Today Archer went for his second Happy Vet Visit. During a happy visit we focus on having an awesome experience at the vet, with no pressure to get things done. This helps prepare your pup for a real visit, where they may need to be restrained, poked, prodded, etc.
Last time we went for a happy visit Archer was very worried. I brought high value treats for him, some turkey, and he wouldn’t eat for the first 5 minutes he was in the building. He stood by my side and avoided looking at the Doctor, he wouldn’t explore the room, had his tail dropped and was cheek puffing and yawning. All of these are signs of stress and he was very anxious. Eventually he ate some turkey and we ended on that good note.
For today’s visit he walked in much more comfortably and would eat right away. He was calm but cautious for the first few minutes, but was exploring the room more and generally more at ease. His tail was in it’s normal position, curled over his back, and he would look calmly at the Doctor. We did some easy behaviors like hand targeting, sit, and attention (eye contact.) He even happily jumped up onto the exam table to eat some turkey. We ended while he was happy and worry free.
At home we have been practicing being handled and restrained for the vet (with high value treats), as well as other behaviors that can help with vet visits, like resting his chin on my lap (eventually he will chin rest to get his shots.)
All of this is to overcome one scary experience at the vet, because I didn’t listen to him. It’s worth taking your time and going at your dog’s pace. If you force them, or don’t listen to them, your next vet visit will be even more difficult and scary for your pup.
Woofs and Wags,
Gillian and Archer