PANDEMIC PUPS – How to help them adjust

Since March, humans have been bombarded with articles and studies documenting how our pets can save us during quarantine. To those of us who know first hand how comforting our dog’s presence is, this is no surprise. Dogs are helping us ward away the loneliness of social distancing, soothing our chaotic emotions, and distracting us with their cuteness.

But how are our pups adapting to all of these changes?

Like their human counterparts, each dog seems to be reacting uniquely to life amidst the pandemic. While some have been thriving with newfound attention from their families working from home, others can’t seem to understand why everyone is suddenly wearing masks and strangers no longer give them attention. Many dogs, once independent, are now anxious when their housebound owners DO venture out, leaving humans worried their dogs are regressing in their socialization.

With public attention consumed by talks of vaccines, reopening, and slowly returning to ‘normal,’ our dogs face the possibility of yet another tough and confusing transition.

Furthermore, for the millions of ‘pandemic puppies’ who were adopted during lockdown, quarantine life is all they know, and together with their families they may have an especially difficult time adjusting.

Dr. Ashley Opyt of Firehouse Animal Health Center in Texas told the Austin Statesman she observes a higher number of puppies without social skills than before the pandemic.

The key to helping our pups survive the changes ahead is preparing them! We, as humans, can help our pets by practicing for the eventual time when they need to be left alone more frequently, creating changes that are gradual rather than abrupt.

According to Opyt, repeated exposure to new things, new people and other animals in a safe way can really help dogs become used to just being at home with only one or a few people during this time.

This can mean taking a short daily walk around the block without them, bringing them to doggy daycare, or prepping them to be around more strangers by inviting a masked friend over for a couple minutes once it is safe to do so.

Regardless of if your dog is loving life during the pandemic or eager to get some extra sleep and alone time, dogs DO need socialization and can’t understand the complexity behind all of our sudden lifestyle changes!

At Downtown Dogs, we remain open throughout the quarantine, providing your pups with a safe place to socialize while many public parks and spaces have been off-limits. Essential workers and work-from-home-ers alike have continuously relied on our playrooms during this pandemic, giving their dogs a stable and fun social routine while their neighborhood friends are distancing.

We have also added a curbside “fetch and retrieve” option where we will come get your dog or bring them back to you, so you don’t have to leave your vehicle during these extraordinary times.

Whatever your dog’s needs, Downtown Dogs would love to be an outlet for fun, safe socialization during these confusing and stressful times for dogs.