Face-Masks – How your dog perceives masked people

May 14, 2020

How is your dog going to react to strangers wearing face-masks? As Oregon re-opens, more people will be out, and they will be wearing masks. Many species, dogs included perceive covered mouths as being suspicious. Studies on human body language strongly suggest that a person who covers their mouth while speaking has something to hide.

So we might need to give our dogs some additional support as they get used to people wearing face-masks.

Things you can do to get your dog more comfortable with people wearing face-masks.

  1. Wear your mask around the house, while you feed your dog or play games with it
  2. Stand further away from strangers, and every time your dog looks at them, give your dog a special little treat.

When your dog is completely relaxed and comfortable, get a little closer, but only a bit.  We are going to need to give our dogs a lot of support, and we need to do it often.  Yes, even dog trainers will need to go out of their way to expose their dogs to masked people.  As social distancing declines, we will be able to let our dogs get closer, but for now, seeing masked people from a distance and getting yummy little treats is perfect training.

If your dog continues to struggle, we can help change its emotions with our Changing Dog Emotions Program.


Author – Debbie Schaefer

Debbie has been successfully teaching dog lovers how to rambunctious, rude, disobedient dogs into Well-Mannered companions since 1987.

That means there are few bad behaviors Debbie can’t tame or troublesome pups Debbie can’t help turn into well-mannered dogs.

With training, your dog can be a great companion, a fun part of your life.