7 Steps to a Stress-Free Vet Visit

Good Housekeeping

If your dog starts growling as you walk into the veterinarian’s office, or if your cat hides under the bed at the sight of his carrier, try these anxiety-reducing steps:

Before You Go
1. Let your vet know you want to be involved in the visit by feeding your pet snacks and petting him to lessen his fear.
2. Play Doctor: Place your pet on a table; look in his ears and mouth and under his tail, and prod his paws and belly.
3. Swing by the vet’s office the week before the appointment and bring snacks for the staff to dole out to your pet. By the actual visit, your dog will have formed positive associations. Likewise, break out your cat’s carrying case a couple of weks in advance. Lay bedding at the bottom and give him his meals in the case.
4. Feed your dog less food than normal the day before a visit and nothing that morning – he’ll be more receptive to the treats you bring along. Choose soft-textured, tasty morsels, which are easier for a dog to swallow under stress.

At the Vet
5. Instead of rushing into the waiting room, walk your dog around the grounds. A stroll will release some energy, and he’ll feel more comfortable if he’s able to sniff out the surroundings.
6. Similarly, as the vet to let your dog smell the instruments.
7. Relax your pet by massaging him around the neck with a deep, soft kneading motion. If your cat enjoys grooming, have a brush handy to calm him.
Still scared? There may be a good reason: If your vet raises a hand to your pet – or recommends a thump on the nose as punishment – take him elsewhere.

Kevin Behan – August 2000

Published June 1, 2009 by Kevin Behan
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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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