OMG, Take Your Hat Off!
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
Beth Innis, DVM
"Take your hat off, its terrifying the dog!" I [yelled] at my brother upon entering my house. My large black dog, Otto, was channelling his inner German Shepherd on extra protection duty, barreling towards my brother with ferocious barking. As he swiftly removed his hat, Otto was able to see him as a familiar pack member, soon beginning to wag his tail and going to retrieve a ball.
Otto is far from the only dog I know who is concerned about hats, sunglasses and hoods. While he is on the reactive side of the spectrum in general (heaven help the person that thinks ringing the doorbell is a reasonable idea), he represents many dogs who seem suspicious of these accessories.
When veterinary protocols for COVID-19 got underway, I was concerned at how my patients would regard our masked faces. I was surprised and happy to find that the masks didn't seem to throw them one bit. It makes me wonder how much of the hoods, hats and sunglasses are scary due to their covering of the eyes. As Sleepy Dog's social worker, Jenna, remarked on our socially distant walk recently, "I can still see you are smiling by your squishy eyes".
Certainly some of my patients are still wary of what I am up to.... will there be an irritating adventure like an anal gland expression in store for them as their parents' hand them off to me and Nurse Sam? The gloves likely feel funny as I palpate their bellies. Its different to be in the clinic without mom and dad. However, like always, they take it in stride, looking at our upper faces and the crowns of our head and enjoy the view from the window as we get the irritating adventures over with as soon as we can and get to work on the good stuff like acupuncture and Reiki.