“My pet is always anxious at the vet/out in public…”
Our clinic is a little special. There are a few things different here, that are not typical at other clinics. The one I am mainly pointing out today is that the back of our exam rooms are open to the hallway where we work, run tests, enter information in the computer system, and prepare things for your pet’s appointment. This is very helpful to us, as staff can communicate and move quickly in case of emergency, or even just the doctor needing something we forgot to prepare for them. However, this also means your pet can sometimes see dogs walking by to get to the scale, and can see us working just as well as you can. For the anxious pet, this presents a challenge to the owner. (Most of this applies to dogs, as cats are typically brought in carriers, but sometimes the kitties are on leashes too.)
Here are some pointers to make the appointment a little less stressful on both of you:
-One thing we advise, keeping all of this in mind, is if you have a reactive or dog-aggressive dog, mention it upon check-in, and we can make sure your pet is called in to Exam Room 3 or 4, where they are less likely to see as many pets in passing. We do have some clients that request bringing their dog in through the back door, as that can sometimes eliminate passing by another dog.
-Secondly, we ask that owners keep a short leash, and do not allow their pet to peek around corners into the next room. If you read our last post, this prevents the spread of illness, and keeps your pet from a potential dog-fight if the neighboring patient isn’t as friendly. Along those lines, we also discourage retractable leashes, as it is very easy for these to break, or the locking mechanism to be disengaged, and next thing you know, your pet is in the other room.
OBEDIENCE! And why we recommend formal obedience training:
We have been stressing and stressing and stressing obedience classes for both puppies and older dogs as well. Not because we want you to spend all of your money, but because it will teach both and your pet things that will last a lifetime. Just about everyone can teach their pet to sit, lay down, and stay. However, with some pets, all of that goes out the window when meeting a new person, going out in public, on walks, seeing other animals, or going to the vet. Obedience classes help to properly socialize your pet, and help you to guide your pet’s behavior in an away-from-home setting. Most dogs are looking to please their owner, and obedience training also helps you to communicate what is expected of them in a way they can understand, and helps them to do their job(in their eyes,) which is pleasing you. We do have a list of places and trainers in the area that we recommend, and can absolutely put the list of phone numbers on your receipt!
One thing we see often is an owner struggling to hold onto their anxious dog’s leash. The dog is pulling, determined go see what is in the next room, smell the smells and worry about what is going on. This is a GREAT time to practice the commands your pet knows. We do have treats on hand, but if your pet has a favorite treat at home, we encourage you to bring that with you. By practicing these commands, even if you are just cycling through sit, lay down, sit, shake, lay down again, you are drawing your pets attention away from the situation that is making them anxious, and giving them a job to do. This also shows your dog that you are not worried about the situation, and sets the example that they should not be either.
*Disclaimer–please do not bring treats if your dog is coming in for surgery. The general rule for that is no food after 9:00pm the night before.*
Hope this was helpful!