In the course of their lifetimes, most dogs will get an ear infection that requires ear drops. However, administering ear drops to an ear that is already sensitive and/or painful is intimidating for the caregiver and frightening for the animal. Cooperative care involves training an animal not only to tolerate handling and husbandry procedures such as receiving ear drops, but to be an active, willing participant in these experiences.
In this video, KPA CTP Jill Hassevoort teaches her dog, Jack, to be comfortable receiving ear drops. Jill begins by asking her dog for a chin rest to help him remain calm and hold still. She then introduces handling of the target ear followed by the sight of the ear-drop bottle. As her dog becomes comfortable with the bottle, Jill moves on to build comfort with handling the ear as the bottle approaches. Jill’s goal is to for her dog to first be comfortable with the bottle touching his ear, and then comfortable with the application of the ear drops. If at any point in the training her dog expresses discomfort or fear as the bottle approaches, Jill stops and goes back to a step where her dog is comfortable. Jill rewards her dog for willingly offering the chin rest to encourage repeated tries and, finally, success!
For more tips on how to prepare your pet or your clients' pets for successful vet visits, check out our Better Veterinary Visits course!