sidekick dog training's policies regarding covid-19

Policy update dated 05/18/2020


With the Safer at Home order lifting, businesses throughout the state are working on plans to reopen. Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, my priority has been – and will remain – the health and safety of my clients, myself, and my family. It is in the interest of safety that I've made some policy decisions affecting the services I offer. While I miss each and every one of my human and furry clients and I’m very excited for the opportunity to see and work with all of you in person again, the policies I’ve put together will allow me to gradually resume working with you in person while keeping us both healthy and safe.

Below are details regarding the policies for each of the services I offer.


Group Classes

  • In-person group classes at Central Bark East and Central Bark Wauwatosa that were suspended in the middle of March will resume in early June; if you were a participant in one of these classes, you will be receiving an email in the near future with the specific date and time that your class will resume.

  • Each group class participant is, of course, at liberty to choose if they would like to come to the remaining classes and what their comfort level is with attending. If an individual is a member of a high-risk group, I very much encourage them not to attend class.

  • Group class participants are expected to follow social distancing guidelines and remain at least 6 feet apart at all times.

  • Dogs will not be allowed to greet and each (human) group class participant will be allowed to interact with only the dog they have brought to class.

  • Group class participants are asked to limit the family members that attend class to only the essential, so our class gathering can be kept to the minimum amount of people possible. Detailed homework is sent after each class, so any family members that cannot attend will have the homework to reference and, of course, I am available for any questions or clarification that is needed.

  • If needed, group class participants may bring their own chairs to sit on during class; seating will not be provided to limit cross-contamination of surfaces group class participants, myself, or daycare staff come into contact with.

  • I will not be demonstrating behaviors or exercises with any of the furry group class participants in order to maintain social distancing guidelines and to limit contact with potentially contaminated surfaces and equipment.

  • Masks are required for class with zero exceptions; group class participants arriving to class without a mask will be asked to leave.

  • I ask that, if group class participants are ill in any way (common cold, flu, Coronavirus, or otherwise) or have been in contact with anyone suspected of being infected, that you do not attend class.


Private Training

Beginning June 1, 2020, Private Training sessions may be scheduled in person with the following policies in place (Note: in-person sessions will not be scheduled prior to June 1st; all sessions before June 1st will remain remote).

  • All in-person sessions will be held outdoors with no exceptions. If it is raining, the session may be rescheduled or held remotely.

  • Social distancing guidelines will be adhered to at all times; any individuals attending the sessions will be expected to remain at least 6 feet from me at all times.

  • In the interest of limiting my exposure to new people, I request that only the most essential family members attend sessions. A summary of the session and an explanation of any behaviors and exercises performed are sent within 48 hours of the session; any individuals unable to attend the session will have those materials to reference and, of course, I am available for questions and clarification.

  • Masks will be required for every individual attending the session with no exceptions. If masks are not worn by any of the individuals attending the session, I will not stay for the in-person session; the session will, then, need to be rescheduled to a different date/time and a fee may be charged to compensate me for the time.

  • I will not be handling your dog or your dog’s equipment during any sessions to avoid contact and potential cross-contamination.

  • The 24-hour Cancellation policy within my Training Services Agreement (TSA) will remain relaxed (as a result of illness) for the foreseeable future.

  • I recognize that the past couple of months may have been a trying time financially for many people; with that in mind, I have three separate payment plan options to lessen the upfront investment cost of Training Programs and spread the payments out over a period of time. Do not hesitate to inquire about the payment plan options available to you!

  • Only online payment for any Private Training will be accepted until further notice. Cash, checks, and in-person credit card payments will not be accepted to avoid unnecessary contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. Payment for the Initial Session is provided at the time of registration; and payment (in full or the down payment of a payment plan) for any Follow-Up Sessions or Training Programs is due 48 hours before the Follow-Up Session or the first session in the Training Program.

  • During the early stages of the Safer at Home order, some clients elected to wait until in-person sessions could resume to have their Initial Session or continue beyond the Initial Session. I will be reaching out these folks in the near future, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re ready to have your in-person session (with the policies outlined here in place).

*If you are interested in Training Walks, please see the policies regarding Dog Walks below.


Remote Dog Training

All remote dog training services will resume and remain available to my clients.

Remote Group Classes

  • At this time, only Puppy Home School (a remote puppy group class) is available.

  • If you are uncomfortable attending class in-person and are interested in an adult dog manners class, please reach out! If there is interest, I’m happy to create a remote group class that mirrors the in-person group class!


Remote Private Training

  • Private Training clients will have the option of remote or in-person sessions.

  • Any Training Programs currently in progress or that clients sign up for can be modified to be remote training sessions or to be a mix of remote and in-person sessions.


Dog Walking

Effective June 1, 2020, I will be accepting requests for dog walks (including Training Walks) with the following stipulations:

  • Until further notice, dog walks will be completely contactless; I ask that you are not home when I arrive for the dog walk (and return from the walk) or, if you are home, I ask that you utilize one of the options below.

    • Please put your dog in their kennel near the door I will be entering and that you step in another room of the house, apartment, condo with the door closed.

    • If your dog is not comfortable with, you do not have, or you do not wish to utilize a kennel, please use a baby gate to keep your dog in the room I will be entering for the dog walk and step in another room of the house, apartment, condo with the door closed.

    • If it is impossible to use a baby gate or two, please step outside when I arrive, so that I may collect your dog for their walk without coming into contact with you.

  • I will use the body harness or collar supplied, but I will be using my own leashes with the dogs I walk to avoid contact with any potentially contaminated equipment.

  • I will be wearing a mask when entering your home and on walks with your dog; please inform me in advance if your dog is concerned about masks or people wearing masks to ensure that both your dog and I are safe and comfortable.

  • I will be using hand sanitizer before and after entering your home.

  • Please provide any cleaning supplies you would like me to use if you would like me to wipe or clean any surfaces I touch in your home. Please also provide any pet wipes if you would like me to wipe down your dog and their collar or body harness before I leave your home.

  • Only online payment for dog walks or Training Walks will be accepted until further notice. Cash or check payments will not be accepted to avoid unnecessary contact with potentially contaminated surfaces. Payment for each dog walk or Training Walk is required at least the day before the walk is scheduled.


Pet Sitting

I am accepting pet sitting requests on a case-by-case basis; please contact me if you are interested or have a pet sitting request to submit.

Policy update dated 03/17/2020


On 03/13/2020, I announced to my current and future clients that I would be continuing classes and private, in-home sessions with added precautions and procedures to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy. However, over the past few days, recommendations from the city and the state have escalated and Coronavirus continues to be an even bigger threat each day. With a parent who has a compromised immune system, I've made the decision to self-isolate as much as I can and limit my contact with others as much as possible.


What does this mean for you?

This means I will be moving as much of my training to remote as I possibly can. I will be using Zoom, a free online meeting software, to accomplish this.

  • All Initial Sessions that are currently scheduled with me (and any Initial Sessions scheduled with me for the foreseeable future) will be moved to Zoom.

  • Follow-Up Sessions that I currently have scheduled will be addressed individually on a case-by-case basis. If you have a Follow-Up Session scheduled with me, I will be contacting you separately closer to your session date to determine our best course of action at that time.


What is needed for remote training?

Remote training will require that you have a computer, internet access, and a webcam. You will also need to download Zoom to your computer. If you do not have one or all of these things available to you, please let me know and I'll work to make other arrangements for you.


Additionally, the preparations you were asked to make before your in-person Initial Session still apply to remote training: make sure your dog has gone to the bathroom before the session and has not had a full meal; have treats available for use; purchase or have available a mat / bed / blanket and any other equipment.


How will remote training work?

Before your scheduled Initial Session time, I will be sending you a link that will allow you to join the online Initial Session (Zoom refers to them as meetings).

  • If you have already downloaded Zoom, you will just need to click the link and follow the short set of instructions to join the online meeting.

  • If you have not already downloaded Zoom, clicking the link will first guide you through the process of downloading it (a process that takes just a few minutes) and help you join the meeting after that.

  • All Travel Fees, of course, will be erased, since I won't be traveling to your home for the session.


Thank you so much for your continued patience and understanding as we're all trying to figure out the best way to navigate these waters. I will continue to work hard to provide you and your SideKick the very best I can, while keeping everyone as safe and healthy as I possibly can. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Policy as of 03/13/2020


With the current climate of concern and information about Coronavirus changing by the day (sometimes the hour), I thought it best to inform all of my current and upcoming clients of the policy I will be following and enforcing for the foreseeable future.

My priority is, of course, the health and safety of both my clients, myself, and my family. The pandemic we're experiencing as a nation and globally is pretty scary and, in the interest of safety, I've made some policy decisions to keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe.

  • During this time, group classes, private training sessions, scheduled dog walks, and pet sitting requests already on the calendar will continue as planned. With the information and situation as fluid as it is, this may change in the future, but, for now, I will continue to teach, visit your home, walk your dogs, or pet sit for you while you are away.

  • I ask that if you are ill in any way (common cold, flu, Coronavirus, or otherwise), have been in contact with an infected person and/or have been out of the country or state within the last month, that you let me know before any scheduled services. I will, of course, do the same and am happy to arrange alternatives for you.

  • I will be relaxing my 24-hour Cancellation policy (as a result of illness) for the foreseeable future.

  • I am currently looking into remote training options, so, if you must postpone your training session, are ill and/or under self-isolation, and remote training is an appropriate option for you, this may be an alternative we take advantage of.

  • I recognize that that many people may have to give up work (and salary) to care for children off of school or due to restrictions in their business/place of work, and/or invest in child care or pet care outside their normal budget; with that in mind, you're welcome to inquire about payment plans for any services.

  • During group classes and private training sessions, I will not be demonstrating behaviors or exercises with your dog at all (unless necessary) to limit my handling of your dog's leash and equipment.

  • I will be washing my hands regularly and frequently throughout the day; I will also be applying hand sanitizer before entering your home for any services.

  • I will not be shaking hands with any of my clients and will be following social distance guidelines during group classes and sessions.

  • Normally, I am happy to invite any and all relevant or concerned individuals to join us during our group classes or training sessions; however, in the interest of limiting my exposure to new people, I request that only the most essential family members attend group classes or training sessions.


Coronavirus & Pets

Over the past few days, a couple clients, as well as group class participants, have asked me if there is any chance of our pets contracting or giving us Coronavirus. A week or so ago, there was some reporting of a dog in Hong Kong that had been quarantined after testing a ‘weak positive' for the virus.

At this time, however, there is no evidence to suggest that dogs or other pets can become infected and spread Coronavirus. It is likely that the results from the dog tested in Hong Kong were due to environmental transmission, given that the dog’s owner was infected. The dog is not infected or showing signs of illness. Pets and their belongings, however, may be a source of transmission if they have come into contact with an infected person.

Below are a few resources for you to review, if interested:

All of that said, it is recommended that you take steps to care for your pets in the event that you become infected with Coronavirus:

  • Make sure you have enough of any specific food or medications that your pet may need for two weeks in case you can’t get to the store, the vet, or order online.

  • Create an emergency plan for your pets - in case you must go to hospital; who will care for them? How will they be exercised? Etc. Discuss their care with a trusted person and make sure your pet has time to become familiar with them before they are needed.

  • If you become ill, you are advised to reduce contact with pets, as with other family members. If you must care for your pet while ill, wear a mask during contact and close-up interaction, and wash your hands before and after contact.

  • Clean pet equipment carefully and regularly.


With the concerns over Coronavirus keeping us all a little closer to home and limiting unnecessary trips out of the house, I totally understand both you and your dog getting a little stir crazy.


To help with this, AniEd will be running another reboot of the #100daysofenrichment challenge (if we've met before, you've probably heard me preach about this challenge; if we haven't met yet, you'll hear it soon!). This is a challenge I did with my SideKick, Ruby, over the Winter and we both enjoyed it a bunch! Subscribe to the AniEd blog and each day's challenges will be sent to your inbox every morning!

2020 SideKick Dog Training, LLC

Dog Training in Milwaukee, WI


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Phone: (414) 207-8060