'Dogs were depressed during lockdown,' research by grade 6 pupil finds

Aidan Miltz, 12, noticed his dogs' behaviour changed during lockdown so he did more research.
Aidan Miltz, 12, noticed his dogs' behaviour changed during lockdown so he did more research.
Image: Supplied

Dogs have gone through tremendous behavioural change and felt depressed during the hard lockdowns, as owners couldn’t freely walk them.

These were findings of research done by 12-year-old Gqeberha-based Aidan Miltz, of Theodor Herzl High School. His research project won a gold award in the animal sciences category at the Eastern Cape Eskom Young Scientists Awards.

The grade 6 pupil said he had never in his wildest dreams thought he would be selected for the fair.

“I am very lucky as my school has been able to be open every day even with Covid-19 restrictions. My natural sciences teacher was very supportive and helpful with my project.

“I chose the topic 'the effect of lockdown on animal behaviours'. I decided to investigate this topic as we as people struggled with lockdown and my dogs started with behavioural challenges, which led me to wonder if more animals were affected,” he said.

He also studied the behaviour of pets, especially dogs, in his area in his project.

Miltz was among many pupils who also won for their courageous topics.

“My aunt who is a vet and a colleague of hers, who is an animal behaviourist, gave me information about the animals they treated and what sort of behaviours the animals exhibited.

“I discovered that many dogs struggled with level 5 lockdown, as they were unable to get out and go for walks and socialise with other dogs. In level 3 many animals struggled with separation anxiety as many of their owners were able to return to work and the dogs struggled with being alone again.

“For the most part most dogs thoroughly enjoyed having their owners at home for all levels of lockdown,” he said.

The young animal lover said he would like to be a chiropractor for animals and humans when he grows up.

Another Eskom special award went to Linamandla Manana from Grey Boys for the best energy project. The research project showed that traffic lights can be operated by solar power, with the proviso that the energy generated has to be stored so that the traffic lights can also work at night.


“The subjects of learners’ research were so varied. It is fascinating to see how socially astute young people are, and how they want to make a difference,” said the provincial co-ordinator of the Eskom Expo, André Schlemmer.

The Eastern Cape awards event is one of nine provincial events leading into the final Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair (ISF), which will be held on October 8. The ISF will include participants from 35 regions in SA and some African countries.

Another gold medal went to Cole Bennett from Grey Boys for his research that showed that urine can — and should — be used to fertilise gardens.


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