Covid -9 and Socialization - Doberman Forum : Doberman Breed Dog Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-24-2020, 11:12 PM Thread Starter
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Question Covid -9 and Socialization

Since the onslaught of Covid-19, stay at home orders, social distancing, and everything else in-between, I haven't been doing much with Zeus in the form of socializing. Granted, he's 2 years old and we did a ton of socialization from the moment we got him up until March of this year, but it's been months of mostly him and me (and my husband once the university shut down) hanging out at home. No group obedience classes. No meeting up with friends. No going to the mall or stores to practice calmly walking with distractions. I was nervous to even take him to PetSmart when picking up dog food.

I'm still wanting him to become a therapy dog at some point, and there are things he still needs to work on. He's gotten WAY better at not barking at dogs that enter a room (he never had issues with barking at dogs outside.. it's only when he's inside and another one enters), but he still has goofs. I know Pet Partners is super strict, and I want to continue working on that problem specifically .. but I'm still wary about bringing him places to practice. I don't think there's been cases of dogs getting sick, but I know /I/ feel completely contaminated when I have to go out to the store or someplace, and that's with a mask. Zeus is totally naked (so to speak) so I feel like every step he takes and every little thing he'll sniff at is a chance for him to pick up a virus.

Am I being too paranoid?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 09:03 AM
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These are tough times, that's for sure.

Here in Minnesota, cases are dropping, but for a lot of the country, that isn't the case. I can understand how you feel about your hopes for Zeus; we got new kittens in late January from a breeder, and one of them was specifically chosen in hopes of being a therapy cat. I'm coming to terms with the fact that it literally may not happen. He had gone on two outings before the pandemic hit. They went great, but now his entire kittenhood has been spent with no interaction with strangers. There was nothing I could do about it. I'm not sure outstanding genetics can overcome that. I'm incredibly sad about it.

I think you need to balance safety and your desire to work with Zeus. If you aren't following Dr. Osterholm at all, he's been very good about giving good information that is super helpful. His articles and information are on the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Facebook page. (Edited to add, you can find the Osterholm update on the CIDRAP page here: https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/) He just had a great interview on NPR in the last week or so. He has reminded us recently that being outdoors has been shown to be very safe, especially with distance. My Nosework class here in MN, for example, has resumed, outdoors. I would feel very comfortable working on something with my dogs outdoors. Maybe going to a Petsmart and staying outside, watching people, working on commands. Simply watching the activity. Even watching people in masks may be a new thing for him that he could acclimate to. Or, going to a nursing home and watching from afar, if he can watch people in walkers and wheelchairs. Not interacting, but if there's somewhere he can watch and just get used to them would be progress.

I would not worry about Zeus getting sick. Use the same precautions you always would. Don't have him interact with other dogs, or with people outside your household. You wouldn't do that anyway while you are working with him. Additionally, Dr. Osterholm has said recently that there is more evidence that surfaces are not so worrisome as we initially thought. It's really breathing in the virus in prolonged contact with someone in a closed environment. Our chance of contracting covid really depends on our proximity to someone and the amount of time of exposure.

I hope that helps. I think if you can be creative about places to maybe work with him outdoors where there are people (but NOT crowded!), that's what I'd be doing. Or, expose him to experiences that he might need to have - things like riding in elevators if he hasn't done that (a parking garage can be a great place to do this!), or, going unusual places, just to expand his "weird experiences" ...the more he gets used to strange things and is just like "meh", the better. A good therapy dog just lets everything roll off their back.
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DSC_0133
by Shanoa Delta, on Flickr

Richter & Sypha
Glengate's Mountain Fortress CAA ORT L1E L1C NW2 L2V L2I ACT1 RATI SOG WAC
& Sirai's Golden Masquerade ORT L1V L1E L2C L2I NW2 RATI SOG DOG TKN WAC
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
― Jane Goodall

Last edited by MeadowCat; 06-25-2020 at 09:20 AM. Reason: added link to the MN CIDRAP page
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 09:51 AM
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First off - I have to say that Meadowcats post was outstanding ! And dead on in my book !

Mouser - I know how you feel - We had great , great hopes with Mr. Business this summer , that , for the most art has gone bye , bye , Rosemary posted up about the AKC has a virtual reality you can do - like Rally OB and tape it and send it in - Maybe that is something that Zeus and you can do - I know we are going to try it and see what happens .

I have not seen this , but my wife has seen it a couple of times where Doctors said that a dog or cat has got the c-19 from there owners and if they go to the vet to wipe them down - especially there paws if they had been out - as they say - keep them in your circle - Know don't laugh to hard here - but our circle is , My wife , Mr. B and I - no kidding .

I have been posting about being very nervous about our new pup coming to us in July - I really do know the root of that problem ! Its the trip to pick her up , meeting up with the breeder - the whole deal ! My wife is very worried about me doing the deal - I told her not to worry - I will just treat it like I do a pickup , mask on - distance - the whole deal -we should be fine .

I need to take Kadin on a trip soon too ! Just a trip around the country side will help - I told the girls at the Vets office , one day we will drive by the front door and they can wave to Mr. B - they got a kick out of that and said they would do it .

You will do fine Mouser ! Just do what they ask to do and what Meadowcat said about the out door stuff , And SMILE ! Or your hair will be the color of mine ! = The prettiest gray you ever saw - and NO laughing
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 10:14 AM
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Great advice from both MeadowCat and EICN, and good suggestions from both.

I'd be far less worried about my dog having problems with potential infection of COVID-19 than I am when I go out (which isn't much that's outside my yard) to the store and over half of the folks in there this me are NOT wearing masks. Makes me grumpy to think that while I'm masked because it's protection for them they evidently don't care about the rest of us.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 11:18 AM
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I have taken Loki to an outdoor mall that is partially closed (masked) and nearby grassy parks. He is pretty good at that, but if he sees a dog 50 yards away he flips out! We live in an area with fire trails and nature also, but there are more folks out there with their dogs due to free time/ corona, and it's pretty hard to see them until they are upon you. I am going to take him to a bigger mall soon. He went to a more active mall and inside the pet-store there 2 or 3 times. We have a big hurdle because we got him at 1 and he had already passed 3 owners. Other than outings for exercize or food we are home all the time. Luckily Bella has recovered and they play together well, and the yard is secure and big.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-25-2020, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Just realized I have a typo in the title... Covid -9? Yeah, let me not invent a new virus!

Thank you all, especially @MeadowCat , for your input. I'll definitely check out Dr. Osterholm and his findings, which hopefully will put some of my more paranoid worries at ease. As for Zeus ... yes, I need to get him out. I know he's regressed in some things and has probably gained some bad habits. For example, leaving him by himself has been more of a chore than it's ever been. He's never had issues staying in his kennel for a few hours in the past. The past two days, I've caught him crying in his kennel when I get home from running a few necessary errands. I don't know if it's because he hears me pull up and gets excited, or if he sits in there and cries for hours. The first time I heard him I literally ran into the house, thinking there was something wrong, but when I got in he just stood up in his kennel with his Kong toy in his mouth, stubby tail wiggling away. *facepalm* I have a camera I'm going to set up so I can spy on him the next time I leave, but separation anxiety has never, ever been an issue. He also barks at any little sound that he hears outside when he's in the house, which is new. I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt that he's just adjusting to a new place because we've only been in this new house for a week, but a part of me worries that having been socially distanced from everyone but my husband and me has made him more anxious about things and needier than the usual Doberman amount of needy.

He's still good on walks though. Happy to see people. Ignores dogs that bark at him. Just this evening a dog literally burst through a backyard fence (old, falling down fence with tons of gaps..) and came running up to us barking, with its owner hollering in its wake. I started shouting and waving my free arm to try to keep it away, not knowing if was aggressive or not. Zeus didn't freak out at all. (me, on the other hand, vow to walk with either a thick stick or pepper spray from now on as this morning we also encountered a loose Chow Chow and chihuahua)

I will take the advice given and work with him outdoors. Near businesses and in the neighborhood as well, as there are a lot of kids (which he loves) as distractions. Hopefully he'll settle in and the above habits will dissipate.

@dobebug , I feel you about the whole mask thing. Texas is pretty bad. Bad enough that the governor is pumping the breaks on his whole "Reopening Phase" plan because the new cases are out of control. Becaaaauuuse people here are acting like the pandemic is over. Individual counties are implementing a mask requirement when entering businesses and such, but it's not statewide. It was in New Mexico.

@ECIN I've seen your posts abut your new addition! Good luck when you finally go get her! And stay safe! How's Mr. Business feel about getting a new baby sister? Keep us posted on the virtual rally that you do with him. And if you're allowed to after, you should post your video entry here so we can see it! (and your beautiful head of silver hair, lol!)

@princess bella I hope Loki can continue to practice being calm around other dogs! I know it's a lot of work, but persistence pays off for sure. Like you're doing, I'll be venturing out soon.

Thanks again!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-26-2020, 09:12 AM
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Gamermouse -

Separation anxiety is becoming a problem for a lot of dogs who are getting used to their people being home with them all the time. People who are now working from home, staying home all the time, etc. If that is your circumstance, you may want to start working on a protocol for Zeus.

Sypha can be a little clingy, so we're making a strong effort to be sure that she's still home without us sometimes, more like "normal" life. We make sure to leave the house without her. We take a walk without the dogs. We'll go take a drive, leave for a couple of hours, etc. It sounds like Zeus may be struggling, so you may even want to set up a routine that's more similar to what life is like for him in "normal" time - would he be crated during the day? If so, maybe crate him for a few hours while you work, in a room that you aren't in. You can set him up in there with a stuffed Kong, a yummy chew, the sorts of things you'd do with crate training to start if you need.

There are some really good webinars and resources out there right now for dogs/covid-19 and separation, if you need it. There are also good resources for socializing puppies during covid-19, and you may find those helpful for your needs, too.


DSC_0133
by Shanoa Delta, on Flickr

Richter & Sypha
Glengate's Mountain Fortress CAA ORT L1E L1C NW2 L2V L2I ACT1 RATI SOG WAC
& Sirai's Golden Masquerade ORT L1V L1E L2C L2I NW2 RATI SOG DOG TKN WAC
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you.
What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 06-27-2020, 05:59 AM
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Hey Gamer!
Great to hear from you.
Recently I purchased a real small air horn. Real easy to put into my pocket.
I sound it off for a recall so Hoss gets used to the sound..just a quick tap.
BUT when we are out and about if we get rushed by other dogs ....I just tap that horn and those other animals drop to the ground then run away.
Plus it embarrasses the heck out of the neglectful owners of their unruly critters.
Good to have on hand for any emergency really......air horn are real loud.
I also come armed with Citronella spray ........I have a taser also but would probably never use unless it was my last resort.
It’s a real fine line when we are forced to deal with someone else’s unruly pets.
Air horn is my go to in an emergency because I can get to it REAL fast .......just an FYI......
Meanwhile Zeus has matured.....I found with Hoss that something real magical happens between 2 and three years.
Zeus is putting together all of his lessons and mastering his smarts.
Don’t let him play you........he is such a smart boy!

Hoss
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