Ideas For Your Pandemic Puppy Now That We’re All Going Back to Work

Hype for “pandemic puppies” went sky high in 2020 when we were all forced into lockdown and given orders to stay at home to stop the spread of COVID-19. According to a survey by Rover, by October 2020, one-third of people in the United States had welcomed a dog (or a cat!) into their life since March. I mean, the perks of having a dog during a stressful time are real, which might explain why this was one of the biggest waves of pet adoption in recent history.

Thankfully, the alarmist headlines warning of “massive pet abandonment” post-pandemic has never come to fruition. Most owners decided that their pets became like family. But, our next transition of easing back into the world may be rough—especially for those puppies.

Being home 24/7 with a puppy may have been novel for us during a pandemic, but for a puppy that was all they really knew. Should we be worried about the potential separation anxiety they might feel now? And, what can we do about it?   

If you adopted a dog during the pandemic and you’re worried about this next transition period, start with small cues to acquaint your pet with “old movements” like putting on your coat and picking up your keys. Add a little spaciousness in your time together by taking a short walk around the block without your dog now and again. This may also look like introducing new routines like crate training, designated doggy daycare days for socialization and fun, or even experimenting with supplementing CBD.

If it’s important to you to understand what your dog’s behavior is like when you leave the house, a security camera app with video and/or sound detection is an easy thing to install and monitor right from your smartphone.

To be clear, there’s a difference between a dog who has never known that you used to leave for the office in the morning and would come home eight hours later and a dog that has genuine separation anxiety. Trainers, dog behavior specialists, and even your veterinarian can be a useful resource to determine a course of action for your pet, depending on their behavior.

The transition period is upon is. The good news is while the world is still opening back up this is the time to slowly—very, very slowly—practice and train your dog (and you) for the reality ahead.

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