Pandemic impact on dogs: More adopted, but some hiccups

May 6, 2021, 1:51 PM
pandemic dogs...
"Buttercup" is one of the dogs currently up for adoption in the Salt Lake area. Animal advocates recommend looking into breed and training information to help a new shelter pet adjust to life on the outside. Photo: Salt Lake County Animal Services.

SALT LAKE CITY — Some cities report seeing more shelter dogs returned after the pandemic adoption boom. While that’s not the case for Salt Lake City, animal advocates say they are seeing a number of “teenage” dogs returned either for lack of training or socialization. 

“People can adopt these hard-to-adopt dogs,” said Salt Lake County Animal Services spokesperson Callista Pearson. “Their behaviors are workable. It just takes you having patience and being willing to commit time and energy.” 

Pandemic dogs acting up? Ask for help

She pointed out many shelters provide resources for pet parents to help their adopted dogs adjust to their new life. Pearson recommends anyone considering returning a shelter pet contact them first for that assistance. 

“A lot of us have advice for trying to help prevent that from happening because your dog — the best place to be, usually, is still in your home,” Pearson said. “I think, just with the right tools, we can help people be more successful and help their pets be more relaxed and be great dogs.” 

Pearson said those “teenage” dogs, typically between a year and two years old, can go through separation anxiety when their owners go back to work. 

“These dogs now, you know, they have a lot of anxiety when you leave the house, so they have separation anxiety,” she said. “They don’t have a lot of manners, and they have what we call ‘stranger danger.'”

Her advice? Learn about your dog’s breed and specific needs to provide structure and training. 

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Pandemic impact on dogs: More adopted, but some hiccups