How Anxious Animals Behave - A Covid-19 Case Study

Here in Dorset, all anyone can talk about is Covid-19. It's swept the globe both figuratively and literally, and leads to some interesting questions about how animals behave when they are anxious and fearful.

Let's review some of the behaviour that some of the animals I know are exhibiting during this time:


Hoarding resources - plenty of anxious animals are hoarding onto various resources, and in turn reacting 'aggressively' to those that try to claim them. In turn, animals who do not have these resources are reacting 'aggressively' to those that have them, as they don't feel secure without them there.


Reacting to people in their space - animals are now reacting aggressively to those that get too close within their space, either verbally or physically. The fear of someone in their space is now overriding 'politeness'.


Minor inconveniences causing breakdowns - whereas before our animals would cope with minor changes, now even the slightest of things causes them to react. This is due to the change of context the lockdown has caused.


Separation Anxiety with loved ones - now our animals are craving the desire to be close to others. Because their agency and ability to make decisions has been taken away, behaviours such as crying and frustration have been to manifest.


If we look at these behaviours that are presented due to the lockdown, they share plenty of similarities with our dogs. Some of the reasons are even the same.

While we can't chalk it all up to 'anxiety', it's important that we rule it out before we cast judgement. Behaviour is is changed by consequence, and caused by environment. We need to work harder to understand our dogs and the issues they are having, in the same way we feel the anxiety in our current situation.

17 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Have you ever been frustrated with your dogs? It's okay. First of all, I have loads. Back when I first started dog training, I used to get really wound up. Why weren't they just following my instructi

When we think about enrichment, it's important to focus on what the point of it is - to enrich. The goal of it is to provide more mental and potentially physical stimulation than a dog would normally