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Do you prepare your dog for a vet visit?

We recently had Buddy at the vets to repair a hernia. It was quite complicated surgery so he had to go back a couple of times to be checked and really didn’t want to lie down for stitches to be removed.

I quickly realised that it was our fault that he was scared and that I had some work to do.

I used to encourage new dog owners to help their dog with a visit to the vet by going regularly and asking the veterinary nurses to help out your offering treats and fun experiences but of course with Covid restrictions this hasn’t always been possible.

So what to do? Well it seems that it will be up to us to help them.

Here are a few suggestions to work on with your dog.

A. Handle your dog - can you do this all over and most importantly will they allow it? I recommend allowing them to move away and encourage them to join you again. Keep it low key, calm and quiet.

B. Give paw - each one and holding them as if you need to inspect them or dry them - we do practice this and encourage you to do it whilst out and about too.

C. Check their ears and eyes - gently and don’t stare at them - take it slowly

D. Open their mouth - to give a pill or remove something - you never know why you have to do this so get them used to it.

E. Groom your dog, dry their paws etc with no fidgeting and take off their collar and put it back on

All of these things mean your dog will allow you to touch them. So that’s why we need to teach them to trust and agree to you doing it.

Do this every day and allow your dog to move away if they are uncomfortable. By all means use treats as a reward and take things slowly.

These are my watch words:

1. Play - it’s fun not a threat and don’t rush

2. Relax - allow your dog to rest in a position they want

3. Check your dog everyday

4. Teach them that wait means wait and stay means stay and they are good things to do

5. Teach them to touch on command so they can give consent

6. Stand - so you can examine or groom

7. Kindness- slow and steady builds trust.

Now if you do this every day and it’s as important as the walk, then when you next visit the vet, both of you will have a better experience.

Our lifeskills class includes this in every session. Come and join us and get the su


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