Risk Assessment For Dog Training Clubs Government Guidance England

Training of dogs is an important element of their social development. Dog trainers may continue to provide advice on training on a one-to-one basis using technology to connect the trainer and client. It may also be possible to run classes by video link. If a trainer can utilise a secure safe area to provide training, clients can meet the trainer there providing social distance can be maintained and class sizes are limited to comply with current government guidance (2m should be adhered to where possible). There should be no physical contact between the trainer and client or dog and social distance should be maintained at all times.

Where trainers normally use an indoor space for classes the trainer should undertake a risk assessment before re-starting classes. The assessment should include the ability to maintain a two metre social distance between clients. This may require the establishment of a one-way system during entry and exit to the room and limiting the number of clients in a class. The trainer must also ensure additional hygiene measures such as regular cleaning of items such as door handles and light switches are in place.

Owners of dogs from infected or self-isolating households pose a significantly higher risk to the trainer and should not be accepted. Owners can leave their dogs with a trainer providing the business handover protocol is followed and social distancing is maintained.

Hosting Dog Training Classes from using Social Distancing measures

Before re-commencing classes you must consider the Government guidance and all the potential risks associated with this. Training classes must take place outdoors and a maximum of 6 people are permitted to meet at any one time but following social distancing measures.

Venue Risks

  • It is at the discretion of each training provider to carry out a thorough risk assessment and resume classes only if all areas of concern can be covered fully.
  • Can you ensure the space used for training is safe?
  • If training outside , does your venue have provision of shade particularly in hot weather?
  • What provisions would you have in the event of wet weather? 
  • Will you be using your regular venue or an outside public space? If so do you have permission to use this public space?
  • Is the venue usually used by the club or would this be a temporary venue used during this period? If so do you need to adapt your venue to comply with government guidelines and to ensure the safety of all participants?
  • Can you ensure the space being used for training will allow social distancing measures between dogs and handlers at all times?
  • Are you able to create pods or zones within your training area where individuals can be placed so that they can see the class but remain socially distanced?
  • Is the floor surface safe? Grass, concrete or astro turf, do any adjustments need to be made to make it safe?
  • If a dog was to get off the lead, how could you ensure a dog off lead did not run up to other handlers/dogs in the group or get out?
  • Check your insurance cover is adequate for the training session

Entering the training venue

  • Handlers will need to be advised when to arrive, when to leave and only to come on their own with their dog
  • Class times may need to be staggered so that one class does not meet the other on the way in/out
  • Consider the times of class, will it be before or after another class or one to one session, if so how can handlers maintain a social distance during the changeover?
  • When entering the premises, do handlers need to touch gate/doorways? Does the entry gate need to be tied open at arrival time until everyone is in the training area?
  • Does the Instructor need to meet handlers in the car park and then escort into the training area?
  • Will handlers need to queue up to enter the training area, if so can they maintain socially distanced from other handlers?
  • The venue car park may need to be sectioned into zones e.g. yellow zone (to the right of the car park) for the first class and orange zone (to the left of the car park) for the second class.
  • Will you need signs, markers or cones to facilitate these procedures?
  • Are there any other people in the venue at that time, if so how do handlers get into the venue and observe social distancing?

Hygiene

  • How can you ensure safe hygiene at each training session?
  • Can you provide suitable hand sanitisers or wipes for handlers entering the venue and during classes? Are you able to provide an area for these to be located?
  • Could members bring their own alcohol anti-viral sanitisers with them?
  • Is there a bin available to place rubbish?
  • Do you have a poop scoop bin for handlers to dispose of their dog waste?
  • When cleaning up other than by a poop scoop is needed, how can this be done maintaining hygiene?
  • If using any equipment like cones or markers during the class only the instructor should handle them
  • Instructors must have a mask and gloves available for themselves in case of emergencies.
  • In the event of an emergency and bearing in mind the social distancing measures, are you able to pass the dog to an instructor or back to the owner and avoiding cross contamination?
  • Do you have first aid facilities?

Communication to Handlers

  • During social distancing measures, clear communication must be in place to all handlers taking part in classes. This may differ from previous class guidance.
  • Handlers need to be advised that attending classes is at their own risk and they will be required to follow strict social distancing measures when entering the premises and during each session
  • Handlers will need to be advised that training class times and content may change due to current social distancing measures
  • Handlers must bring all the equipment they may need with them including hand sanitiser, spare leads, mats, toys, clicker, retrieve articles, dog water, water bowl, dog treats, food bowl, drinks, poop scoop bags and a chair if appropriate.
  • Clear instructions will need to be provided to each handler in writing before arrival. This can be emailed prior to the lesson.
  • How are class fees to be paid? Do you have facilities to take payment electronically? Or do you have facilities for handlers to pay on the day avoiding cross contamination?
  • Paperwork  could be emailed to dog owners prior to the class. Remember  that any paperwork given out should be prepared at least 72 hours in advance and put into a bag or box ready to take to class, The class instructor should wear gloves when handing out paperwork  out or sanitise hands before and after.
  • If any handler is unwell or showing symptoms they must not come to class

Class sizes and content

  • Training classes must take place outdoors and a maximum of 6 people are permitted to meet at any one time but following social distancing measures. This means a maximum of 5 handlers with 1 instructor or less if there are more than 1 instructor/assistant
  • Consider which classes are best to return first, is your club better placed to facilitate smaller puppies classes or is easier to hold more advanced classes with handlers who have been training before
  • As instructors cannot handle a client’s dog, how can you avoid this during a lesson?
  • When demonstrating training techniques, can the instructor use their own dog to show something or demonstrate in another way?
  • Instructors should be very mindful of allowing dogs to be off lead during a training session. Does your venue have a safe area where this can be done without a dog interfering with others?
  • Consider multiple handlers with dogs on leads. Dogs on the end of a normal length of lead may be able to access another hander, so it may be advisable to position handlers further apart so that social distancing measures can be upheld.
  • Social distancing and class control must be observed at all times. Preventing inadvertent unwanted contact between dogs will need to be considered.
  • The instructor’s ability to control and steer the class is vital to the safe participation of everyone taking part.
  • Do you have a training plan for your lessons? Will your lessons need to be adapted to enable you to follow social distancing measures?
  • Remember handlers who are engrossed in engaging with their dogs may sometimes forget to space themselves appropriately.

On lead work – This can be done in small groups but social distancing must be observed and common sense must prevail. The instructor’s ability to control and steer the class is vital to the safe participation of everyone taking part.

Off lead work - This will be dependent on the space and restraints of the training area being used and ability of the dogs and handlers taking part. The instructor’s ability to control and steer the class is vital to the safe participation of everyone taking part.

Stays – These will be dependent on the space and restraints of the training area being used and ability of the dogs and handlers taking part.

Recall - This will be dependent on the space and restraints of the training area being used and ability of the dogs and handlers taking part. The instructor’s ability to control and steer the class is vital to the safe participation of everyone taking part. Consider the use longer leads/lines or on lead puppy recalls for younger and inexperienced dogs

Playing with Toys on or off lead - This will be dependent on the space and restraints of the training area being used and ability of the dogs and handlers taking part. The instructor’s ability to control and steer the class is vital to the safe participation of everyone taking part. Playing with toys can be done on lead but extra care must be taken if playing with a dog off the lead so that social distancing is not breached

 

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