Control your dog’s fear of the vet

by Mar 1, 2017Care, Health0 comments

Have you ever seen a dog try to run away when he sees the vet’s office? It happens a lot, they know they are going to see the vet and they don’t like it. If this happens to you don’t be alarmed, we can help!

You’re not the only person who has to pull your dog inside when you arrive to the vet’s office. It’s a different situation if your dog is small, like a Yorkshire, in this case you can pick him up and bring him inside without a problem. But, it’s a completely different story if you have a Great Dane since there’s no way you can pick him up that easily.

Don’t you think it’s curious how puppies are always so calm at the vet? At least at first they are. Of course, after taking him a few times to get vaccines or for a checkup he starts to realize it’s not that fun. Even though it can be uncomfortable for them it’s important to take them to make sure their health is okay. Here are a few tips to stop vet visits from being something negative for our dogs.   

The first thing to do is for you to stop being nervous, since this feeling is transmitted to your dog. Try being as calm and act as normal as possible. Make sure that the vet is also a calm and loving person. It’s important that he pets your dog, says hello and even gives him a treat at the end of the visit. This way your dog will start to associate being there as something positive.

If you have a puppy it’s recommended to start working on making the situation a positive one. Encourage him to go by playing with him before you leave the house, so he will start to see that something good happens when he goes to the vet. Also, remember to give him a treat if he behaves.

Before going to the vet it’s recommended to take a long walk, especially if you have a big dog, this way he will be tired and not pull as much. You can even take a walk around the vet’s office so your dog sees that nothing happens when you walk by the office. If you live close to the vet’s office you can include this area during your daily walks so he gets used to being there. If you have time you can go inside on days you don’t have an appointment, stay there for a few minutes, give him a treat and leave. This way you can show him that being there is okay and harmless.

If you’re going to practice the exercises above make you have enough time to do them calmly, if you’re on a hurry or stressed you will transmit this to your dog. On the days, you have an appointment have the same positive attitude, since negative thoughts can be projected. If your dog starts pulling when you’re about to go in show him a treat and tell him he can have it if he goes inside, but only give it to him when he is inside.

Before the visit, it’s important for your dog to gets used to wearing a muzzle. These are usually worn by dogs who get nervous or scared. To prevent him from getting even more scared during the visit, you must put the muzzle on before you go. He can start wearing it at home for a few minutes at first and progressively more as the days go. Remember that the first time he wears it should be only for a few seconds.

During consultation

Ignore him if he is nervous, shaking or crying, your only reaction should be calmness. If you hold him and start petting you will be reinforcing this unacceptable behavior. We know it seems tough to ignore someone that you love so much, but you will be helping him in the long run.

Don’t give him a treat to get him to calm down, treats are only allowed when trying to reinforce good behavior; this way he will only associate it with good behavior. You can give him a treat at the end of the visit only if he was good during the consultation.

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