This is the last of our three-part series on K9’s and Covid-19. First, we discussed how our four-legged friends were adapting to the pandemic. Then, we shared some tips and tricks for dog walkers and visits to dog parks during this time. To round things out, we will check-in on all those pups who were adopted at the beginning of the pandemic and describe how they have been faring.
Love at First Sight
You probably remember back in March when your social media feed was filled with pics from friends with smiling faces showing off their new puppies. Many people were happy that shelters all over the country were reporting bare cages as a result of mass adoptions as people were relegated to their homes for the foreseeable future. Nearly, three-and-a-half months later, what is the status?
What Are The Experts Saying?
Some experts voiced concern about the pandemic-prompted, pet-adoption trend. According to Jim Tedford, head of the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, “One of the concerns is animals currently in foster care being returned to shelters when their caregivers go back to work. There is concern that shelter intakes will skyrocket after the pandemic.” Barbara Lipson, who runs a private rescue group in Virginia, is quoted in a USA Today article as saying that Covid-19 could double or even triple the number of pets returned to shelters once the pandemic ends. While her organization is focused on cats, the concern is shared among dog shelters, as well.
How Can This Be Avoided?
First, a caveat. If you can’t afford your pet due to a loss of work, that is a different story. There are pet food pantries that can help. But otherwise, if you recently adopted a dog due to the Covid-19 pandemic without fully thinking through everything that comes with pet ownership, please don’t throw in the towel. You can succeed in pet ownership with some adjustments and we are here to help. Here are some tips.
1. Put Affection in Its Proper Place
Dogs require exercise (physical and mental) and discipline more than love, but humans provide these in reverse order. “Dog Whisperer”, César Millán, says the priorities should be exercise, discipline, and affection — in that order. To provide love and affection without the other two or more frequently than the other two is confusing for dogs.
2. Exercise Your Pet in the Morning
Exercising your pets in the morning helps to tone down their energetic, problem-behavior throughout the day. This is especially true for high-energy dogs. César Millán advises pet owners to walk their dogs for a minimum of 45-minutes each morning depending on energy level and age.
3. Be the Leader
Dogs are pack animals. They naturally seek out a leader in the pack and follow them. As a pet owner, you are that leader (or at least you should be). This requires correcting bad behavior like jumping, destroying things, disobeying, and being the one in control when your dog is on a leash. If you do not lead, your dog will.
4. Be Consistent
Consistency is key. If you underestimated what it took to train a dog and commit to a potential 13-14 year responsibility, you may have to put in a little more work, but you can get there. Be patient, but consistent with yourself and your pet and you will see results. When they obey, then you reward them (and yourself) with love.
And They Lived Happily Ever After?
The return of some of the adopted four-legged friends to shelters is an unfortunate inevitability. There will be those who adopted a dog at the beginning of the pandemic who will not live up to the responsibility. But if you apply the tips here, you will be rewarded with a loving, obedient pet, you will have rescued at least one dog from the shelter (and a potentially shorter life span), and you and your pet will be grateful.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice?
Contact Howard Blau.
Ventura County’s Favorite Law Office