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Socializing rescue dog in the time of coronavirus

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    Socializing rescue dog in the time of coronavirus

    Hi y’all, just wondering if others have made decisions about this and what you decided.

    I just signed my recent shelter dog up for her second obedience class. She’s a 2.5 yr old medium sized hound mix who clearly wasn’t socialized as a puppy. She’s protective of the house and yard, anxious when people come over and around other dogs. Her defense mechanism is aggression and she’s prone to hyperactivity. The first class was a lot of getting her to turn off or to redirect and was immeasurably helpful (Bonus: she is very food motivated, smart as a whip, and really wants to be good). She was a hot mess in the beginning and a superstar by the end, still needing work and miles under her belt in that kind of higher stress environment. I was on the fence when the school reopened, as I am being very careful about exposing myself in this covid era. Ultimately I decided to do it, as 1) the school has a whole page of strict mandatory covid restrictions they say they are enforcing and 2) my dog really needs it. Now that I’ve done it, I’m feeling a bit nervous about it, honestly. I just wondered what others are doing/thinking about this problem.

    I also have a new hound mix rescue that needs socialization. She is only 10 weeks old, so I want to make sure we get it done now to prevent issues in the future. She is mostly scared of meeting new people. She's met about 25 people in the past 2 weeks. She has her first puppy class tonight, after an initial private lesson last week. It's held in an indoor arena (horse) with open end doors, and there are only a couple other puppies in this class, so I think the risk is minimal. It was the only nearby puppy class that I could find that was having in person classes. I actually found one doing classes via Zoom, which seems like a colossal waste of money. We've also met several of our neighbors, and some parents at Pony Club lessons.


      I think it will be easy for you to stay steps away from other people.
      It is better to ride 5 minutes a day than it is to ride 35 minutes on a Sunday.


        It may be different now, but what I remember of beginner dog class was lots of work spread out on really big circles, calling each others dogs and practicing things in our own space while the instructors came around and gave tips. It was social distancing before anyone thought of the term! A small class in an open arena sounds perfect.


          Original Poster

          Yeah, social distance will not be a problem with my dog lol. I am more concerned about being in a large enclosed room with a dozen other people for an hour. But it is a big room, and we’ll all be wearing masks. They’ve scattered the classes so one is out and gone before the next group starts arriving, to eliminate some of the crunch at the doors and the congregating areas.


            My class went okay last night. We were in the small indoor arena with both ends open. There were 3 dogs in the class, mine and one other had two handlers there, and there was the instructor and an assistant for a total of 7 people. Distances were maintained except when we were to greet each other's dogs, but then the greeter was kneeling and the owner was standing, so probably little risk. My puppy did great despite being unsure of the other dogs and people, and seems to pick up things really quickly. Right when the class ended there was a severe thunderstorm so they closed the end doors. We had to wait about 20 minutes to leave. While waiting, I counted the sections between the posts in the building and if 8' with 12' doors, this little indoor is only 44' x 96'. While we waited, the trainer's 5 dogs and other puppies were playing. Mine just wanted to watch from the safety of my feet. When we first got there, she wanted nothing to do with the other dogs. Later, she tentatively sniffed noses with both other puppies, but still backed off. At the end, she was interested in what they were doing but was very tired, having missed a nap, and too afraid to join in the fun. She was willing to meet the people if they offered treats.

            Today I took her to Home Depot to buy a bolt for my mower. Most people just ignored us so we took a walk around while she nervously eyed the people and their carts and veered away when we passed too closely. A male customer and teenage male employee both asked about her so I gave them each a small treat and asked them to please meet her. She also sniffed the feet of the woman who helped me find the nut that wasn't in the drawer where it said it should be, but she didn't interact with the dog.