘watch me’.

Traffic Light parents will also guide their pets away from danger, but love giving them the green light to enjoy themselves.


The ‘Entranced’ – 15%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Entranced

Entrancers have the best intentions, but as soon as their pet locks eyes with them, they’re toast…as they turn into putty in their pet’s paws.

‘Entranced’ owners are at their pet’s complete beck and call, even if it’s 4am and their furry friend is sat on their chest, demanding breakfast.

Common phrases an entranced pet parent might hear themselves muttering might be “You need to nip out for a wee at 5am? OK, let’s go” or “You need to eat right this minute? OK, let’s see what we can find.”


The ‘Sloth’ – 14%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Sloth

The most laid back of all pet parenting styles, the ‘Sloth’ style turns away from strict training in favour of encouraging pets to work things out for themselves.

Dogs and cats who are lucky enough to have a sloth for a paw-rent are the envy of the street pet’s life – as they are spoilt rotten.

These pet paw-rents are the champions of chill – they’ll turn a blind eye to the odd indoor accident, their furry friend wandering on a kitchen surface, or completely ignoring an abrupt recall. After all, rules are meant to be broken, right?


The ‘Constable’ – 13%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Constable

These pet owners have a strong focus on law and order – they’re firm but fair.

Obedience and good manners are imperative in a Constable’s household, and they have a clear set of signals to help their pet understand their wishes.

Constables are also very responsible when it comes to grooming, exercising, diet and well-being.

They also take a very responsible approach when it comes to the way they allow their pet to greet and interact with visitors.

Meal-times are often a prescribed amount of food (served at a specific time), and is served in the same special place each day.

Pets belonging to Constable parents are not treated like indulged children.


The ‘Hy-Paw-Chondriac’ – 9%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Hy-PAW-Chondriac

Almost one in ten pet parents admitted to being ‘hy-paw-chondriacs’ – those who have rushed their pooch or pussy to the vet on so many occasions, they’re now on a first name basis with the receptionist.

Usually, nothing is wrong, but the journey is always worth it ‘just to be sure’.

Hy-paw-chondriacs like to ‘cheer’ their dog or cat up with treats (perhaps more than they should!) but they’ll always put their pet’s health first.


The ‘Goose’ – 7%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: Goose

Just as geese are fiercely protective of their young, ‘Goose’ pet parents go all out when it comes to safe-guarding their cat or dog.

A puppy belonging to a goose parent is never under or over dressed – the Goose parent will have an outfit ready to cater for all weather conditions.

Geese parents will often limit time spent away from their pet, or they will arrange for the next best thing – people to pop in and check on their pet regularly (even if they are only alone for a few hours!)

A goose parent will also happily take a day off work when their pet is poorly, and they are not afraid to confront other pet owners if a pet oversteps the mark in the local park.

When it comes to webcams and pet monitors, the Goose parent will either own one already, or they wish they had one so that they and their pet don’t start to miss one another.


The ‘Pinot Noir’ – 7%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Pinot Noir

Thanks to their owner’s love to please and have that love reciprocated, these pets enjoy the finer things in life.

A ‘Pinot Noir’ parent will cut back to sustain their pet’s expectations, and they’ll often go above and beyond for their pet’s creature comforts.

Whether that’s personalised or even home-made food, regular physio appointments or bespoke supplements and nutrition, the Pinot Noir parent will only have the very best for their precious pet.

Splashing out on this season’s designer rain mac is likely a regular occurrence, and no expense is spared on Buddy or Bertie.

If boarding an aircraft, these pets would most certainly be turning left.


The ‘Paws-Off Parent’ – 3%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The ‘Paws-Off’

The ‘Paws-Off’ parent personifies the old proverb that it ‘takes a village’ to raise a child.

Whether it’s parents, neighbours, friends or even your colleagues – the Paws-Off parent will have a huge support network who are instrumental in the upbringing of Daisy or Duke.

Their pet fits into their lifestyle as opposed to dictating it.


The Sergeant Major – 2%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Sergeant Major

These pet parents demand respect from their pet. Their four-legged friends will often have an expert grasp of commands, and control and regimented ways of behaving are second nature.

Consequences for failure to comply can include loss of privileges, or a verbal dressing down.


The Baggage Handler – 1%

Itch Pet Parenting Styles: The Baggage Handler

This one is exactly as described. If the owner has a bag on their arm, their dog or cat is almost certainly in it. The Baggage Handler loves being close and going on adventures with their pet, but Fido’s comfort and security is always a top priority.

Baggage Handlers will also often spend a great deal of time carefully checking that the ground is safe before lowering their pet onto it.


So, which pet parenting style is the best?

At Itch, we have a dedicated community of over 70,000 pet parents, who are not only keen to ensure their pets get the best flea and worming subscription on the market, but also often turn to our team to talk about the trails and tribulations of raising their four-legged friends.

It’s been well-documented that 202 has seen a surge in people taking the plunge and adopting a cat or dog, so there are many new owners who have had to adapt and learn how to raise their new family member and be the best pet parent possible.

Just like raising a child, certain decisions have to be made early on when it comes to acceptable behaviour in the home and how it is taught.

But it’s important to remember that it’s not a ‘one-size-fits-all’; everyone has their own pet paw-renting ‘style’, and ultimately the best outcome is always a healthy, happy pet.