Belgian dog schools see twice as many puppies as before Covid-19

Belgian dog schools see twice as many puppies as before Covid-19
Crisis: Pikist

Many dog schools noticed that more people took in a dog during the coronavirus crisis, are the number of people registering to train their puppies has doubled compared to before the epidemic.

Many dog schools in Belgium have been overwhelmed with requests to train puppies and young dogs lately.

"We notice that many more people have gotten a dog," Vina Druwé from dog school 'De hondjes' in the municipality of Asse, just outside of Brussels, told VRT. "I suspect that this is because of the lockdown and the fact that a lot of people had to work at home."

According to her, many people may have thought about taking a dog before the lockdown, but did not want to leave the animals alone for so long when they were at work. "Now, they have time for them. I think that has played a big role in the phenomenon that more people choose a dog," Druwé said.

The dog training schools have not had it easy during the coronavirus crisis themselves. When the lockdown started mid-March, they had to close for two months as well. Mid-May the training could start again, but with the necessary measures and precautions.

"Normally, we think it's cool that members of the family also come to class, but that's no longer possible," said Druwé.

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"We also have to keep our distance now, we cannot give theoretical classes in our building anymore because the classroom is too narrow and we cannot guarantee enough distance," she said, adding that those classes are not available online.

For the practical classes, everyone has to wear a face mask, and the number of people per class is also limited.

However, Druwé warns against an overly impulsive purchase of a dog. "Some people who suddenly decide to take a dog are not prepared enough," she said. "They often have not sufficiently considered whether a dog will fit into their life after the crisis. Also, the fact that people had to work at home and tend to their children at the same time was not always the ideal situation to raise a young dog in."

Druwé's colleagues, at Hondenschool DTC Tongeren, have also an increase in the number of new dog owners.

"People have deliberately made the choice to get a dog, I think," Christian Bernkens told VRT. "For example, I see that many older people have chosen a small dog and many younger people choose an active dog. These seem, to me, to be conscious choices. Additionally, people also want to exercise more and a dog stimulates them to do so."

According to Bernkens, too, the available places in the training schools are limited.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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