Dog Training During a Pandemic
Updated: Sep 2, 2020
It’s pretty safe to say that this is a strange time we are living in. COVID-19 threw us for a loop and we’re all trying to navigate the changes it has forced us to make. One of the good things we’ve seen come out of the pandemic is the increased adoption rate of dogs from area shelters and rescues as people try to fill their free, socially distanced time, with a furry friend. We’ve heard so many amazing stories of shelters being emptied.
But what do you do if you find yourself overwhelmed with a new puppy who needs housebreaking or socialization? Or if you adopted a dog with behavioral issues such as chewing or leash pulling? Is it safe to work with a trainer during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Make sure you stay informed
First and foremost, it’s important to know the data on dogs and Coronavirus. Although the news is changing daily, here’s your current need-to-know:
According to the CDC, there is no evidence that dogs play a significant role in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. And although there is limited data, dogs spreading the virus to humans, or humans giving the virus to dogs, is considered to be a very low risk.
Regardless, it’s important to practice good hygiene around your pets. Wash your hands after handling pet food or waste, clean up after your pets properly, and refrain from letting your pup kiss you (this one may be a challenge). If someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is self-isolating out of concern they’ve been exposed, err on the side of caution and keep all pets away from them.
Now, let’s talk about training.
Is it safe to get dog training? The short answer is yes. In some situations, it’s more dangerous to not get training especially if your dog is showing signs of aggression or reactivity. If this is the case, please DO NOT WAIT. Aggression can escalate quickly and for everyone’s safety it’s best to get help from a professional.
One of the biggest behavioral issues dog owners are experiencing during the pandemic is separation anxiety. With the need for social isolation, businesses closed and many of us working from home, our pups are hardly ever alone. But as the country has slowly started reopening, people have places to go and dogs are having to adjust to being left at home for long windows of time. Even dogs who were used to being alone before the virus are struggling to readjust. Separation anxiety can lead to behaviors as simple as whining or barking or more destructive ones such as tearing apart furniture or other household items. If separation anxiety isn’t addressed quickly and effectively it can progress quickly.
Another common issue we’re seeing in dogs during Covid-19 is lack of socialization. Social distancing and quarantines mean dogs aren’t getting to learn how to meet and greet safely. Train Pro Dogs can help ensure you don’t face major issues down the line when you are able to take your pup out in public.
Train Pro Dogs has options that fit your needs and comfort level
When choosing a trainer, don’t hesitate to ask about policies and procedures pertaining to the virus. At Train Pro Dogs, we’ve always had stringent cleaning protocol but have added additional processes to go above and beyond. We also know things are still changing daily and will work with our clients to delay or adjust training when needed.
Board and Train
Our one- and two-week board and train programs are by far our most popular program – especially now. Since dogs live with us during the class time, we can limit human interaction. Recommended training appointments and updates can also be done over the phone or by video chat.
Many of our clients prefer working with a trainer one-on-one. These programs provide dog owners hands-on experiences that can be tailored specifically to their needs, goals and learning styles. To ensure the safety of our private dog training clients, we’ve implemented changes that include the use of facemasks, maintained distance and outdoor training when possible.
Just hearing the word “group” can be cause for concern these days. But fact is, some dogs (and humans) learn better in a group environment. At Train Pro Dogs we ceased all group classes even before it was mandated to do so but we will be relaunching small group formats soon. Class sizes will be strictly adhered to. Facemasks will be required when indoors. Social distance will be maintained. If a training company isn’t implementing similar procedures, be wary.
If you are in a high-risk category, we strongly encourage you to consider private lessons or a board and train program instead of group class.
Ultimately, take care of yourself, your pets and others. Let’s work together to make this world a better place.