Is your Dog scared of going to the Vets?
Our dogs have always enjoyed going to the vet’s, in fact, sometimes they even “pick-up” as we arrive.
Unfortunately this isn’t the case for every dog.
Below we have listed 5 basic things you can do at home to help alleviate Social Stresses from your dog’s life especially when visiting a veterinary surgery.
Here are our 5 tips to help your dog build a positive association with visiting the Vet’s.
1. Make it fun
If you think about it, the majority of all visits to the vet, are usually associated with discomfort. it may be for regular health checks and vaccinations, surgery or if your dog is unwell, either way you look at it, unfortunately a visit to the vet is rarely associated with fun.
2. Bring something to Reward your Dog
Most Vet surgeries will have some sort of food reward for your dog such as dried liver. The difficult thing is as the vet responsibility is to deliver health care, usually the food reward is given way to late in regards to conditioning/training your dog to overcome any social stress during that examination.
As Animal trainers know, food rewards must be given at the time of the stress in order for the animal to start to condition the stressful experience with a positive association.
3. Prepare your Dog from an early age
There seems to be a misconception with some that “wrapping our dogs in cotton wool” is of benefit or is protecting them. In reality, even with the best life, comes social stress. I call it social stress as it’s a part of life being a social animal & can not be avoided. Preparing our dogs from an early age can build resilience and confidence in our dogs. Get your dogs used to being handled, touched and having health checks so they don’t find a trip to the vet daunting.
4. Crate train your dog
We are forever recommending people to crate train their dog. It isn’t nor should it be about keeping you dog in a cage, but conditioning your dog to feel comfortable and teaching them to self settle in a crate. If you take your dog to the vet where they need to stay for any length of time, your dog will be placed in a crate. If you have conditioned this previously in the home environment, you have just alleviated one of the social stresses for your dog. Your Vet and Vet Nurses will love you for this training.
5. Muzzle train your dog
Again another case of alleviating social stress. No matter how loving and friendly your dog is, there may very likely come a time where your dog has to be muzzled. This situation will probably be highly stressful at the best of times for both you and your dog. I’ll give you an example scenario: Your dog breaks it’s leg, be it from playing, running and tripping or worse case they get hit by a car. If your dog is previously conditioned to wearing a muzzle, here is yet another way you would have reduced not only your stress but also any stress on your dog wearing an otherwise confronting apparatus if it wasn’t conditioned. Your Vet and Vet Nurses will love you for being prepared for this also
All of the above mentioned tips are standard for all of our dogs and the vets and their nurses have always thanked us and mentioned how much easier and less stressful it is for the dog as a result.