Thanks to the pandemic, people were forced to spend more time at home than ever before. With this extra time, many people found themselves wanting to add a furry friend to their family to help keep them company. 

While we are happy to report that puppy and kitten adoptions and purchases increased significantly over the past year, we have now started to notice many new dog and cat owners surrendering their pandemic pets rather than finding a FURever friend.

Many people who made an impulsive pet purchase have felt unprepared for the realities and responsibilities of pet ownership. We encourage everyone to seek more information about pet parenting and training before trying to rehome a new pet. We hope that this guide will help you think about setting aside time and finances to ensure that these precious puppies and kittens don’t get left alone and under-stimulated once life goes back to normal.

Top Reasons For Pet Abandonment

As many people rushed into pet ownership early on in the pandemic, some failed to consider the long-term responsibilities and requirements. 

  • Did not expect pets to take up so much time
  • Unable to control pet behavioral issues
  • Not prepared for the routine and emergency costs

Tips for Training Your Pandemic Pet

Crate Training

If you know that you are set to go back to work in person soon, you’re going to want to start thinking about crate training. You can start by feeding your pet in the crate to get them more comfortable and then slowly progress to shutting the door. Eventually, you can start leaving the room for a few minutes at a time to build up their confidence.  

Separation Anxiety

Crate training goes hand in hand with helping pets that struggle with separation anxiety. Some of our favorite tips for helping reduce pet anxiety are:

  • Leave the TV or radio on for your pet during the day
  • Make sure that your pets have plenty of toys to play with – chew toys are always a good option for teething puppies
  • If you have a dog, make sure that they get plenty of playtime and exercise before you leave for work to help them burn off extra energy
  • Leave a comfy pillow or blanket on the floor or in their crate, so they have a familiar scent

Socialization

Your pets have been stuck at home for the past year just like you, so their socialization time with other pets has probably been reduced significantly. Socialization is a top priority for young pets, and it is important to expose them to a variety of environments while they are young and developing.

With social distancing protocols still actively in place, we realize that socializing with them will still be difficult- however, we recommend you try going outside for some fresh air, and maybe even to a pet-friendly park. Any exposure to other animals and environments will be a positive experience for your pet.

We also recommend scheduling a regular outing to doggy daycare. Our Doggie Day Camp is available for play 7 days a week. With a day filled with fun activities like Frisbee catching, ball chasing, pool lounging, and tug-of-rope, we promise a day they will never forget. 

Enrichment

Working from home may be keeping you busy, but you must not forget about your pet. Without their playdates and daycare visits, they have been missing out on a lot of enrichment opportunities. Enrichment activities like pet puzzles and interactive games are important to your pet’s health and can help them stay sharp and mentally fit. Some of our favorite at-home enrichment activities include:

  • Blow bubbles

*Fun Fact* Did you know that there was such a thing as peanut butter and bacon-flavored bubbles for dogs?

*Pro Tip* You do not want to put them in a group of dogs whose behavior toward sharing food is unknown (like at a dog park) because they can fight over the “food.”

  • Hide some treats
  • Teach new tricks

If you are looking for some peace and quiet while you complete your work at home, you could even try sending your dogs to school. We offer:

  • Puppy Training 101
  • Puppy Training 201
  • Dog Training 101
  • Dog Training 201
  • Fun-Agility
  • Puppy Intermediate School
  • Puppy Kindergarten

Pet Training Saves Lives

Pets stepped up to lend a helping paw during the pandemic, and now it is our turn to repay them. The PawHootz Training Academy is dedicated to bringing you the most relevant and effective training methods. We use gentle, reward-based training methods to ensure your pets are in a comfortable environment.

At PawHootz, we’ve also spent the last year refining our dog and cat Enrichment Programs to create a fun environment where pets come to learn and grow. These tools will allow us to introduce new games and learning opportunities for all of our Enrichment Palz.

Please consider physical and enrichment training at PawHootz before surrendering a pandemic puppy or kitten.

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