How to stay safe when you go back to training

Dog outdoors on a leash, looking up at trainer
If you are going back to training with others you must keep yourself and others safe. Taking the government guidance to work at home if you can is perfect for dog training. Make sure you are covering all the foundations to your training before you go elsewhere – this will help keep your dog under control and remind them what to do. That way, you'll arrive with a dog who is more in tune with you.

1. Preparing to go

  • Contact your training instructor/club for their guidelines on what you will need to bring along and what protocols they will have in place – make sure you adhere to the guidelines given
  • Check what facilities will be available and ensure you prepare accordingly
  • Gather all that you need – water dish, water, treats, toys, your dog’s settle mat if they have one, poo bags and anything else relating to the class e.g. grooming equipment
  • Take anything you may need for yourself – hand sanitiser, face covering and gloves in case they are needed (if not in class, maybe if you stop). Plus, anything to make yourself comfortable e.g. a drink, perhaps a folding seat, etc.
  • Make sure you have checked where and when you are meeting and what the access and exit procedures will be – it may have changed since you were there last
  • Go in clean clothes
  • Clean your handling equipment: collar, lead, grooming equipment, settle mat, tidbit container etc.
  • Wash your hands before handling your dog and have wipes or gel close by
  • If you or anyone in your household has symptoms of ill health, stay at home

2. When you get there

  • Make sure you follow parking and entry rules
  • Take your time to ensure you don’t cause a distance issue
  • Clean your hands (and arms if they are exposed) before starting
  • Follow social distancing guidelines and keep an appropriate distance from the next person – of course, you may need more than this depending on the training stage and temperament of your dog
  • Don’t let others pet your dog – there is no evidence that dogs can get covid-19 but it is feasible that it could be passed from another person onto your dog’s coat (like any other surface) and on to you or anyone else that touches your dog

3. During class

  • Make sure you keep to social distancing guidelines – it is easy to get carried away when you meet up with your friends for the first time in a while
  • Make sure you do not accept drinks or food from others – use only your own
  • Don’t allow your dog to share toys, water or blankets with other dogs
  • Sanitise or wash your hands before and after you touch any communal areas e.g. toilets, gates, fences
  • If you are accustomed to getting handouts or written homework, it is likely that the instructors will now be guiding you via email or social media
  • Any certificates earned are likely to be sent by email for you to print out at home
  • Be aware that there may be a limit of how many people can attend the class, so you may have to go alone with no other family members
  • Consider spending a penny before you go! Some facilities may have changed from indoor to outdoor facilities and may not have a toilet available. You will need to leave your dog in the car if facilities are available. No one else can handle your dog either prior to, during or after the class has concluded

4. When you exit

  • Carefully follow any exit rules that the organisation has set down
  • Ensure safe distances are maintained
  • Allow plenty of time and space to others who may be exiting or entering
  • Be mindful that some people may have more problems with their dog than you do, so be vigilant and respectful

5. When you get home

  • Clean your lead and any other equipment you have used
  • Change your clothes
  • Wash your hands and arms if they are exposed after handling your dog
  • According to the Government "there is no evidence that you need to wash your pets to control the spread of coronavirus. Never use household or commercial cleaning products, disinfectants or antibacterial wipes on pets."

Please note: there are many different ways to train your dog. This is just one method of teaching. If you are ever in doubt, please seek professional advice. 

For more information and advice, you can find a puppy foundation course with The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme, browse our full list of The Kennel Club Accredited Instructors or find a dog training club near you.