Coronavirus: Dogs could benefit from Manitoba’s new public health orders

It appears people with pets have a lot to gain from Manitoba’s new COVID-19 public health orders which come into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and ease restrictions on dog facilities.

Amanda Quinn, a dog trainer at Dumbledogs in Winnipeg, has had a number of dog-related concerns since the first round of coronavirus shutdowns last year.

She is especially concerned about new pet owners with puppies.

“There are all sorts of different learning stages in a dogs life, just like a baby,” Quinn said. “They’re going to pick up certain skills as they grow.”

Read more: Manitoba to further loosen coronavirus rules starting Friday

Quinn said she has noticed a number of new pet owners since last March, mainly because she thinks people have been lonely at home and looking for company.

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Her biggest concern is that these so called “pandemic pets” have been missing out on important mental stimulation.

“We’re going to see a lot of dogs that don’t know how to act because they’ve never been given the opportunity to learn from their mistakes,” Quinn said.

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Dumbledogs has been adapting its programs and policies throughout the pandemic to keep up with changing public health orders.

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In November when Manitoba went into lockdown, the facility was able to keep its doggy daycare open but has not able to run classes for months.

Starting Friday, dog classes will be allowed to resume, and Quinn said spots are filling up fast.

She said some dogs aren’t fit for daycare, but might do better in a specialized program.

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“If this is your first dog, you’re probably going, ‘What do I do?’” she said. “We can teach you what to do and then you take that home and continue on with it.”

Read more: $4,000 for a mutt? Coronavirus pushing up puppy prices in Manitoba

The City of Winnipeg is offering new pet owners advice.

Leland Gordon, general manager of animal services, said pets should be taken to a local vet for checkups and vaccines.

Pet owners also need to call 311 or go online to license their animal.

“It is the law that all dogs and cats in Winnipeg have to be licensed if they’re over six months of age,” Gordon said.

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While on a walk, Gordan said dog owners should consider trying a harness instead of a standard collar because it provides more control.

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“If your dog has any issues like aggression, be smart and proactive and use something like a muzzle for your dog,”

More information on responsible pet ownership can be found on the city’s animal services website.

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