Camp Bow Wow: Helping Dogs Get Comfortable with Humans Wearing Masks
With many states recommending or mandating the use of masks or face coverings as places begin to reopen, we need to consider this impact on our doggos. While masks and other personal protective wear are meant to help humans as we venture back out, they can be scary, confusing or even triggering for dogs.
Many dogs engage with people based on human facial expressions. Quickly (and remarkably) dogs read subtle muscle changes in a person’s face that indicate a twitch or smile. By wearing a mask or face covering, dogs will lose this opportunity and may become frightened when meeting new people whose scent they are unfamiliar with.
The good news is that you can help your dog become desensitized to masks and face coverings by exposing them in a controlled environment. Like all training, patience is key as your dog becomes comfortable before moving on to the next step.
You can take steps at home to prep your dog to have a positive association with masks and facial coverings: