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The Pandemic Effected My Dog

We all know that the pandemic has effected the mental health of so many people of all ages and walks of life. But it has also effected dogs. During that first long lockdown especially. Dog training, doggie daycares, even groomers were shut down, yet the shelters were emptying fast with record number adoptions. Breeders found a spike in sales and families being added to wait lists which fueled the backyard breeders to fill those gaps that ethical breeders couldn't fill. The result was an abundance of dogs and puppies of all ages with zero socialization skills, developing separation anxiety and training being unavailable. Not to mention the adopted dogs who needed help working through past traumas and negative experiences. Even my own dogs were effected. My service dog suddenly had limited options to further her training as we were limited to only grocery shopping and training trips were not an option. While she didn't backslide thankfully, just got a little rusty in some situations, her brother who is a prospect did. He had been making massive progress until the lockdowns. Each time things opened up it was the cycle of get back out there and make some progress only to be put into lockdown and backslide again. You see he isn't as naturally confident as she is. So while building confidence with him isn't very difficult, the constant backslide was a struggle for him. He is still working towards getting back to where is was two years ago. I have not given up on him. He will get there and is once again making progress.

Many of you have had to seek out help with dealing with some new behaviors your older dogs have developed that did not exist before. The number one behavior being separation anxiety. Those that got new dogs while working from home during the pandemic are also dealing with this as they return to work and their social lives. You see, our dogs have adjusted to us being home all day. Now that many of us are returning to our lives as they were before, our dogs are having a hard time adjusting. They don't understand why suddenly you are gone and they are left behind all alone. It is up to us to help them get through this. Take it slow, and know when it's time to reach out for help. And remember to be patient, kind and understanding. Anxiety can be worked on and many times corrected completely. Lack of socialization and exposure can be corrected. With the right plan, this too shall pass.

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