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As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across our country and the globe, many people took advantage of their time at home to adopt a rescue dog. It fills our hearts with joy to know so many Australians stepped up to empty our shelters. An adopted four-legged family member really raised spirits for those in quarantine and those that became ill.Unfortunately, as Australians return to work, we’re seeing a tragic rise in rescue dogs being returned to shelters. Why are so many pup parents parting ways with their newly adopted dogs? Behavioral issues is the number-one reason people return dogs to the shelter. The most common behavioral issue for dogs post-COVID seems to be separation anxiety, and it’s easy to understand why. Dogs go from spending 24/7 with their owners to being left home alone for 8+ hours at a time. Another reason Aussies are surrendering their recently rescued dogs is due to economic uncertainty and unemployment.
As you plan to return to work, prepare your pupper for his or her time alone. Ramp up to spending more time away from the house. Begin with just 30 minutes and progress to several hours of alone time for your dog. Try to give yourself a week or more of practice before you return to work. Do not make a big deal about leaving or arriving home. This lets your dog know this is just a normal thing--nothing to worry about.
Do you know why so many shelters recommend crate training? Crate training prevents destructive behaviors and, when used correctly, can help your dog feel more secure. It also reduces the number of potty accidents your pup has in the house.
To crate train your rescue dog:
Already Back at Work? Help Your Rescue Dog Overcome Separation Anxiety with Desensitization & A Dog Walker
A busy dog is a good dog. Hiring a dog walker to come over once or twice a day while you’re working can give your dog an opportunity for companionship and to release some of his nervous energy.
If you’re back at work and your dog is exhibiting signs of separation anxiety, work towards desensitizing him during your off-hours. We suggest desensitization before jumping into crate training as a natural progression.
Begin desensitizing your dog by starting your leaving routine. Once your dog shows signs of distress (whining, whimpering, darting toward the door), return to the sofa or elsewhere in the house. After practicing this a few times, your dog’s symptoms will begin to diminish.
Then, move onto exiting the house, but only for a few minutes. Your dog will likely be standing behind the door when you open it, again. Walk in and do not make a big deal about your return. Gradually, increase the time you’re outside, and your dog will slowly adjust to being alone. After a few weeks of good behavior, you can begin crate training your dog for a little added peace of mind for you and your dog.
There are ways you can reduce the cost of owning your dog to keep your beloved canine home. Most shelters will go above and beyond to help you keep your dog happy, healthy, and in a loving home. If you’re worried about affording dog food, switch to a better quality and more competitively priced doggie diet, or contact your shelter or vet to learn about local resources for pet food and vet services.
There are services out there like Pets of the Homeless, that are committed to helping keep dogs in their furever homes.
Don’t Let the COVID-19 Pandemic Turn into a Pandemic of Over-Filled Dog Rescues
The first step you should always take when adopting a rescue dog is to fully understand the commitment and cost of a dog. Fur real! Dogs are amazing, but they are a major responsibility. We hope that this preface and our adoption guide will help provide you with guidance in the adoption process.
There’s no doubt that adopting a rescue dog is great to do. When you choose to adopt instead of shop, you’re giving a dog a second leash on life.
While adopting a new best friend may seem straightforward, it can be more complicated than many people realise. Don’t stress--if you’re considering adopting a doggo, we have you covered. This guide will walk you through impawtant details like: how to decide if you’re ready to bring home a bundle of fur and fun; how to choose the right dog for you; how to prepare your home, schedule, and life for your new dog buddy; how to handle the first days, weeks, and months with your new best friend.
Bringing a new dog into your life and home is a huge responsibility and commitment. Most dogs live on average 10 or more years. This means you will need to provide for a dog for that long or longer. Dogs also come with expenses, physical needs, and time requirements, which over the course of a decade is a lot of work. Considering the top reasons dogs are returned to shelters can help you decide if you are truly ready to adopt.
Adoption is furever. That is why, you have to consider your choice carefully. Returning a dog to a rescue results in trauma, abandonment issues, and taking away an available spot for another adoptable dog. Don’t get caught in one of these or one of the more common reasons people return their rescue dogs to the shelter.
Can you really put a price tag on love? Yes and no when it comes to a dog. It’s at least very important to know what to expect as far as expenses are concerned. The average annual cost of owning and properly caring for a dog is about $1,500 per year or about $16,000 over your dog’s lifetime of ten years.
Dogs require your companionship and exercise. Most dogs need between thirty minutes to two hours’ worth of exercise every day. They also benefit from spending time with their owners beyond just exercising. A dog’s emotional wellbeing depends on feeling secure and loved. This can be snuggling or just hanging out watching television. Training your dog is also another great way to help a dog build confidence and strengthen the dog-owner bond.
Before adopting a dog, you will also want to find out if you or anyone in your home has allergies to dogs. Choosing a dog that has a hypoallergenic coat can help.
If you do not have the ability to pay for the expenses related to a dog or you do not have the time to spend with a dog, you may want to reconsider adopting one right now. There will always be lovable dogs in need of good homes in the future.
If you’re set on bringing a rescue dog into your life, but you’re unsure if you have the long-term ability to pay for her needs, you may want to discuss your situation with the adoption coordinator at your local shelter. They can help you make an informed decision based on your situation.
There are ways to navigate dog ownership that can cost less and require less time, though. For example, you can bring your dog to doggie daycare or see a vet that works through a charity. Providing your dog with preventative veterinary care and a healthy diet can also reduce your longterm veterinary expenses.
The adoption process can be fraught with a mix of emotions and confusion. When you walk into a shelter, it’s nearly impossible to not fall for each pair of puppy dog eyes. It can also be heartbreaking to fall for a pup that just won’t work with your current lifestyle or pets. Of course, there is also the swirl of apprehension and fear of being unprepared or unready to care for a vulnerable and very dependent living creature.
These feelings are normal, but be prepared to deal with them. Before beginning the search for your new dog, find someone you can talk to if you’re feeling sad, overwhelmed, or confused during the process. Getting those feelings out in the open can unburden you.
Keep in mind that you will want to focus on the positive aspects of finding your perfect best friend. If a dog just isn’t the right fit, remind yourself that there is a family out there that could make that dog very happy. And don’t worry if you feel the dog-rescue-blues, your new best friend will help you and your family feel better!
Dogs are a lot of fun. They’re a lot of work as well. Fostering a dog or dog sitting can give you a taste of dog ownership without the commitment. Caring for a dog in the short-term can provide you with the peace of mind that you’re going to be a great dog parent.
Coming to Peace with Your Decision
If you decide now is not the right time to adopt, it can help to pinpoint why. Once you understand how you came to the decision you made, you can make the choice to work towards adopting in the future or making the difference for shelter dogs in a different way.
If you cannot adopt but want to help consider: