During the COVID-19 pandemic dogs spent significantly more time with their human families and little-to-no outside dog-on-dog meetings and playtime opportunities as humans maintained social distancing. Because of this, many dogs now experience separation anxiety when the family heads off to school, work and even shopping. Puppies adopted during the pandemic didn’t have the opportunity to interact with other dogs and now many don’t know how to play, and are afraid of, or leash aggressive towards, other dogs.
Dog-on-dog experiences help puppies and dogs develop and enhance their social skills – sharing, taking turns, following rules, playing. Dogs learn that sniffing bums is what dogs do before they sniff other dogs’ faces. They also learn that putting paws on another dog’s back and one’s head over another‘s shoulders is rude behavior. Their peers teach them this.
Dogs need to spend time with their own species. Try not interacting with anyone all day. No phone calls, no TV, no music, no raiding the fridge, no video games or Zoom calls. This is what you’re expecting your dog to do and not get bored. Or develop anxiety. Or develop destructive behaviors from boredom.
Dogs need to have positive interactions with other dogs for their mental health. They’re not human, but another species. They need to interact with other canines and just enjoy being a dog.