FROM FEARFUL TO PLAYFUL. REDUCING STRESS AND ANXIETY FOR YOUR PET
Does your pet hate going to the vet? Do they start shaking as soon as you get the car keys?
Have they had such bad experiences in the past that you try to find every excuse not to go for those very necessary vaccinations and health care needs?
This is Rachel. Her owner loves her and says she is just a fantastic dog-an absolute gift and blessing to their family. She will lay still and allow toddlers to pull and crawl on her, is super enthusiastic when her human walks in the door and is the type who will sit by your side when you’re sad.
However, Rachel had a painful experience at the vet when she was young (severely tore a nail, needed surgery and associated the vet with the pain). After that experience she had extreme anxiety whenever her Mom took her to the vet. She’d cry whine and “put on the brakes” when it was time to go back to an exam room.
She was normally a very friendly dog to anyone else but became very aggressive at her vet visits (growling, snapping, and refusing to even enter the building) and would normally need to be muzzled.
So, Rachel’s Mom heard about the GENTLE HANDLING techniques at JEFFERSON ANIMALHOSPITAL FERN CREEK. Our staff has received extensive training in techniques to help pets like Rachel enjoy their visits and not be fearful (yes, FEAR is the main reason for aggressive behavior in pets).
So Rachel’s Mom Found out about the LOW STRESS/FEAR FREE techniques at our Fern Creek Hospital. She called to speak with one of our trained staff and explained Rachel’s fears and made an appointment. HOWEVER, Rachel wouldn’t even come in the door so the staff asked Rachel’s Mom to just sit outside on our bench and she did this for several visits. This is called DESENSITIZATION. For example: If Your pet has car anxiety, you can have them just sit in the car, then start the engine, then take short trips, then longer trips and they will eventually see that there is no need to be fearful.
The other FEAR FREE tip is to constantly give treats to make all these experiences positive. We have patients now who come in our door, jump on the scale and wait for their treat. We have conditioned them to receive a reward to come in the door, get on the scale, get on the exam table, receive their vaccines and allow blood collection for lab tests. POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is the key to reducing FEAR and STRESS.
Rachel now enjoys her visits to our hospital. For the first time since she was a small puppy, she recently had a vet visit and she never growled, snapped, cried or whined. Rachel allowed our vet to take her paw, rub her belly, take her blood sample and happily took favorite treats of peanut butter and Cheese-its from the Doctor and the staff.
All of this progress is HUGE! Rachel never allowed the doctor or staff to come near her much less take food or blood samples. Rachel’s Mom is thrilled to know that Rachel’s medical needs will now be met without being afraid.