Well, you can turn your wilting flower or scaredy cat into a happy, outgoing and well mannered puppy…and older dog. Here’s how using a few quick tips.
Obviously an obedience course might help. But if you know your pup at all, you have a lot to work with during a well-dog visit. Don’t do this if your pup is sick, injured or going in for surgery.
Think of using your obedience and games as entertainment for your pup while waiting or even while being examined by the vet. Bring from home some really tasty treats. Don’t skimp on taste; use sliced meats or string cheese if necessary.
When I walk into the veterinarian office, the first behavior I ask the pup to do is to jump on the scale and sit. And at the risk of driving the staff nuts, I may repeat enough times that the puppy starts to have fun. I make a point of doing this every chance I get.
While I am in the lobby waiting, I practice obedience games interspersed with catch or fetch. Have your puppy sit, then tell it, “good dog” and toss the food so she has to run and get it. Then do a sit, down or stand again. Practice the recall the same way. Toss a piece of food, let your pup eat it, then call it back to you for another, “good dog” and a piece of food.
Add shake hands, roll over, leave it or get it. Any silly dog trick will do.
If you have a retriever, toss your keys, glove, leash or something you have brought with you.
Before the veterinarian comes in the exam room, I play with the pup on the floor or exam table. I’ll stand the pup on the table and ask for sit and down. I feed a lot. When the nurse or veterinarian comes in the room, I’ll feed treats during the exam and particularly during the vaccinations.
If you haven’t taught your puppy or dog anything, now is the time to start. It is never too late.
Of course, don’t be a nuisance and bother the other dogs and people. If needed find a quiet corner or go outside or, even, wait until you get in the exam room. I do a lot of these games while sitting in a chair.
Movement gets the good feeling chemicals flowing and a dog becomes less stressed. Additionally, rewards for good behavior makes a puppy happy and that feel-good feeling then becomes associated with being in the veterinarian’s office and all the people there. Your puppy and the veterinary staff will thank you for the time you took to make future check ups easy and enjoyable.