Helping your lockdown puppy as restrictions start to ease
Puppies who were born and grew up in the midst of a pandemic have had a tricky start to life but here at Bark & Birch we know exactly how to help your lockdown puppy.
In the UK, we have now been in and out of lockdown for well over a year, with the amount of puppies being rescued or purchased in the lockdowns reaching a record high. Google Searches for ‘buy a puppy’ rose 115% and rescue charities saw a 60% increase in people enquiring about adopting dogs.
The important question that remains is how these lockdown puppies will cope as restrictions lift and life gets back to normal.
Lockdown puppies being returned
The heartbreaking fact is that during the first Lockdown, many people wanted a lockdown puppy or dog for company and a distraction throughout the pandemic and those long, dark and worrying days.
This decision may have been rushed as people tried to get a quick fix for loneliness and people on furlough or working from home had more time for their dogs and bad behaviour may have been glossed over as owners struggle with how to help their lockdown puppy.
Now, over a year later, after a lack of training because of restrictions and showing behavioural issues, many puppies and older rescue dogs are devastatingly being abandoned or returned by frustrated owners who didn’t take the time to realise how much responsibility having a puppy that turns in to a dog really is.
More worryingly, many puppies are being sold online and not taken to shelters where they can get the correct care and eventually loving, responsible and caring owners.
Searches for “buy a puppy” in the UK quadrupled in the middle of March last year, before doubling again in early May, while similar trends were recorded in the US. In many cases, irresponsible breeders raised their prices by thousands of pounds as demand for puppies shot up.
Then, in November, search terms related to selling puppies and dogs online – such as “sell puppy” and “selling a dog” – saw spikes on Google.
Adolescent and older puppies are being sold on the pet listings site Pets4Homes with captions explaining that the animals were recently bought, but weren’t a good fit. The majority of these dogs are listed for more than £1,500, with many £2,500 or higher. Some of these listings explicitly state that the owners hope to make back the thousands they initially paid for the puppy.
The responsibility of being a dog owner
Having a dog is wonderful and so rewarding but it is a big responsibility and the sad fact is that many lockdown puppies came as a welcome distraction during an unprecedented and dark time for many people but the implications of having and owning a dog were not considered, as well as the financial cost and the time needed to socialise and care for a dog.
All puppies and dogs need careful training and socialisation and lockdown created something of a perfect storm with dogs unable to socialise or see many other dogs or people and unable to have as much training.
Problems are now exacerbated as many owners go back to work and when going outside for walks, there are more people around, more people visiting homes and gardens and more distractions and panic points for a young pup.
A puppy that was used to having an owner around 24/7 and seeing hardly any other people now has to deal with a massive change in situation and routine which can totally throw any dog (even the well-behaved ones) off course.
A puppy that was spending all day, every day with only one or two owners now has to deal with seeing more people and busier parks and outside areas, plus more dogs that they may not be able to deal with adequately as a result of zero training.
On the flip side, Puppies who are now left for hours on end as owners return to work can suffer extreme separation anxiety, often leading to destructive behaviour out of anxiety and boredom, especially if they aren’t stimulated or enriched.
How to help your lockdown puppy
At Bark & Birch we believe that dogs and their owners deserve to have the happiest life together and it is never too late to start training a loved puppy. With the right training.
A dog or puppy can thrive and go on to be a delight rather than a nightmare, even if the behaviour they are displaying now isn’t great.
Remember, we as humans have gone through so much during this pandemic, but so have our dogs. The change in routine and underlying anxiety and feelings of hopelessness during this time will have affected our beloved pups too. Dogs are hugely empathetic and can pick up on even the slight changes in routine so this time has been hugely difficult for them, especially when dealing with a new home.
At Bark & Birch we are here for you to get your puppy on the right track as restrictions ease, doggy daycare or one to one sessions are strongly advised in order to get your puppy in the best possible place moving forward. Residential Board and Train for obedience while your puppy lives in with a trainer can also help correct a lack of training and instil basic obedience into your pup and in more difficult situations we also offer a full rehabilitation course
There truly are so many options to get your puppy or dog into great shape and we urge anyone reading this to get in touch if they have worries or concerns. We are only a phone call or email away and we can help your dog and any issues he or she has picked up in these strange and scary times we have all experienced.