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Who is that masked man?!

Updated: Jul 5, 2021

The pandemic makes life challenging for us in so many ways, big and small.

Its not just people who are attempting to live this new kind of life. Let's be mindful of the effect 2020, and now 2021, has on our canine companions. And I don't just mean the inevitable separation anxiety that will occur one day in the - I hope - not too distant future, when we all go back to leaving the house on a regular basis.

In this moment, however, is the problem of recognition, as in, facial recognition. Our faces are covered up by masks, and our dogs are very, very confused.

When you enter your house masked up, you can watch your poor, protective pup stiffen, hair on end, low rumble in his throat. Its not until you remove the mask (or greet him loudly, or he gets a whiff of your familiar scent) that he visibly relaxes and comes over to say hello.

Is your house a construction zone? It seems everyone is renovating their homes during this time. No matter how often the tile guy, the plumber, the electrician come in, your dog goes berserk. And since they can't, or shouldn't, take their masks off, your dog will forever be on high alert until you write that last check and order matching towels.

What to do about this situation? Well, let's get everyone vaccinated so Covid-19 will be in our rear view mirror. But until then, get your dog used to people wearing masks. Have each member of your household/bubble sit with your dog, first without a mask, and then putting a mask on while your dog watches. Liberal application of treats throughout this exercise will put your pup in a quite favorable frame of mind. The same holds true of the construction crew invading your home. A dozen donuts might inspire them to help you desensitize your dog. They will appreciate a friendlier reception as a result.

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