Surge in Dog Adoptions Means a Boost in Dog Training

Bonnie Plass wants new dog owners to know that you can’t correct behavioral problems with cookies.

The owner of That’s a Good Dog, LLC in Westbrook, Plass is a member of a sector that has seen a boost in business during the pandemic.

“I’m busier than I’ve ever been,” she said. “I’m actually turning away clients because I have too much.”

The source of the increased demand for dog trainers is the surge in dog adoptions, a phenomenon that’s been noted across the country. At the same time that the demand for adoptions increased in 2020, the supply of dogs decreased, according to Shelter Animals Count, a national database.

A search in late February by the Harbor News of dogs available for adoption through the Connecticut Humane Society (CHS), one of the larger area rescue agencies, came up with just one: Easton, a seven-year-old mix with “special needs,” located at the Newington Branch. (Appointments for pet adoptions must be scheduled in advance, according to the CHS website.)

The widespread desire, sometimes spontaneous, to adopt a dog during the pandemic can lead to problems, according to Plass.

“A lot of people think, ‘I’m home, I can get a dog now, I can train the dog now,’” she said. “They don’t stop and think that their family is home, too.”

And “family” often includes small children.