Experts say coronavirus lockdown leading to subtle behavioural changes in stray dogs
New Delhi, Apr 07: The 21-day lockdown has led to subtle behavioural changes in stray dogs and has plunged them into a state of confusion, animal behaviourists in Delhi say.
Akansha Yadav -- founder of Pawtricks, a canine training and consulting firm - said there was not a behavioral change in all the dogs, but it was possible in specific categories.
"Because people are not on the streets anymore and there is scarcity of food, dogs may start competing with one another for food," Yadav said.
The animal behaviourist said it was a difficult time for dogs, which are used to human attention, especially those in markets where people pet them and give them food on the go.
India is currently under a 21-day lockdown since March 25, with only essential services exempted, to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 75,800 lives globally and afflicted over 13.5-lakh people across 183 countries. Animal rights campaigner Sangeeta Dogra said stray dogs in her locality had left the area due to the lockdown.
"They are clueless and confused as to why there are no humans on the roads," she said.
However, Adnan Khan, who runs a dog training school in Chhatarpur, said stray dogs were scavengers and not predators, adding that they might kill a cat, but they would not eat it. "Hostility towards humans builds up when there are too many people around not letting them scavenge. It leads to frustration among dogs," he said.
Stray dogs are much happier in areas where there is less human intervention, like villages and countryside, Khan said. "Right now, there are no cars, there are no people to shoo them away, to beat them up," Khan said. "So, they are lot more comfortable and happier. It is more of celebratory period for them, as humans have always been a bad intervention."