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Preparing Your Service Dog For the “New Normal” Resulting From COVID-10

As businesses begin to reopen, is your service dog prepared for the “new normal?” If you’ve been out and about at all during the past several weeks, you’ve undoubtedly seen a large number of people wearing masks or face coverings. This has been a strange sight for many Americans and your service dog is going to feel the same! Luckily, you can start introducing this new normal to your dog at home. Whatever type of mask or face covering you have at home will suffice and using a variety is even better. To start, try the following steps…

  • Wear your mask at home occasionally
  • Make sure your dog is with you, seeing you and interacting with you
  • Reward calm, normal behavior
  • If your dog is unimpressed by this new development, do some obedience commands, task work and leash walking while wearing the mask
  • Keep your sessions short and positive!

If you dog reacts, let them sniff and check it out. Reward curious behavior. Ignore fearful behavior and go about your business. If you get fearful behavior, we invite you to reach out to us for help! Once they are used to you in a mask(s), have the whole family participate.

Jennifer Bielen, Director of Training
Genesis Assistance Dogs, Inc.

 

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