Getting dogs used to face masks

Wearing face masks will be mandatory on public transport from 15 June, as well as being highly advised in all public areas; this means that seeing people out and about with their faces covered is going to be the new normal, and something our dogs will need to get used to to avoid stress and even incidents.

Agria’s Behaviour and Training Advisor, Carolyn Menteith, explains, “We socialise and habituate our puppies to all the things we expect them to grow up and think of as being normal, but we have never thought about doing that with masks. Now it’s the time to do this.

“Dogs relate to us by looking at our body language and faces, reading the tiniest cues in our facial expressions. As soon as we put a mask on, they can’t do that, or even hear our words properly. So, spending time getting your dog used to seeing a mask has become vital – and it’s really easy.”


In the video above Carolyn – and Reggie! – illustrate how to best get dogs used to seeing face masks, so that they can learn they are a normal part of life, just like glasses, hats or umbrellas. This will keep them from being be startled or fearful of people wearing them.

Tom Vaughan, Head of Marketing at Agria Pet Insurance, says, “In consultation with Carolyn, we felt that it was vitally important to raise awareness of how strange it will be for dogs to see people in masks.

“Starring the fantastic puppy Reggie, our campaign video gives owners of puppies and dogs of all ages a straightforward guide to teaching them to accept this new look. Guiding and habituating dogs in the right way now will help them to remain happy and confident as they adjust to humans looking so different.”

Image courtesy of Agria


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