How to Acclimate Pandemic Puppies to a “Post-Pandemic” World
If you, like so many others, turned to pet adoption when the Pandemic began you likely find yourself with an almost two-year-old, toddler-like pup who could stand to be better adjusted in certain areas. For example, isolation in our homes means they weren’t exposed to as many noises or sights as they would have been during “normal” pre-pandemic times.
It is important to acknowledge there are plenty of dogs whose behavioral issues began well before the pandemic; as the result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other trauma – this is simply to say we should avoid attributing all “problem areas” from isolating at home when they could stem from various factors.
Main behavioral issues are cropping up and include but are not limited to:
- Pulling on walks
- Leash aggression
- Over stimulation
- Skittish behavior around children
- Anxiety/depression when left alone
As many adopted dog parents already know: undesirable actions (while frustrating) are not permanent. It unquestionably takes a good deal of patience and time but achievable results happen with consistent training.
So How Do We Help Our Dogs Adjust?
Foundations of healthy relationships between ourselves and our pets rely on love, effort, and respect. Loving that adorable face comes pretty easily. Putting in continual effort to training is a bit more difficult. However, a critical component to dogs’ success is consistency and routine. If even twenty minutes of training daily can be woven into your daily lives, you will be astonished at the progress they make in a short time.
The respect aspect is also easily understood – learning new skills and requiring mental and physical work from your dog takes a lot of energy from them. Accepting that there may be some failed training sessions or bad days mixed in with huge bounds in improvement will help you both get to where you want to be.
As our own routines are in flux, keeping theirs as steadfast as possible will help yield a harmonious home. The important part is that they get that release and time to explore, sniff, and play; and if you have a deadline to meet, their needs don’t change. Investing in a dog walker or day care a few times a week is also a worthwhile consideration – even if you still work from home.
A tired dog is a happy dog, and a happy (and therefore relaxed) dog yields a happy owner. Even though rigorous mental and physical exercise is a must for your pet, take the pressure off yourself to be the one who has to do it all!
Pandemic pups are wonderfully weird and will adjust along with the rest of us as the world begins to reopen. Dogs are extremely adaptable creatures (Google how they evolved to have eyebrows!) and their biggest joy is pleasing their owner/family.
The biggest takeaway is to stick with training and weave it into your routine as much as you can, carve out time for them to get the exercise they need, and don’t expect straightforward progress. They can always continue the learning process and it can be fun for both of you!