Dogs and face masks blog
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our community, and the wearing of face masks is now mandatory. As our facial features and reactions play an important role in how we communicate, having a face mask obscure our face can impact how easily we can read a person’s body language or demeanour – such as is something being said with a smile or a frown.
Dogs also look to our faces when interacting with us or seeking direction from us – and if we’re wearing a face mask, dogs may be noticeable hesitant or sometimes even potentially a little aggressive when approached. The face mask is affecting the dog’s ability to read our expression, so there’s a few things we can do to familiarise dogs with us having to wear face masks, to make the dog more comfortable.
Practice slowly putting on your face mask with your dog present, rewarding your pet for staying calm and relaxed, and only progressing to putting on the face mask completely if your dog appears comfortable.
Remember to keep these sessions short and positive so that the dog positively associates with you wearing a mask. Once you’re wearing a face mask, don’t stare at your dog or lean over them as they may appear threatening to them. Speak to them in a reassuring tone, and provide lots of rewards such as gentle pats or the occasional treat.
For advice about any behavioural changes you’ve noticed with your dog, speak to one of our friendly team at Sydney Animal Hospitals, and remember – we’re all in this together!
For more information contact your local Sydney Animal Hospitals on;
Newtown (02) 9519 4111
69-73 Erskineville Road Erskineville
Inner West (02) 9516 1466
1A Northumberland Ave Stanmore
Norwest (02) 8883 0411
Unit 8, 1-3 Celebration Dr Bella Vista
Kellyville (02) 8883 0533
106 Windsor Rd Kellyville
Newport (02) 9997 4609
1 Palm Rd Newport
Avalon (02) 9918 0833
710 Barrenjoey Rd Avalon Beach
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