Happy Vet Visits!

by Jemma Norton // May 2018

If you ask dog owners, “how is your dog at the vet?” it’s normally either “he’s great, it’s so easy, he loves it!” or “errrrm he’s not too keen!!”.  As owners, we do not like feeling like our dog is anything other than perfectly happy, and we naturally want to prevent them being worried whenever we can. The key to this is setting our puppies up for success by making the vets seem a fun place from day one, this is crucial to preventing that fear later on!

Most vets run puppy parties, where they can go and socialize before all their jabs are complete. This is getting two birds with one stone – they are meeting other puppies and learning those all important social skills that will help them as adults, whilst building good associations with the vets.

Vet nurses pave the way for our puppy’s socialization during this time, and any vet nurses that want to build their skills further should attend our wonderful upcoming CPD event at Moreleigh.

One of the things our puppies often struggle with is handling, i.e. being touched and checked. Practicing little bits of handling using food to keep building those good associations can really help build your puppy’s confidence as they mature. On our courses, we play a fun handling game and practice with grooming equipment, vet coats and equipment. At home, pretending to do little heart checks or checking their ears then rewarding is a great start towards a happy vet visit.

Most vets are quite happy for dogs to come in and visit, even if they are not having a procedure. As owners, we often forget that the only times our dogs visit the vets are to have jabs. How can we expect it to be a nice, relaxing place when every time they visit something unpleasant happens? Taking your puppy in to meet the staff, check their weight on the scales and generally take in the environment is another step towards those happy vet visits as adult dogs.

The most important piece of advice we can give? Repetition. Keep regularly visiting your vets and building those associations. It doesn’t matter how old your dog is, those good associations can always be built on further. 

If you would like any more advice on making those vet visits a walk in the park, or are a veterinary professional looking for more CPD, please contact Devon Dog School on 01392 826080 or email devondogschool@dogstrust.org.uk