Dog days of this summer


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With a lot of people working from home during the pandemic, dogs are getting used to having their family at home 24/7. But what’s going to happen when things return to “normal.”

Experts say some dogs are likely to suffer a kind of shock when people start returning to their places of work.

KELOLAND News recently told you about how the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society has been extra busy during the pandemic with a lot of families adopting dogs because they’re working from home and looking for companions.

Others bought dogs, like little Bella here, from reputable breeders.

“I got Bella at the end of March, because I knew I was going to be spending more time at home for quite awhile, and I knew this would be a perfect time to bring a dog home and train it and spend its first few weeks with us at home,” Jackie Blumenauer said.

Jackie Blumenauer is a realtor and has been working from home since mid-March. She knew Bella would be a perfect fit for their home.

“I did a lot of research on dogs that are small enough to take camping and doesn’t shed and everything that we wanted in a dog to deal with the grandkids and stuff so that’s how we ended up with her,” Blumenauer said.

But she has concerns how Bella will react when she finally goes back to her office.

“I think it’ll be hard on her, lucky for my job I can work from home, as much as I want, it’s still office time, but I can leave her in small times and build up to being gone, all day long,” Blumenauer said.

“It’s a good idea until they go back to work, and then the pets just become a number,” Gunlicks said.

Dog behaviorist Tom Gunlicks isn’t worried so much about Bella, but he is worried about the dogs that were adopted from the Humane Society.

Gunlicks doesn’t want to see any pets go back to the Humane Society, but he says new pet owners might run into some difficulties when they go back to work.

“Once they get back into their routine, the dogs kind of questions it a little bit and oh my goodness they start having issues,” Gunlicks said.

Gunlicks says dogs may bark more or may become a little more aggressive or forget about their house training.

“I see it all the time, but with this dynamic, it’s going to happen even more, if you’re doing it to have something to do right now while they’re home quarantined and then the minute they’re not quarantined anymore, the dog becomes reactive to it; you’re going to see a lot of dogs going back to the Humane Society,” Gunlicks said.

The Humane Society says that’s one of its concerns too.

“Our biggest fear is just having a very large influx of animals in a very short amount of time, we can handle quite a few animals, but usually during the summer we see an uptick in intakes and we really haven’t seen that yet and once everything starts to open up we are afraid we are going to get all that backlog that we usually get this time of year and it’s all going to happen at once,” Kennel Staff Team Leader for the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society Jennifer Nemec said.

She says pet owners need to keep this in mind…

“The biggest advice I can always give people is while they’re getting used to that dog, that dog is also getting used to them, so having a lot of patience and do some training and communication work; learning to understand the dog and his needs and meeting those needs and getting them into a routine so it can continue to do so once everybody starts to go back to work,” Nemec said.

For those who have a new pet and do go back to work, Gunicks offers this advice too.

“What people can do is make the dog think it’s okay when you come home bring something special home rotisserie chicken, roast beef; something like that and just sprinkle a little bit on their food for a few days and keep doing that for about three weeks if you go back to work full time, then the dog goes, they’re out hunting this is awesome and they’re bringing me good stuff,” Gunlicks said.

Good stuff for dogs like Bella, who will have an easier time adjusting, when the time comes.

“She’ll be in for a change when I go back to work full time,” Blumenauer said.

To see how else you can help your dog adjust to a new routine when you go back to work, the Humane Society has posted a lot of helpful advice on its web site, click here.

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