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The Doctor is In

Author: Erin Schneider | Date: March 1, 2012

Bailey and I have been making a lot of vet visits lately. Bailey does very well at the vet, but she is a nervous wreck for at least the first 10 minutes. She shivers and won’t sit still and it breaks my heart every time. I always bring a bag of her favorite treats and give her a reward throughout the whole visit. Luckily, treats make everything better for Bailey.

Dogs learn very quickly that vet visits are not fun.

Some dogs handle it better than others, but it is our job to make it the best experience possible. One helpful tip is to visit your vet when you don’t have an appointment scheduled to help normalize the experience. Once in the office, either for an appointment or a friendly visit, there are some exercises that will help you adjust your dog’s behavior. If you have a puppy, these are great things to put into your training rotation. If you have an older dog, most likely they have already created an opinion of the vet. But don’t worry, the exercises below will help. Just make sure to keep a happy voice and have plenty of treats on hand.

  1. Treat your dog as you approach the vet office.
  2. Treat your dog when you enter the office.
  3. Walk around the waiting area and give random treats.
  4. Sit in the waiting area and reward your dog for calm behavior.
  5. Let your dog walk on the scale, and treat on the scale.
  6. If the front desk staff is not busy, ask them to treat your dog.
  7. If it is OK with the staff, ask to go into a patient room. While in there, reward your dog.

Remember to be respectful of your vet. If you notice that the office is busy, you might want to come back at a less busy time. Also, when you arrive, ask the front desk staff if is OK to work with your dog. Most of the time they won’t mind and are usually happy to help out.

Also, make sure to pay attention to your dog.

If you notice them getting too stressed, quit on a good note and go home. The goal is to change your dog’s opinion of the vet, not make them more scared of the vet. Make sure to practice as often as you can and before you know it, your dog should have a better opinion of the vet’s office.


    1. […] pretty typical but it doesn’t have to be.  My fellow trainer, Erin, recently wrote a blog with great tips on what to do when you get your nervous Fido to the vet.  Now, let’s talk about […]

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