Over a year ago, the world experienced a pandemic that kept most of us home with limited abilities to travel. Parks, stores, and even walks around the neighborhood were limited. Social groups, meetings, and gatherings at residences were almost nonexistent, and people found themselves in isolation. 

Many people began working from home, and children attended school virtually. During this time, families and individuals brought puppies into their homes. Having the time and being home all day seemed like an ideal time to introduce a pet. However, it came with unforeseen consequences. As the pandemic restrictions lifted and people started leaving their homes, they became surprised by their dog's behavior. As K9 trainers, the term COVID Dogs was soon known among the community, as clients reached out to help them through this new and surprising behavior.

Like their two-legged human companions, pets, during the pandemic, were also limited to outside travel and had minimal social interactions, and some had not set foot outside of their four walls and backyard. Since many people limited company visiting, dogs only knew their humans, having never met anyone else. The confidence built inside their home and backyard was great, but confidence outside those perimeters did not exist.

Due to this perfect storm of circumstances, after restrictions were lifted, attempts to take dogs to the park, public areas or bring guests into their homes caused a significant amount of fear and anxiety. Dogs experiencing these things can present behavior often interpreted as aggression; barking, growling, and hair standing up on their back. If not handled properly the fear can be exasperated causing them, to snap or lunge at what causes their fear.

Since this behavior is not often understood, it can result in handlers mishandling the behavior and the situation. Forcing dogs into situations that are causing them fear, physically punishing them for behavior done out of fear, or simply isolating them further only increases the undesired behavior. While this behavior can be alarming and frustrating, there is a way to help their introductions into the world. If mishandled, the behavior will likely not improve or escalate and could result in biting.

Here are a few tips for introducing a Covid Dog to the world:

- Start slow with walks around the neighborhood or local park.

- If a dog shows fear in any situation, it is best to remove the pet from the situation and reassure them. 

- Have company over and give the dog treats. Have them approach slowly and always allow a dog space to leave the situation.

- Understand that surface changes such as gravel and pavement can be startling to a dog. Proceed slowly and at the dog's pace. 

- If a dog has limited experience in a vehicle, start with short and positive trips.

- Invest in training and consult a trainer in regards to any behavioral concerns 

The pandemic changed the world, not only humans but our four-legged companions as well. Understand that patience will be vital in helping a dog learn about the world as it opens up. While fear and anxiety can be interpreted as aggression, it is more likely that a dog is experiencing fear or anxiety. 

Consult a trainer if there are concerns that the behavior could escalate or is aggressive in any manner. It is essential to remember that training will strengthen a bond between you and your K9 companion, help them build confidence and put you both on a path to a better life.

Blue Cord K9


"Always to the Top"