For Lesley and Chelsea, the decision to get a puppy in early 2020 during the lockdown was a commitment they were excited to make.
“It was the beginning of quarantine and I looked at Chelsea one night and I was like, I want a puppy, I’m lonely.”
That’s when they welcomed a new addition to their family, an Aussie Doodle named Quinn.
“We call her quarantine Quinn,” Lesley Feldman said.
It was the perfect environment to raise a puppy since both Lesley and Chelsea work from home, but now, restrictions are relaxing and many people are heading back to the office and school.
“We’re talking about leaving her one or two hours and if we go back to work-life, we both kind of work more than 8-hour days, so it’s going to be a different kind of situation when figuring out what to do with her all day,” Feldman said.
Ross Levy is the co-owner of The Mindful Dog, a daycare facility in Van Nuys.
He’s noticed the dogs he cares for, especially puppies born during the pandemic, are experiencing anxiousness when it comes time to part from their owners, and it’s not just the pets.
“Now mom and dad are gone again, the dogs were used to them being home. The owner is getting nervous because all of a sudden is my dog going to be okay home alone. That nervous energy can transfer to the dog,” Levy said.
Animals can pick up on cues for when the owner is leaving and that’s when they start to get anxious.
“Most animals are going to look for signs. For example, you’re going to put on your work shoes or you will grab your keys or you will grab little things like a lunch bag. They will start noticing or associating that with oh, my owner is leaving,” said Guadalupe Ramirez, from L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control.
Ramirez says that association can generate depression or destructive behaviors when pets are faced with sudden separation.
Her advice to help ease the transition? Start small.
“It’s really good for you to place your animal in another room and just let them know you’re obviously going to be there … you know you are giving them that time to start slowly detaching themselves so that they’re not super concerned when you’re leaving for a longer period of time,” Ramirez said.
Animals services also recommends having lots of toys and treats available to occupy your dog during the day.
Taking them on walks before you leave and after you get home will also help them release any extra energy.