Shelter in place prompts behavioral shift in pets


Melanie Koch

The Koch family dog, Emmie, reaches out of the car window while driving to Crissy Field Beach. San Francisco city officials announced that all dog parks now have a capacity limit to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Clara Bonomi, Reporter

WEB EXCLUSIVE Six weeks into San Francisco’s shelter-in-place order requiring many people to spend more time in their homes, pet guardians have noticed a shift in their furry friends’ behavior. 

“[My dog] has had a lot more energy now that my whole family is here at home,” freshman Melanie Koch said. “She will start barking and whining and jumping up and down a lot because she wants to go on a walk.”

Mathematics teacher Spencer Irwin observed his dog, Jagger, has become more attached since Irwin has started working from home.

“He seems like he’s needier now,” Irwin said. “He wants a lot more attention and love and affection now that we’re home. He’ll always try to come into the office during class.”

This behavioral change can be attributed to the increased amount of time that owners are spending with their pets. 

Your pets may become more clingy or hide out if they sense your stress and anxiety,” local dog trainer Kathryn Horn said. “If they’re used to playing at the dog park, they may be missing that sort of enrichment.”

Some pets have lately started to behave livelier because of the extra time that they get to spend with their family. Sophomore Shana Ong has noticed changes in her two parakeets, Sky and Happy.

“They have been acting a lot nicer,” Ong said. “They used to be really really noisy at night because they would want more attention, but now that we’re at home, my family members have been interacting with them a lot more and they’re much happier.”

Regardless of this major shift in day-to-day life, many pet guardians have noticed that their animal companions are now more accustomed to the new normal.

“At first, [my dog] was acting a little spoiled,” Koch said. “But I think she’s started to adjust to my family being here more.”