Do you struggle when it is time to take your dog to the vet? We know how stressful this can be. Let’s help you create peaceful vet visits.
You can get your dog to like or at least tolerate the vet. Start by “playing vet” at home. Do things that your vet will do to your dog and make it positive.
You can go to the store and buy a toddler’s doctor kit. Acclimate your dog to the different toys in the kit. The best to acclimate your dog is through counter conditioning.
This is a form of (Chagrin Falls) dog training. Pair the object or the action with treats.
For example: show your dog a thesecope and give your dog treats numerous times until he likes the site of the thesescope. From there you can start pairing treats as you do different actions with the thesescope.
I am currently working with a dog in Chagrin Falls. Dog training with counter conditioning is a focus of ours. We show the dog his brush and he gets treats when he sees the brush.
The site of brush then predicts positive things. As a result, this dog becomes happy when he sees the brush.
If you dog needs to be muzzled at the vet, practice at home. Get a paper cup. Cut the end off of the cup.
Practice giving your dog treats as he sticks his nose through the cup to eat treats out of the other side of the cup.
You can also practice “good things” with nail trimming. Show your dog the nail clippers and give your dog treats.
Repeat multiple times until your dog loves the nail clippers. The next step is to move the nail clippers a bit closer to your dog and pair that movement with treats.
From there, start touching your dog’s foot with nail clippers and pair that with treats. Break down each movement of trimming your dog’s nail by pairing each step with food.
Make sure you don’t move to the next step until your dog actually loves the previous step and is excited about receiving food.
Cleaning your dog’s ears or giving medication in your dog’s ear can also be very negative for my dogs in Chagrin Falls.
Dog training using counter conditioning can help with this as well. First, start by pairing treats with touching your dog’s ears.
Then pair the site of the medication bottle or cleaner with treats. Eventually the sight of the bottle predicts treats. Next, start doing small approximations of administering the medication or clean your dog’s ear.
Stay on one step multiple times while you give your dog treats. Make sure your dog loves that step before moving to the next approximation.
At home, create a table where you can practice vet procedures or just assign a location. Practice giving your dog many treats in this location / table.
Going into this location or going onto the table predicts rapid fire treats. Your dog then begins to like the location / table and will initiate going there on his / her own.
In general, all procedures work best if you practice outside of the stressful situation. So practice administering ear medication with your dog BEFORE he gets an ear infection.
That way it won’t be something new and scary if he does need ear medication. Predict scenarios that might happen with handling at the vets or on your own time.
Then spend time on a regular basis getting your dog comfortable with these procedures.
It is also helpful to work at your dog’s pace. Move slowly so that your dog is comfortable. If your dog needs a break and is ready to be done, stop. Resume when your dog is more comfortable again.
Some great options to easily administer treats:
If you need any help in Portage, Trumbull, Ashtabula, or Geauga counties (including Chagrin Falls), dog training in people’s home is our speciality.
We can work with the exact issues you are having and help you and your dog feel more at peace.
You can also learn much about stress free vet visits in Cooperative Care: Seven Steps to Stress-Free Husbandry by Deborah Jones.
Johanna Teresi, Chagrin Falls Dog Trainer, Four Legged Scholars LLC, Chagrin Falls Dog Training