Exercises that simulate the way a vet handles and examines a dog during a routine visit. Think dress rehearsal!
Your puppy may not appear uncomfortable during the first few visits, but did you know that many dogs become stressed by vet exams? This stress often develops over time. How frequently does your dog stand on a metal table? Or stand on that table and get poked and prodded? Learn how to do simulated vet exams and add them to your prevention strategy.
We owe it to our dogs and to our veterinary staff to do as much as possible to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable.
We encourage you to make regular trips to the vet just for fun. A game treats from the staff, a hop on and off the scale. Fear Free Clinics call this a victory visit or a happy visit.
Do this exercise with your puppy a couple of times a week while he is small and easy to lift. Continue to practice regularly over the course of his life. As long as your puppy is comfortable, it’s a good idea to have a friend or someone who he is not necessarily familiar with do a few simulated exams as well.
Simulated Vet Exam Exercise
Place some treats on a no-skid mat that is positioned on a safe, sturdy elevated surface like a table or counter. Gently lift your pup and place him on the surface. A bath mat or yoga mat works well to provide traction for the pup. Be safe and make sure the pup doesn’t fall or is able to jump off.
Examine his body the way a vet would, going over the neck, back, legs, eyes, mouth, and ears. You can use our Happy Handling Worksheet to accomplish this aspect of the exam.
As you examine the puppy, he should be getting tiny tasty pieces of treats.
Be sure he remains comfortable. Traction, good food, short sessions.
Your adult dog remains comfortable over the course of his life with routine vet visits and handling by you or a groomer.