Wouldn’t it be wonderful if puppies didn’t wiggle so much and dogs didn’t cower in fear when being examined? Some puppies start out liking their vet visits but as time goes on they learn that “bad things happen here” and grow fearful and sometimes aggressive.
Owners can start off right by bringing their dog into the office just to visit. Receptionists can visit with dogs and owners can reward them for good behavior. Dog owners can also practice mock exams at home by checking ears, toes, tails, teeth, and touching their dog with a metal object. Enrolling in a puppy kindergarten or basic training class is a great way for owners to get help with technique as well as give their dogs practice. Dogs should learn that “Good things Happen” when people do these things to me by pairing rewards with the various aspects of the exam.
Dogs should also learn to relax while being lifted and to be examined on a counter/table at home.
At the vet’s office, stay positive. Keep it fun for the dog by using treats and toys. Clients should practice the exam while waiting for the vet. Tricks can also help to reduce stress for everyone.
When restraining an animal, remember that the least amount of restraint equals the least amount of stress for the dog.
A confident relaxed dog equals less time for the healthcare practitioner and a more thorough exam for the pet.
Dog owners need to understand that it is their responsibility for their pet to behave while being examined.
Editor’s Note: These exercises are for normal, non aggressive dogs.
Clients should contact a professional for help with aggressive dogs.