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November 27, 2018
So how does your dog know that a trip the vets is imminent? Well that is probably because you are telling them. Without meaning to your dog has picked up on your signals. It might be something significant like you've changed their diet or given them more dental sticks than usual or it could be you've used the word (or even spelt) VET and they've picked up on the tone of voice. They will then work out that this one thing, often leads to the next. Dogs are very emotional creatures and pick up on your display of emotions very easily. If you're worried then they are worried.
1). Start off by going on regular walks to and past the vets. - Pop in and say hi from time to time. Offer your dog a treat when you do this as they will then associate the vets with a positive food offering environment.
2). Get your Dog used to the experience. - When you think of what goes in to a vets yearly examination it is a lot of feeling of tummies, lifting of paws, checking of teeth, jumping on scales and so forth. You can desensitise your dog to this weird sensation by making it not weird and every now and then when they are in a calm relaxed mood doing these actions. They will then be used to some of these strange actions when they next go to the vets and associate it with you. Getting a dog to practice on the scales is a little harder however but can still be done at home. If your dog is small enough they could stand on a set of bathroom-scales. If they are a bit bigger you'l need to get more creative. The reason Dogs dislike this part of the vets is because the scales tend to wobble making them feel unstable. If you are able to train your pup to sit still for 10 seconds and reward them with a treat it should make the wobbly experience at the vets go a lot quicker.
3). fill the Car or Carrier with toys and homely reassurances. - If you're walking all the way to the vets then let them bring a toy to associate a friendly and happy feeling with the travel to and from the vets. Remember to give lots of praise for good behaviour and bring a pocket full of treats for afterwards.
4). Coaxing a Relaxed state- If your dog gets stressed by the thought of going to the vets you may want to invest in a pheromone spray to help them keep calm and relaxed. A pump of spray on their lead or stuffed teddy 30 minutes (or what ever the bottle suggests) before your trip outside and they should be emitting a calmer state in no time.
5). Try to go for an early morning appointment and don't be late! - these early morning appointments are the most stress free as the vets won't be running behind. It's best to get your dog in and out as quickly and smoothly as possible so the vets are on top efficiency level.
6). Tire them Out Beforehand - If an early morning appointment is out of the question then you should definitely try tiring you dog out before you leave the house. This will keep their energy levels down as they would be worn out.
7). A little help from the Vet beforehand - If taking your Dog to the vet is too distressing for your cat and they are doing themselves physical harm from the stress such as vomiting, hair pulling, excessive pooping or near starvation, it is worth having a consultation with your vet before your visit - without the Dog. They may suggest giving you a mild sedative you could give them before taking them to the vet or they may arrange a home visit.
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