Considering a new dog during COVID-19? Think again; Now is not the time.

5 reasons why now is not the right time to get a dog.

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Many people have been contemplating getting a puppy while there are home and self-isolating. I’m a big advocate of adding a dog to your home under the right conditions (especially if it’s an adoption!), but when it comes to the current circumstances, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble – now is quite possibly the worst time to introduce a puppy to your family.

Yes, you may have more time.

Yes, you may be stuck at home with nothing to do.

And yes, maybe a furry friend would keep you company and provide you with unconditional love in uncertain times.


Here are 5 important reasons why you should not get a dog during the COVID-19 crisis:

  1. Routine. Puppies need routine and order to thrive and right now our lives are far from normal. We aren’t working our normal hours, kids are home and not in school, people are stressed and to bring a dog into that environment, in my opinion is selfish and unfair.
  2. Socialization. You cannot socialize your puppy at this time. Socialization is SO critical for young dogs, especially in the first few months. Being as we’re all in lock down, you wouldn’t be able to take your puppy into stores, over to a friend’s house, or even to a puppy play date to meet other dogs, never mind a Dog Social Club like The Dog Haus. Puppies need exposure to different environments, different people and other dogs in order to be confident and well behaved adult dogs. If we are unable to socialize our dogs in this way then we will end up with insecure, nervous, anxious, reactive, fear aggressive, dogs! And trainers will be overwhelmed trying to reach the demand of all the owners in need after all is said and done. And truthfully all of this could have been avoided by simply thinking this decision through, and not making an impulsive purchase and take a dog into your life because it will cheer you up.
  3. Training. This is not an ideal time to train your puppy. Every dog requires proper training. This is something you do from day 1 and shouldn’t just be considered once your dog develops issues. With the current state of the world, you can’t take your puppy to obedience classes. You can’t have a trainer come to your house.  Although, you can set up virtual lessons online with some trainers, most people will not take advantage of this help and just choose to wing it instead. This will result in some seriously unbalanced dogs when the world does return to normal a few months from now. So in 2-4 months (however long quarantine will last) and when the dog is no longer cute and it’s service no longer needed, the puppy will no doubt find itself abandoned in a shelter do to unsocial behaviours.
  4. Unstable energy. Our emotions are running high. With all this uncertainty in our lives, the constant worry about getting sick and whether we have enough toilet paper (joking/not joking), we’re all experiencing high levels of anxiety and it’s not fair to raise a dog with all that going on. Dogs pick up on our emotions, and it is safe to say we are not stable at this time and so would not be ideal Pack Leaders for our dogs. A puppy who comes home to a stressed household whose sole purpose is to provide entertainment and unconditional love, will without a doubt develop behavioural problems. Our dogs need us to be a representation of calmness and right now that is the opposite of what we are. Puppies are not meant to hold onto all your emotional baggage and so will become unbalanced, just like their environment and everyone in it, and will either become anxious, shut down and/or aggressive in order to cope.
  5. Finances. Our finances are unknown at this time. Many people may be struggling financially, and a puppy is something that requires a good chunk of money to take care of. You’ll have vet bills, training bills, food bills, and everything the puppy needs. This can be a big expense, please think about this seriously before making an impulse buy.

Please consider the dog. Please think about how this could implicate them. I beg of you. Do not get a dog at this time.

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Teaching your dog agility

When most people think of agility, they picture high energy working breeds like border collies and Australian shepherds racing through a challenging course at high speeds. It’s hard to imagine that an activity like this could be beneficial to lower energy dogs, after all the main goal of agility is to burn physical energy… right? Wrong!

It’s true that agility is an excellent way to fulfill dogs physically, but this activity is just as much a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Even the laziest of dogs can get a lot out of an agility course simply through the way this activity works their brain. A dog does not have to race through an agility course at top speed to get the most out of this fun and fulfilling activity, as the mental challenge of following their owner’s commands and learning how to complete each obstacle is draining enough!

In fact, when you’re first teaching your dog how to navigate an agility course, I recommend going as slow as possible to make sure they comprehend everything you’re teaching them. After all, pretty much every obstacle in agility will be new to your dog, so they need a calm and patient leader to take their time introducing each and every new challenge. Take the time to teach them how to overcome one agility obstacle at a time, before moving to the next step of having them complete obstacles in succession.

My girl Sprout is a 2 year old french bulldog, which you would think given the stereotypes around bulldogs would mean she’s a lazy couch potato. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Sprout is a highly intellegent and very active girl who needs constant mental and physical challenges to be fulfilled. As you can imagine, the current state of the world and the increased demand for social distancing is making meeting her needs more of a challenge than normal, but that’s where agility comes in for us! I have found that this wonderful activity is the perfect way for me to challenge her and for both of us to have some fun without having to leave the safety of our backyard! After just a few days of working through the obstacles together, she’s already mastered jumps, the tunnel, and doing both in succession. I coudln’t be more proud, and she couldn’t be more fulfilled! After just a 30 minute training session, shes ready for a 2 hour nap. That’s the power of agility and its ability to burn both her physical and mental energy.

Remember that your dog doesn’t have to be able to complete each obstacle perfectly to enjoy agility – this activity is all about having fun, not about being perfect! The main goal is to have your dog be checked in with you throughout the entire course, and follow your direction to the best of their ability. You’re teaching your dog something that is new, and possibly a little intimidating for them, and that’s why agility is one of the best ways you can strengthen your bond with your dog. Together, the two of you will work through the challenge of learning new things and overcoming new obstacles, and what could be better than that?

If you’re thinking of starting agility at home with your dog, here’s a list of some beginner equipment you’ll need;

  • Jumps with adjustable height
  • A tunnel
  • Weave poles
  • A pause box (a place board will work!)

It’s also important to note that agility does not have to be an expensive sport to participate in. You can find fairly cheap agility sets on amazon, or you can even make your own at home with a few simple supplies! It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to be safe and functional!

So get outside, have fun, and learn something new!


Blog written by Claire Guistini, Puppy Trainer at The Dog Haus