The Masked Trainer: Best Practices For In-Person Services

by | May 18, 2020

As states begin to relax stay-at-home restrictions, it’s smart to plan how you’ll provide in-person services to your clients while protecting yourself and your employees. (Both legally and health-wise!) Here are our top tips for maximizing safety and success.


  • The first rule is to follow all state and local rules and regulations concerning closings, social distancing requirements, and the use of masks or other PPE.
  • You can choose to adhere to protocols that go beyond what is required, as long as they are not discriminatory or in violation of any other laws or rules.

Suggested precautions:

  • Train outdoors when possible. If training indoors, open windows and doors or otherwise increase ventilation.
  • Develop an emergency plan for how your company will respond if a client with respiratory symptoms comes into your facility.
  • Minimize the number of people in one space by limiting class size, limiting handlers to one per dog, etc.
  • Require employees and clients to wear masks.
  • Ask that clients call or text when they arrive and wait to be called into the building one at a time, or to be met outside by staff.
  • Use your own dog for demonstrations if necessary, instead of the client’s dog.
  • Avoid sharing training tools, toys, or treats.
  • Require that a client or employee who is ill, has likely been exposed to the virus within the previous 14 days, or has sick family members at home, stay home.
  • Wash hands with soap and water after contact with clients, dogs, or coworkers.
  • Disinfect all high-touch surfaces multiple times per shift.
  • Communicate any change in company policies with your clients as soon as possible.
  • Stay up-to-date on new paid sick leave rules for employees.

Not all of these will work for every business, so choose the ones that work best for you, your employees and your clients. As rates of infection fluctuate across the country and around the world, businesses will need to remain flexible and maintain good communication with their clients and employees about the safety precautions they are putting into place. Following the official rules, heeding medical advice, and using common sense practices will be the best path to success for all involved.

If you want more information about how to survive the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side, join us for a Facebook Live on June 29 at 8:30 p.m. EST at


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