March, 2020 - Dog trainers open for business online
KEY NOTES for Dog Trainers & Owners regarding Coronavirus
The Association reminds owners of puppies 8-14 weeks of age that they should NOT keep them shut in the house despite coronavirus. 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.
At this point, dogs appear to not be able to transmit coronavirus to other people or dos through droplet transmission. Dog fur is porous and unlike solid surfaces that the virus has been shown to last for a few days on (like stainless steel). Infectious disease experts note that virus on fur might last only minutes to hours. However, that doesn't mean you need to invite people you meet to pat your dog - because if you're close enough on leash to let your dog visit people...you're probably too close to the people!
If you do get the virus and are self-isolating at home, have another member of your household care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.
While not specific to coronavirus, but best practice for ANY emergency situation, make sure you have at least 3 weeks of your dog's food and medications at home in case you are required to stay home...you might want some extra dog toys too! If you are travelling, take the food and medications AND your regular dog emergency/first aid kit with you (in case you are stuck away from home).
If you are ever sick at home with your dog, try to ensure that their environment is enriched daily with short training sessions, enrichment toys and walks (with a dog walker if necessary). Try to keep your routines similar to those before coronavirus if possible (feeding at the same times, etc.). Sometimes, stress can lead people at home to react to each other in ways they might not have before coronavirus hit. If there is tension in the home, please be aware that pets can sense that tension and may be affected by it. If your dog's behaviour has had a concerning change please contact both your veterinarian and a dog behaviour consultant (see our "find a trainer" link in the menu). Finally, to encourage your dog to not have separation anxiety when you return to your regular routines, try to take occasional walks outside the house without your dog or crate them for short periods when you are doing your household chores -- and watch our website when restrictions are eased for more tips and tricks.
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. Maintaining a regular routine, taking family arguments outside, spending time doing positive reinforcement based activities (for example, scent games) or simply spending time calmly and slowly petting your dog can help increase fun and predictability - as well as decrease stress. For more details and how to do a quick check your dog to see if this may be an issue, check out our press release on the topic.
For dog owners seeking training support or enrichment ideas for their pets, CAPDT recommends searching online at www.capdt.ca locally for member dog trainers offering telephone or online services and checking our website under “education” on the menu.
FOR DOG TRAINING BUSINESSES
Independent dog training businesses are following public health requests that all Canadians should stay home. Their businesses have closed and they - like you - have been patiently waiting for the opportunity to reopen. We encourage you to read our April 21, 2020 open letter to the Prime Ministers and Premiers.
As facilities re-open, we would also ask dog owners attending classes to take care for the health and safety of their fellow clients and the dog trainers providing service to them. Our members are developing new sanitation practices and expect you to do your part by informing them (and not attending classes) if you are showing signs of COVID-19.
We have developed a poster that we expect many dog trainers will put up outside their location (along with others for inside). Even if a dog trainer comes to you - please make sure to follow these guidelines. Wear a mask to reduce the possibility of transmission and expect your trainer to also wear personal protective equipment. Together we can continue to stay safe! Dog groomers and their clients across the country are encouraged to follow the recommendations released in April by New Brunswick.