Introducing Face Masks to Dogs

Behavior and Training  •  PetPartners  •  Wednesday, November 04, 2020

As the world settles into its “new normal”, we need to be aware of how this is affecting our pets.

Dogs and face masks

Young puppies will have grown up over the past few months seeing humans with face masks all around them. For older dogs, however, this change from routine can be stressful. Dogs use physical cues more than verbal, so not being able to see our expression can be disconcerting for them. This could lead to your dog feeling nervous or even aggressive as he is unable to anticipate what you want from him. Veterinary nurses have come up with some top tips for helping your dog get used to facemasks.

Training your dog to accept face masks

  1. Choose a quiet time when your dog is calm and let them sniff a face mask. Give your dog a treat or play with a toy straight after to reinforce positive reactions and so they know this is a positive experience.
  2. Lift the face mask to your face several times, then reward your dog again.
  3. Let the mask hang from your ear and reward your dog for behaving correctly.
  4. Put the mask on fully, reward your dog and then remove the mask.
  5. Wear the mask to have fun with your dog, play a game or go for a short walk.
  6. Try different styles of mask and ask others in your household to do the same.
  7. Keep talking to your pet and use a bright happy voice when wearing a face mask.

For more questions about keeping your pet happy and healthy during the pandemic, PetPartners policyholders can contact the 24/7 Vet Helpline for around the clock assistance from licensed veterinary professionals.

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