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Preparing for Vet Visits

I think we can all agree, that to help prep for vet visits, generally growing the concepts of confidence and optimism, which will mould and shape your dog’s personality for the better, is the absolute key. Enhancing these concepts gives our dogs the skills to be cool and calm with what comes their way with regards to any novel event, including the vet. This week, however, I have come up with 3 top tips to boost your dog’s prep for vet visits all the more!

Tip 1: Walk in with Confidence!

You know the one thing that is common with vet clinics? They all have a similar style of flooring. This flooring tends to be slippery. So even before your dog’s vet visit, grow their confidence and optimism with things under foot!

Use items and objects that make noise and move! You don’t have to buy anything especially for this game. You’ll have plenty of safe things that you can use around your home! Create pathways for your dog to negotiate using things like:

  • Paper bags
  • Plastic bags
  • Bubble wrap
  • Tin trays
  • Tin foil
  • Paper
  • Cushions
  • Stalls
  • Metal baking trays
  • Low chairs

Then when you are out and about enjoying a walk take advantage of playing the same game with things in your environment:

  • Drain covers
  • Fallen trees
  • Tree stumps
  • Benches
  • Low walls

…..to name a few!

Generally growing confidence and optimism in this way and helping your dog to be cool with a plethora of things under foot will lead to a dog who will stride into the vet clinic without worrying about the floor.

Tip 2: The Scruff Game!

  1. Handling is a hot topic and one that I have mentioned before. Ensuring that your dog is comfortable with being handling is crucial to the success of your vet visits. This skill is always grown at the dog’s pace and their compliance is a must. So, know your dog for this one!
  2. An addition to handling, once your dog has reached a level of comfort with being handled, is adding in and proactively practicing the scruff game.
  3. Here’s the thing, when at the vet, injections tend to take place, but aside from being at the vet, there is never really a time where we have to lift our dog’s skin (scruffing), so that’s why the scruff game is so crucial as its great prep for those novels times that injections are administered.
  4. The game is an easy one but a forgotten gem! To play; mix it in with your handling work, when your dog is ready of course! Gently scruff your dog and feed at the same time. 
  5. The next time your dog needs an injection, it won’t be such a big deal as you have practiced and made a positive association with the sensation of being scruffed.

Tip 3: Road to No-Where

Dogs are genius’ when it comes to working out predictors! Unless you have ditched the routine, when you grab that leash the usual response is excitement as your dog anticipates a fun walk! I am keen advocate of ditching the routine (you can find posts on this subject on my page) as you know and one particular place I work on this the most is my vehicle.

In the context of vet visits, you want to ensure that you aren’t only ever popping your dog in your vehicle when it comes to vet time. Dogs pair so quickly, so it won’t take long for them to dread going in the vehicle if the destination is to always one that isn’t particularly fun.

Here are some of the things I do to mix up the muffins when it comes to my vehicle. This ensures that my dogs never know why they are in it!

  • My dogs enjoy their dinner in a kong in my vehicle while it’s parked on the driveway
  • I drive my dogs around while I am running errands (while the weather is cool)
  • I drive down the street, stop, get my dogs out (one at a time) play a quick game, then pop them back in the vehicle and drive home
  • I drive to a parking lot, train and then come home
  • I drive to a parking lot, scatter feed in the parking lot, and then come home
  • I drive to various hiking destinations and enjoy a nice walk
  • I drive to the vet clinic, park up and then leave
  • I drive to the vet clinic, get my dogs out (one at a time) play some games in the parking lot, then load up and head home
  • I drive to the vet clinic, take my dogs inside, weigh them, play a game/scatter feed, and then leave

….honestly….the list is endless!

Making journey’s in your vehicle unpredictable will ensure that your dog views them as a non event!

Read more of our Thursday Training Tips HERE.

Do you have a training issue you want to tackle? Come and stay with us in our cottage style apartments, right in the heart of Dartmoor, and make the most of our fantastic training facilities onsite.


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