We are getting a lot of questions about the upper respiratory illness (URI) in dogs. This is not as widespread as the media coverage is! It is real, however it is a time to practice caution, not panic. It has indeed impacted pockets of populations, primarily daycare and boarding facilities with a daily changing rotation of dogs. We at Rocky Mountain Dog Training continue to take the health of our students very seriously.
Our sanitation protocols have always far exceeded those set by department of agriculture as we've always worked with puppies who are a vulnerable population with developing immune systems.
- Our population is small and fixed each week, we do not have daily rolling enrollment.
- Each dog has their own water. No communal bowls. It has been this way for years.
- Our dogs have their own crates that are covered. They always have.
- Our facility, crates, water and equipment is sanitized daily, and on the fly as needed.
- We conduct visual health inspection before students enter the building every single day.
- Puppies must be home 10 days and free from illness before entering the programs.
For students that are enrolled in our programs; we have always requested, but will now require, your assistance to help us maintain a safe environment:
- Avoiding boarding and refraining from dog daycare with any of your household dogs during your pup's time with us starting 2 weeks prior to their start date.
- Practicing care at the vet. If your puppy is small enough, we recommend crating at the vet until you are in the exam room or alternately carrying through common areas. Because sick animals is their primary population, you need to practice caution here most while balancing their need for care and maintaining vaccination schedule. Do not forego vet care.
- Do not attend dog parks with any of your dogs while your puppy is in our program starting 2 weeks prior to their enrollment.
- Avoid shared water when out and about and if you are doing socialization outings on your own, consider your locations carefully. This is not a time to take them to the pet stores for instance.
- If you see any symptoms of respiratory illness in a student puppy or other household dog please call us immediately, keep them home and contact your veterinarian to schedule with them. Please tell your veterinarian their symptoms at booking so that they can protect their population too.
Lack of puppy socialization and training is still the #1 cause of behavioral issues and behavioral issues remain a leading cause of death in dogs. No illness will ever hold a candle to this in young dogs. You cannot keep a puppy at home 24/7 throughout their socialization window and expect them to develop normally. You will have lifelong repercussions from this. This is not ok to do to dogs knowingly.
Rocky Mountain Dog Training is about as safe as you can get for socialization and training. If you go the DIY approach, you will need to go many, many places to achieve the outcome we can in house. More places, more risk.
We cannot get to zero risk. There is no such thing on this planet, but we have always and will always strive to keep our environment as safe as humanly possible and provide an environment where benefit will always greatly exceed risk.
For more information, please check out this comprehensive article from the vet community: https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2023/11/articles/animals/dogs/a-dog-owners-guide-to-navigating-respiratory-disease-concerns/?fbclid=IwAR0Un5O-jd_eXVDWLag44IPx_Idb4yC3FtVfCwXvJ0CrpncV_TsDXltYB4o
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
Julie Parker (CTC, CPDT-KA, FDM)
Owner, Trainer, Behavior Consultant of Rocky Mountain Dog Training