COVID-19 Support: Pets & Masks

September 15th, 2020

Whilst wearing a mask is the ‘new normal’ for us humans. It can be a new and weird change for our pets!

Being at home is the best place to start getting your dog used to face masks, the familiar surroundings provide the comfort they need.

STEP 1 – SHOW YOUR DOG THE FACE MASK
With the face covering in your hand ask them to ‘sit’ or ‘lie down’. Once they are comfortable with the commands and you showing them a mask move on to the next step. If the dog is not happy, don’t rush – try again a few hours later.

STEP 2 – START TO COVER YOUR FACE WITH THE MASK
With the dog’s attention, bring the mask up to your face and reward your dog. When the dog is comfortable repeat the excercise and reward them again. Repeat this process over a number of sessions and beging wearing the mask.

STEP 3 – INTRODUCE OTHER PEOPLE
Once your dog is happy with step 2 invite another person your dog is familiar with to help. Have the person wear a mask into the room at a distance. If your dog accepts them, give the dog a reward, gradually ask the person to come closer until they can interact with the dog. If your dog if not comfortable go back to step 2 before trying again.

STEP 4 – MOVE OUTSIDE WITH OTHERS
It is time to move outside to get your dog get used to face masks being worn by others. Start with steps 1 to 3 again and when on the third step as the person comes closer reward your dog every time they look at the person calmly without becoming agitated.

STEP 5 – THE REAL TEST
Once your dog is calm through steps 1 to 4 go for a local walk that’s familiar to your dog. Initially reward your dog for staying calm around strangers wearing masks – this will help them understand it’s safe to be around anyone wearing a mask.



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