Vet Check

Most dogs do not like being examined by the vets as it is quite an invasive experience for them. A vet examination can be stressful for both you and your puppy and this stress can escalate with time. The good news is that you can prepare your puppy from a young age to be more relaxed at the vet visit.

The best way to help your puppy is to start to mimic the vet visit at home and to make the experience positive. Feed your puppy with high reward treats whilst doing the examination, especially if your puppy is nervous (remember that all treats do not have the same value).

To mimic the vet check:

  • Make sure you can stroke the whole body of your puppy from head to tail, without forgetting the abdomen area. Stroke and gently move its legs, feet and toes.
  • Check gently your puppy’s ears, try to look in the ears and smell them.
  • Check your puppy’s eyes. Please be careful with the puppy and look at each eye separately. It is important that the puppy is learning that someone leaning towards its face is not a threat. Some puppies, and dogs, can have a fear or apprehension reaction when a person puts their face close to theirs. This reaction is often more pronounced when it is a stranger leaning forward and staring. Eye to eye contact can heighten this reaction. Some dogs may even snap (it is usually a fear reaction) so be careful, and if you feel your puppy is uncomfortable, you need to build the confidence slowly.
  • Check your puppy’s teeth

Providing there is space and there are not too many other dogs in the vets’ waiting room, take the opportunity when you have a vet visit to do some clicker training using only the exercises your puppy like and do not forget to reward your puppy every time with either food or a toy (We will have a session about toys later in the class). I prefer food at the vets as it is calmer. Note:  if you dog may need an x-ray, CT scan. MRI or an operation you cannot use food whilst waiting.

One good clicker training exercise, should the weighing scales be outside the consultation room, is to teach your puppy to go on the scale to be weighed on its own. Use the clicker and the same techniques as the “on your mat” game that you have learnt.  I always weigh my dog when I arrive at the vets. It is a game and a routine for my dog & myself.

Finally, just as the training at home, during the vet visit feed your puppy with high reward treats whilst the vet or the nurse is examining it. You can even ask your vet or nurse to give a few treats to the puppy at the end of the session. Most will be more than happy to do so