Great, great advice on how to help your dog have a better visit to your vet! Alena Van Arendonk from Canines In Action in Indianapolis has an excellent post on what you can do to make visits to the vet less frightening for your dog.(thanks Margaret!) I really like her description of being a training opportunist—taking advantage of a situation to teach your dog. Teaching your dog to get on and off something will make it so much easier to get them on a scale or a low exam table. Can you imagine what it’s like for vet techs to wrestle 50+ lbs. dogs onto the scale all day long? Teach your dog to do it herself and your vet tech will love you—so will your dog!
Some of Alena’s suggestions include training while you’re waiting for the vet and training before you ever get there. The idea of short visits to the vet’s office when you don’t have an appointment is also great. You can just go into the lobby, get your dog to sit, lie down, etc. and give treats. If the scale is accessible, work on on & off. It’ll help for your dog to have more positive associations with the vet.
Saffron became terrified of the scale at our vet’s office. The furnace turned on while she was on it and air suddenly blew out of the vent right into her face. That was enough to scare her so badly that it was almost impossible to get her on the scale ever again. So, I started randomly visiting our vet and if they weren’t too busy, Saffron & I would work on her fear of the scale. It took a while, but she got over it and now when we get to the vet, she walks right over to the scale and plunks her butt down. Help your dog cope better with a trip to the vet and do some training ahead of time!