Friday, August 16, 2013

Bonding With Your Dog at Vet Visits

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
Hi Doc! What's New?
No, I'm not telling you to cuddle and coo at your dog while he's at the veterinarian's office in order to bond with him. But you can help him gain a measure of confidence and a comfort level with the whole business by giving off the appropriate energy. Sorry if that sounded a little Cesar-esque, but this is one of those areas where he's got it right, in my estimation.

Dogs that live with you and spend time with you are naturally watching your responses to everything that is new to them. They learn how to respond to things that are foreign to them in the natural world, by seeing how you react in these environments. When you walk into a veterinary office, Fido is soaking up your nerves, or your comfort, whichever the case may be. You can help your dog grow to understand that visiting the vet is a normal, acceptable thing to do if you greet your vet and the vet techs with a friendly handshake and a pleasant chat. Fido will watch and learn.

Further, when your dog gets an immunization or is taken to the back by a tech, don't act all sad and tell them "bye-bye my sweet baby". Giving off a confident, all-is-well vibe
will help your dog to accept and happily go along with whatever is coming next. Your attitude is that important to his success. Give him a fighting chance.

Already into the vet vs. dog drama? Try this trick: Plan a once or twice weekly visit to your vet's office to simply walk inside, get a tech or even the vet to offer some affection and praise for their friendly and willing behavior, and then leave without much ado. Make it worth his while; give him a treat if he responds with a tail wag. It won't take long before Fido gets the idea that visiting the vet is a fun thing to do. This is actually an easier fix than you think, so go for it! Enjoy the bond.

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Vlad Barkly said...

"Plan a once or twice weekly visit to your vet's office to simply walk inside..."

That's what we've done with every dog we've had in the past 25 years--and it works! Go a couple of times a month for a weight check when we've called beforehand--so that a vet-tech has time to take them away from us and walk them around in the back of the office. (They still get treats every time we go.)

They've commented before that we've had some of the few dogs that were always happy to see ALL of them. Vet's offices really don't mind doing this free service because it saves them a lot of extra "work" in the future--especially if you have big dogs.

Dawn said...

Perfect advice and exactly what I am doing with Pierson. After two unpleasant experiences at the vet, Pierson is now terrified of the place. His third visit just for shots scared the crap out of him, literally. I've never seen him so scared. I think I've been pretty good at giving off the right energy. And I took him in the other day just for a quick hello. But it is going to take some time.

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