Pandemic puppies

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Many Utah citizens are falling more in love with pets after lots of home-alone time during the pandemic. 

Newsline reporter Amy Griffin talks about the perks and problems that come with a surge in “pandemic puppies.”

Griffin said because of the global pandemic, more people than ever now work from home. This means a spike in the number of people adopting a furry best friend.

A bull run for the dog market is evident from the relatively low number of animals in shelters compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Independent data tracker, “Shelter Animal Count,” says that shelter euthanasia dropped nearly 50% in 2020. For some, adopting a dog makes the loneliness of pandemic life easier to deal with. 

“I definitely have felt less lonely than a lot of people during this time,” said Kayla Maxfield.

But new puppy owners find that adopting isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 

“It’s just a lot, a lot, a lot of learning, and training ourselves to train him,” said Kayla.

Young dogs need socialization to develop properly. But because of the unique circumstances of the pandemic, they’re not learning how to be alone. 

As we move towards a life after lockdown, dogs may not adjust well and some could develop separation anxiety. This could lead to problem behaviors that owners aren’t equipped to handle. The humane society expects a “significant spike in surrenders” following the pandemic. 

The Maxfields themselves had to reluctantly surrender a shelter dog for behavioral issues before adopting their puppy. “I…don’t think it’s stopped us from wanting to adopt another dog from a shelter,” said Derek Maxfield.

And the Maxfields have a word for anyone considering adopting a dog: “It’s all about training and teaching and being patient with them,” said Derek.

Despite stress about what lies ahead, shelters’ managers are optimistic about the number of animals placed in loving homes. For those who have taken in a furry family member in the past year, trainers recommend allowing your pet to socialize with other canines frequently.

They also suggest getting your dog used to being home alone for short stretches of time. 

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