Behavioral issues “Pandemic Puppies” Face


Photo via DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/Getty Images

Heidi Gilman, Staff Writer

After the pandemic began, many people raced to adopt forever companions for their households without thinking about what would happen once things returned to normalcy.  Having a dog or cat gave new owners something to do at home during COVID-19, and helped reduce stress levels. With more and more companies urging people to go back in person, new pet parents have to face behavioral issues with their pets.

According to INC, approximately 75% of businesses want their employees to return to office buildings. For pets, this is a drastic change from the past two years of remote work, and 24/7 time spent with pets. According to a poll done by Michigan University, nearly 10% of Americans adopted new dogs, which means a lot of pets are in for a major change. 

Separation anxiety is something many experienced dog owners know all about. It happens when dogs become distressed because the human they are attached to leaves. It leads to escape attempts, house destruction, barking, pacing, whining, and even self injury. To help dogs through this, dog owners need to spend focused time training their dog to associate  being alone with a calm, peaceful feeling rather than panic. 

Another behavioral issue pet parents are facing is undersocialization. An article written by Auburn university of Montgomery states, “The first three months of a puppy’s life are extremely important to its social development.” With COVID-19 raging across the US, many new dog owners felt unsafe being around strangers and family. This negatively impacted “pandemic puppies” because they had very little to no social interaction with others of their species. Undersocialization leads to fear, aggression, and extreme stress when introduced to people, dogs, or new environments. 

While there is no easy fix to an entire generation of dogs suffering from undersocialization and separation anxiety, this is an important reminder to think about before adopting a pet. They are loving animals that need lots of attention and training. If you can’t properly care for a dog, you don’t deserve to adopt it. Spend lots of time researching the costs of pet ownership, and the best breed for your current situation. If now isn’t the best time to adopt for your current situation, you can always volunteer at local shelters. The tiniest helping hand you can lend to a dog will go a long way in transforming their life.