Is your dog a little uneasy at the sight of people wearing face masks? Follow our step-by-step guide to getting them used to it.
Buy (or make) a face covering of your own
To turn face masks into something your dog will be familiar with, there’s no better place to start than at home.
Show your new mask to your dog
You don’t need to wear it – in fact, just holding the mask in your hand and simply showing it to your dog is a great start. Let them give it a closer look and a good old sniff, then reward them with a treat – this will help them associate the mask positively.
Put on your mask
Next, put on the mask in front of your dog. Wear it for just a few seconds first time round, and don’t do anything to spook your dog while you’re wearing it. Speak in an upbeat voice, and continue to reward your dog with treats.
Repeat this process
Assuming your dog is all okay with the above, continue to put on your mask in front of them – like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Begin to increase the amount of time you wear it. You’ll also want to increase your dog’s exposure by wearing your mask at different times of the day, and asking your family/household to do the same.
Remember to increase exposure gradually – don’t worry about going back a step if your dog is uncomfortable.
Walk into rooms while wearing your mask
Again, act casual as you do this. Once your dog registers you wearing your mask, reward them with a treat. As they get comfortable with this stage, begin leaving the house and then arriving home again while wearing your mask.
Seeing other people in masks
Now that your dog is completely comfortable seeing you and your family/household in a mask, you can be more confident while you’re out walking.
If you’re concerned, try bringing treats with you on your walks. Every time you encounter someone wearing a mask, provide your dog with a tasty snack – this will help them to continue their positive associations.
Practise makes perfect
Remember to take your time. You can always go back a step! If you’re especially worried about your dog, please do contact us today!