Dog Tricks That Can Reduce Stress at the Vet

Beg: Another command that makes for easier exams is beg or sit pretty. A dog’s chest and abdomen are often examined to ensure that the skin looks healthy, or for other reasons. Asking your dog to lift himself up into a beg position may allow the veterinarian to more easily assess your pet without needing to physically move the dog onto his side or back.

Wait: When you tell your dog to wait, this means that he is to remain in place until he is released; most often this is handy at the front door or while his food is being served. At the vet’s office, the wait command can be used to hold your dog still while he is being examined. Practice at home with your dog, beginning with light, brief touches and building up to handling that is more akin to a vet visit. When you release your dog, be sure to reward him immediately.

Eye contact:The watch me command can be useful if you need to hold your dog’s attention — in the waiting room while surrounded by other animals, for example. The watch me command can also be a good way to keep your dog calm and focused during different parts of an exam, such as an ear evaluation. In addition, the staff may need to look your dog in the eye during his visit. Teaching your dog to make eye contact on cue can increase his comfort in this situation and reduce the possibility that he will perceive the veterinarian and staff as a threat.

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