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Training Tips of the Week
Friday, April 05 2019
Keep your dog calm at the vets.


Keep your dog calm at the vet with these tips.

Keep your dog calm at the vet by introducing them to the experience slowly.

Your dog enjoys going to the vet as much as you or I like going to the dentist. At least we understand why we’re there and what needs to be done. Unfortunately, no matter how much we try to soothe a nervous pup it will have the opposite effect. Since dogs do not understand what we are saying, our attempts to comfort them will accidentally nurture their fear and anxiety. If your dog is anxious, nervous or overexcited during appointments, desensitization is a great way to help keep your dog calm at the vet.

For most dogs, it starts with the car ride. Usually, the car either means the dog park (excitement), or the vet (anxiety). So now you are loading up a dog that is already anxious and excited before even leaving your driveway. Desensitizing them to the car is the first step. I recommend loading up your pup at random and take them for a ride without a destination. Sometimes I go to the gas station, get gas and go back home or I will drive to a dog park, stop, make a phone call and then drive home. Doing this is not “mean” to the dog, it simply keeps them from anticipating what is on the other end of that car ride and will teach them to relax in the car. This is a big one for dogs that get sick on car rides. They usually get sick because they are so excited and nervous that they get an upset tummy.

The next step in being able to keep your dog calm at the vet is to walk them in the parking lot without going in. After a couple of trips, when you are confident that you can keep your dog calm at the vet office, you can take them inside, weigh them and give them a treat without having an appointment or seeing the doctor. This is the same approach to take when it comes to the groomer. If your dog is reactive to other dogs or aggressive, then be sure to make special arrangements with your vet office and never take an aggressive dog into a vet office without first notifying them. If your dog is aggressive or reactive there is always a side door and many smaller vet clinics can clear the waiting room to accommodate you. Remember your pup will be nervous and excited when going anywhere new so it is our job as their leader to teach them how to be calm and confident in all situations.

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