What Makes a Visit Fear Free?
So what do we do that makes us Fear Free? We start by understanding that all pets are unique, so we cater our approach to each and every patient based on their specific needs and comfort level. Some of the Fear Free Techniques that we utilize every day are:
Responsive & Interactive
Everyone has owned, seen, or known of dogs that HATE coming to the vet! Dogs that must be dragged through the doorway and who spend the entire visit shaking like a leaf and hiding behind their owner! Some of these dogs become so fearful it turns into aggression – growling, biting or lunging when at the clinic. When a dog becomes fearful at the vet it is stressful for everyone. Owners hate watching their dogs suffer, the dogs are miserable and the veterinary staff has a much harder time caring for the patient!
This fear is the natural result of the dog’s negative association. Most dogs only come to the clinic to have things done to them, such as vaccines and blood draws, or when they are sick. Over time, the dog begins to associate the vet clinic as a place where “Bad Things Happen” and as a result, become fearful. Thankfully, this is one problem that is extremely easy to prevent! To prevent a negative association all we have to do is create positive experiences instead of negative ones.
Happy Visits are Beneficial
Happy visits are beneficial for dogs of all ages! If you have an adolescent or adult dog who is fearful or stressed when she is at the hospital, happy visits can be a fantastic way to turn the process around! With very proactive and frequent happy visits, a dog that is nervous at the hospital can easily be turned into a dog who adores coming in! For puppies this process is especially helpful as regular happy visits will set your puppy up a lifetime of good feelings about the veterinarian. Puppies that are proactively handled this way grow up to be a joy to examine! These are the dogs that lie relaxed on the floor for their nail trims and snooze through their blood draws. No stress involved for owners, dogs or the veterinary team!
Happy visits are so easy to do! Simply stop by with your dog and let your dog get lots of free attention and treats! We always have a wide variety of treats on hand ready for spoiling your dog! Your dog gets to come to the clinic and experience nothing but cuddles and treats – how great is that?! Happy visits can be a quick pop-in for a dog cookie in the waiting room, or a longer relaxed session in the exam room with a peanut butter stuffed Kong! Yum!