Dog Trainers’ Association: There’s Still Help for Dog Owners During COVID-19

Trainers offering phone and online services during “Social Distancing”

 Canadian dog owners can still find safe training help for their pooches, despite stay-at-home calls from officials during the COVID-19 crisis.

 “The fact that pet dog owners are, appropriately, staying home at this time doesn’t mean their pet problems will go away or will wait until we return to normal,” said Helen Prinold, Chair of the Canadian Association of Professional Dog Trainers (CAPDT).

 “We’ve issued a challenge to our members across the country to find ways to deliver services by remote – whether interactive online classes and videos or offering phone consults for some training needs.”

Recommendations and orders from health officials regarding being in public are changing daily. CAPDT advises pet owners to keep at least three weeks of food and any prescription medicines on hand for your pet, and to look for ways to challenge pet brains (such as online training) and enrich their days with fun activities within “Social Distancing” limitations.

Unless stay-at-home recommendations change, the Association reminds owners of puppies 8-14 weeks of age that they should NOT keep them at home to avoid exposure. During this critical socialization time, puppies should get out in the world and see a variety of people and vehicles and situations, while maintaining safe social distances.  This is a more thorough article on socializing your new puppy despite coronavirus.

For people whose dogs are now seeing more of them than before, we encourage you to take a walk daily without your dog, as well as daily and randomly stepping out of your front door and returning a few minutes later.  This may help prevent separation anxiety when you return to work (although there is yet no science to support this theory).  What we do know that as household routines change and stress increases (perhaps due to finances) your dog will also sense that increased stress.  Spending time doing positive reinforcement based activities (for example, nosework games) or simply spending time calmly and slowly petting your dog can help increase fun andpredictability  and decrease stress.

For dog owners seeking training support or enrichment ideas for their pets, CAPDT recommends searching online at locally for member dog trainers offering telephone or online services and checking our website under “education” on the menu.

The CAPDT would also ask governments at all levels need to recognize that most independent dog training businesses are following public health requests that all Canadians should stay home.  Their businesses are closed and suffering!  Efforts to replace worker incomes in this difficult period are vital.  We hope efforts to stay home will be recognized and our small, independent and local business owners (who are not employees) can receive stopgap funding for regular monthly salaries or business draw.