Increase in Dog Behaviour Problems in Lockdown

Increase in Dog Behaviour Problems in Lockdown

More Dog Behaviour Problems Predicted

Have you experienced dog behaviour problems since lockdown? Then you are not alone. All the changes have affected our dogs too. A survey undertaken by the Dogs Trust has predicted an impending dog behaviour crisis. Gray A (2020) indicates that 55% of owners in a survey reported the the normal dog routine had changed. The survey found that 26% of owners said that their dog developed a behaviour problem in lockdown. The Dogs Trust states that 82% reported more barking, or whining, the survey found there was 20 % more attention seeking, 41% over attachment issues and a 54% increase in dogs moving away if approached. Other behaviour problems can be experienced by regular owners just like you. The behaviour problem won’t go away unless addressed.

People being at home more and seeking animal companionship, or just a walking buddy, has created a massive increase in purchasing, or adopting dogs. Lockdown dictated restrictions on people being allowed out and implemented social distancing rules. The restrictions make it more difficult to socialise and habituate a young puppy, during the critical learning stage. It takes more input and innovative solutions, to give your puppy the experiences it needs. Some puppies have had no, or insufficient social and habituation skills, to learn about the world. These puppies will not have appropriate skills. A puppy that has not had sufficient socialising with people, safe dogs and animals, or had experiences, sights, sounds and smells of anything it may encounter in life, will be more fearful. The puppy may be more nervous of new places, fear may lead to wanting to get away, nervousness, or to use aggression. Repeated rehearsal of  being in a situation that the dog is fearful, or feels the needs to exhibit aggression, will reinforce the behaviour. The dog will use aggression again. If we chastise, or reassure our dog for aggressing, or being afraid, it will compound the problem. Bonner J (2020) Suggests that owners get advice on how to prevent, their dog being fearful. A consultation and behaviour plan can advise an owner, how to manage and help their dog.

Your dog may have previously been fine with your daily routine and going to work, being relaxed while alone. Many of us have changed the work routine, family routine, or began working from home. Dogs have got used to owners being home most of the time and interacting with their dog much more than they normally would. 

Puppies that have never been left alone, or dogs with a new routine of being with owners all of the time, may be vulnerable to exhibit separation issues, attention seeking, or other behavioural issues. The significant changes when the family get back to normal, or the owner stops working from home, will bring many sudden changes to the dogs world, that it is not ready to cope with. This separation behaviour exhibited will also impact on the dog owner relationship and family lifestyle. 

Bonner J (2020) suggested that to prevent separation issues developing. It is important that behaviour modification begins long before the normal routine, or return to work. I would concur with this. It will take your time and dedication, each case is unique and will need individual assessment and a tailored behaviour plan Anon (2020) Bonner J (2020).

Gray A (2020) fears that, a return to normal work routines, along with an increase in dog behaviour problems may mean owners give up their dog.  The Dogs Trust encourage owners to seek dog behaviour modification help for the various dog behaviour problems, that have evolved in lockdown. If you are experiencing dog behaviour problems. You are not alone. We can work together to make a difference. 

Anon (2020) dogs trust warn of impending crisis as new research shows the impact of lockdown on the nation’s dogs. Available from dogstrust.org.uk. Bonner J (2020) Concern lockdown will lead to rise in dog behaviour issues. Available from vettime.co.uk. Accessed 2/1/21. Gray (2020) Impending dog behaviour crisis following COVID-19 lockdown. Available from; Veterinary record.bmj.com. Accessed 2/1/21.