Today's Training Tip: Make Every Veterinary Trip a Training Opportunity
We've all experienced the dogs who abhor the vet. Whether you have a new German Shepherd pup, recently rescued a dog or have an adult who passionately dislikes the vet, start working to change how your dog feels about the vet now.
It’s always easiest to start with a young puppy. They have vet appointments every three to four weeks for their puppy shots, and they are young and shapeable!
Make it a Training Session: Simple Obedience for Food Rewards
Take your high-value food rewards to EVERY vet visit. Practice simple training skills in the parking lot, in the reception area, and in the exam room. Pay (Reward/ feed) every single rep. Practice your focus cue. Practice sit, stand, and down. Practice your dog’s push-ups. Practice heeling. Pay it all. We call this operant conditioning: teaching our dogs how to operate in the presence of a stressor or a specific situation or environment.
We can still make an impact with our mature dogs, who are ingrained in their ways, but it will take more commitment from us as it will require more repetitions. Practicing twice a year is not sufficient. Swing by the vet's office and do obedience practice for FOOD rewards in the parking lot and then go home. If your vet is allowing clients to enter the waiting room, ask if you can stop in to check your dog's weight on a weekly or monthly basis.
Is your vet's office curbside only?
Utilize their parking lot for training sessions. Remember, simple obedience for food rewards.
Is your dog too stressed to take food?
Practice at home first and then pick a spot near your vet's office to practice engagement sessions.
And then go home.
Imagine changing your dog’s expectations from the vet being a place to get poked, prodded, and having their temperature checked to fun obedience and high-value food. You can change your dog’s emotional state from stressed to neutral. You can go so far as to change your dog’s emotional state from stressed to happy!
And what better place to prove your dog’s obedience skills.
Whether your dog loves ❤ or hates 😡 the vet, make every trip a training opportunity.