Dear Miss Behavin’:
We have a new puppy and want to know the best way to prepare for an upcoming vet visit?
Congratulations on your new family member! This is a great question as vet visits can be very scary for most pups! Things to think about are getting your pup used to being handled and restrained. In addition the new sights and sounds that come with the vet office.
It is not a bad idea to make some visits to the staff at the front desk prior to your appointment. They can say hi to your pup and your pup will get a nice social experience! This will also help them get used to the sights, sounds and smells of the vet office. Most vets are very welcoming of this because everyone wants a happy puppy during the visit, but I do recommend that you call ahead and check with your vet.
Body handling skills can include you touching your pup and then giving a treat. If that went well, you can increase the time of the touching or area. Most dogs have sensitive feet and are not crazy about them being touched. Take the time when the pup is tired and massage their feet and offer a treat. Do this in small steps and build as your pup is tolerant. If they get fidgety or move away, allow it and take it slower in the next session.
Getting your pup used to having their ears and teeth looked at can easily be done by breaking it into small steps the dog can handle as well. Look into an ear and give a treat. Lift up the side of the lip and again pair with a treat. Keep it short.
You can also teach tricks to help make the encounters fun. Shake is great to encourage paw handling skills. If your pup is wiggly, teach them how to down on a spot and encourage calm behavior.
Take the time to work with your pup on these skills, your vet will thank you!