Going to the vet can be scary for a lot of dogs, but it doesn’t have to be.
Flux had his first “real vet” visit at 12 weeks old. He has the advantage that his mom is a vet so can do a lot of the stuff from home, but I like to have another set of eyes look at my dogs, so they all have another vet in addition to their mom who does all the “mean” stuff like vaccinations.
This, tragically, appeared to be right in the middle of a mild fear period, so I knew we were going to have to work pretty hard to keep it a fun experience. Luckily, the ladies at Health and Harmony vet clinic are wonderful! I went armed with several sticks of string cheese, an entire sausage, a bag of kibble, cream cheese, and a bully stick. Vet visits are no time to skimp on the treats!
He was a little worried about going into the clinic, but quickly realized there were treats involved so it wasn’t SO bad. All of our work getting onto weird objects paid off and he jumped onto the scale like he’d been doing it his whole life. Easy peasy!
The exam room was a little harder with all the weird noises and dogs barking, so we played some fun chase the treat games, relaxed on our mat, and did our favorite tricks. He quickly relaxed and was ready to happily greet the staff members when they came in for his exam. We’d done some prep in making “vet tools” not scary before, and this paid off well for us in his exam. His littermate had some heart problems so I wanted to make sure they were able to get a good listen to his heart. He’d already seen a stethoscope several times and learned to hold still to wait for a treat. We combined these two skills so he stood very still for a good long listen to his heart (which was normal). Good boy Flux!
He got a delicious peanut butter kong while they did his vaccinations and he didn’t even seem to notice they happened. A win for everyone!
We went back yesterday for a quick booster vaccination and he was initially a little worried about going in, but once he realized where he was, he settled in well and wasn’t worried. I made a note of his worry and we’ll do a few happy visits in the next few months to help erase that initial bit of worry he has upon arrival.