AN Evesham-based animal charity is calling on Vale dog owners to help them in a ground-breaking study.

The Dogs Trust, based at Pitcher’s Hill, Wickhamford, is calling on all new puppy owners to sign up to its landmark Generation Pup study to help learn more about our four-legged friends and improve dog welfare for future generations.

Have you ever wondered why some dogs react to fireworks and some don’t? Or why some dogs respond more strongly to being separated from their owners than others? These and many other questions are being explored in the new study.

The study is tracking puppies through to adulthood, to learn how their early experiences and environment affect the development of health and behaviour issues in later years. Participants will also be able to keep a record of their dog’s journey.

Dr Rachel Casey, the trust’s director of canine behaviour and research, said: “Generation Pup is the first study of this nature and breadth, enabling us to gain multiple new insights and understanding about our canine companions.

“We are tracking each puppy’s early experiences - from the age they joined the family and their first encounters, such as travelling in a car and meeting other dogs, to how they respond to new things they come across, what they eat, how far they walk, and potentially even whether characteristics such as being left- or right-pawed influence behaviour.

“We are looking at a whole range of different health and behavioural conditions as puppies grow into adulthood right through to old age – and by collecting lots of information about each pup’s early experiences, we can understand to what extent these influence what happens later in life. Generation Pup includes all breeds of puppies from anywhere in the UK; our only requirement is that they’re registered on the project before they are 16 weeks old.

“The more puppies we have signed up to the study, the greater potential we have for learning about dogs, so if you have a puppy under 16 weeks please get in touch. All the information is used to help scientists understand more about the reasons our pets become unhealthy, or develop problem behaviours so these conditions can be prevented.”