If you have ever visited a dentist who proceeded to fill a cavity without considering your readiness or comfort level, chances are you dread going to the dentist. The same apprehension is felt by dogs. A dog that is handled at the vet or the groomer without having a choice to opt out will only become more fearful of vet and groomer visits.
Stress-Free Husbandry Work at Home
Many dogs are anxious about receiving husbandry care—especially if they find new experiences scary or if they have had a bad experience in the past. The good news is that by training low-stress handling at home, you can reduce or alleviate your dog’s fear about receiving veterinary and grooming care.
How to Prepare Your Dog for a Veterinary Exam
Regular veterinary visits are important for your dog’s health and wellness, but for many dogs these visits can be stressful. Who wouldn’t be anxious about being in a strange, uncomfortable place, in unnatural positions, and being poked, prodded, and pricked in sensitive areas by unfamiliar people? Fortunately, you can reduce your dog’s anxiety by teaching him or her to accept restraint and examination.
Handling at Home
A healthy dog is a happy dog, so it’s important to catch health problems before they occur. Teaching your dog to be comfortable with wellness checks at home helps you catch problems early. It also helps to set up your dog for success at the vet so that when it is time for a visit, your dog will already be comfortable with handling—from nose to tail!
Preparing for Your Kitten’s First Vet Visit
Anyone who has ever taken a cat to the vet knows that it can be a stressful experience for both feline and human. Just the sight of a cat carrier can send your cat into hiding! This stress and anxiety is one of the reasons that, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), cats are far less likely to go to the vet than dogs. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way!
Teach Your Dog to Accept Eye Drops
As eye infections in dogs are common, your veterinarian may prescribe eye drops for your dog at some point. After introducing your dog to eye drops to acclimate your dog to the approach of the eye-drop bottle, your dog now has positive associations with the bottle. However, the application of the actual drops can be aversive for many dogs (and humans), so how do you teach your dog to cooperate?
Husbandry Work at Home
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, many pet owners are wondering how to implement husbandry care. Use this time to work on building calmness and trust in your dog while handling his head and mouth. Train the behavior now and you will help your dog be comfortable and relaxed for many routine care procedures ahead. In this video, Ken Ramirez and his dog Marlin demonstrate how to create and reinforce relaxation around the head and mouth, including comfort wearing a muzzle.
Teaching Voluntary Weight Checks
Weight checks are a standard part of every vet visit, but for many pet owners getting their dogs onto the scale can be a drag (literally)! However, with a little target training and lots of treats, weight checks can be easy and fun! In this video, Karen Pryor Academy faculty member Laura Monaco Torelli and exuberant 7-month-old Dory demonstrate how nose and mat targeting can lead to voluntary weight check success.
How to Teach Cooperative Nail Trims
If you and your dog find nail trimming stressful, you are not alone. Nail trimming is one of those necessary but dreaded tasks that many pet owners prefer to hand over to professionals. However, with a little patience and a lot of positive reinforcement, trimming your dog’s nails is not only possible, but enjoyable! The key is to introduce each step gradually and offer lots of positive reinforcement.
Help Your Dog Feel Comfortable Wearing a Cone
They are called “cones of shame” for a reason. Most dogs have to wear one of those awkward, plastic, lamp-like cones at some point in their lives—after surgery, injury, or skin infection. Chances are they will not be thrilled about it. However, if you prepare your dog to wear a cone ahead of time, he can learn that wearing a cone is a good thing, not a punishment. As shown in this video, all it takes is some yummy treats and lots of praise to transform the cone of shame into a cone of fame!
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