A few days ago I came across article in National Geographic by the author Martina Weishaupt.
She writes an extreme wave of returns in animal shelters is to be expected due to current events.
War in Ukraine, the resulting inflation and rising energy prices would soon force pet owners to take painful austerity measures.
In fact, Germany's animal shelters have been overloaded for months and some have already declared an admission freeze. They are bursting at the seams. So what to do with the "pandemic dogs"?
Corona pandemic, home office and dogs
It's probably not news to you that during the pandemic, many dogs were given a new home in German households.
People were allowed (or forced) to work from the home office and could thus well take over the acclimatisation of a new furry family member.
It was a nice idea to enjoy nature with your dog during the breaks and recharge your batteries.
Soon the flood of requests for dogs in Germany could no longer be satisfied and many more dogs from abroad came to us.
Illegal puppy and dog trade
Unfortunately, this period also encouraged the illegal puppy and dog trade.
The cute photo of the puppy or young dog understandably triggered strong emotions in us, so it often didn't matter much what past he had.
We could already see ourselves happily walking through nature with the new family member.
Of course, we had no idea that many of these puppy dogs were confronted with little or no environmental stimuli in the first few weeks.
Unfortunately, reality soon looks very different.
Imprinting or sensitive phase
You may have heard of the "imprinting phase" or "sensitive phase" in dogs.
This is the phase in which the puppies absorb a lot and what they learn is quickly stored in their memory.
It usually begins in the 3rd week of life and often lasts until the 20th week.
You can find a good description of this developmental phase at the Hundeschule Fellnase (only in German).
If puppies receive few (positive) stimuli during this time, this can also be formative for the rest of the dog's life.
Often these dogs can be insecure and fearful for the rest of their lives.
Very quickly it becomes clear that the new family member has difficulty with any new stimulus and more time needs to be invested in making him feel secure.
Most of the time, however, these are not reasons to give up a dog.
Get professional help! Don't give up on your pandemic dog!
It is helpful to look at what the dog is already doing well and reinforce these behaviours.
This also shifts your focus and strengthens your dog's self-confidence.
With a positive dog behaviour counsellor, dog therapist or dog trainer, you can learn to read your dog and his body language as a first step. This will help you to understand him better.
In the second step, needs-oriented management measures can be introduced slowly. It is important that they do not overwhelm your dog (and you).
I am happy to help you find a solution for your situation.
Only in very rare cases is it really necessary to give up your dog and this should be the last option!
We get to know each other and discuss your current situation and how I can help you.
This conversation doesn't cost you anything.
On my About me - page you can find out who I am and why relaxation in everyday life and mindful interaction with your dog are so important.