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Tuesday Training Byte: Planning ahead with training

Vet visits can be very stressful for dogs. We can help our pups by tailoring training to prepare for the trip. what does this entail? First, if you haven't already done so, be sure to start with getting your dog used to traveling in the car. If they are not used to that, you set them up for a fearful visit. If you have a puppy up to age 1 year, enroll in an AKC STAR puppy class. Here you will learn how to hold the pup, examine its paws and ears like what will happen at the vet's office. Veterinarians generally will check a dog's mouth, so when your pup is sitting with you practice that skill. I use the word "teeth" then I left their lips to view the teeth and gums, then reward the compliance. I use the word "open" and I gently open their mouth. I do this frequently. It can upset your dog when a stranger suddenly grabs their face and opens their mouth, so offer to open it for your vet. In a few weeks, I have a dog scheduled for hip xrays, so I am training now to get her comfortable being laid on her back on a hard surface and hind legs positioned. When dogs are anxious or afraid, they are more prone to bite. If your dog snaps at the vet, you can believe that thereafter they will require your dog to be muzzled. Of course, emergencies can happened and leave us no time to accustom our dog for what might happen at the vet clinic, but if we plan ahead and get our dog used to being handled gently in ways they might encounter there, the vet will thank you. More importantly your dog will be less stressed.

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