Teach your Dog to Love the Veterinarian

 In a typical exam, a veterinarian will look in your puppy’s eyes, ears, and mouth; listen to her heart and lungs; touch and probe her belly; manipulate her joints; and - nobody’s favorite - take her temperature. Puppies that are regularly handled and touched all over are less fearful and more likely to regard touching as affection.

 A great way to help your puppy tolerate handling is to play a game called Touch. Grab a handful of pea-sized yummy treats. Find a quiet comfy spot. Now say “touch” to your puppy then touch the dog’s ear for a second; release and give her a treat. Say “touch” then touch the other ear for a second and give her a treat. I progress from there to actually lifting and looking into the ear canal for a second, but be sure to say “touch” before and offer the treat right after the exam.  The puppy usually starts to gets happy when she hears the word “touch” because she knows a treat is coming next.

From there, work on a simple lip lift on the left side of her mouth and then right side. You can make it more fun by smearing a little peanut butter or yogurt on the gums instead of a treat. Always say “touch” followed by the reward after the exam. Now progress by lifting one side of the puppy’s mouth to expose the teeth. Remember it’s a game. If the puppy isn’t having fun, stop.

 Lots of puppies are sensitive about having their paws handled. Say “touch” then gently and quickly stroke your puppy’s paw then hand her a treat. Once your puppy is happy about the brief touch you can leave your hand on her paw just a little bit longer before giving her the treat. Gradually work up to holding the paw, then giving gentle squeezes, and eventually touching the toe nails.

Remember to add the tail, belly and back with this game. You may not want to do a full session of touch in one sitting. Break it up into short fun sessions. In addition, when you regularly spend time touching your puppy, you will be more likely to notice changes such as lumps, swelling, or tenderness that may indicate health problems. Remember to bring yummy treats like canned cheese, pieces of real meat, or peanut butter with you to the vet!

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New Classes Starting:

Focus with Distractions    12/18 Mon. 7:00 p.m.

Puppy I Manners                 12/16 Sat. 12:30 p.m.

Teenrover/Adult-Manners   12/18 Mon. 6:00 p.m.

Novice Trick Dog (NTD)             1/13 Sat. 10:00 a.m  

AKC Canine Good Citizen   1/14 Sun. 1:00 p.m.       

 

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