4 Post Road
Freeport, Maine 04032
Open:Mon - Thurs: 8:00AM - 6:00PM,
Fri: 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Sat: 8:00AM - 1:00PM
Sun: CLOSED

Fear Free Success Stories

Testimonials from Happy Visits
 

Kong is King!

One of our most successful ways of helping dogs feel at ease is with the use of Kong toys stuffed with peanut butter. YUM!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feline Friendly, Too!

Sometimes, just bringing your cat to the vet is the most difficult part. To make their experience more enjoyable, we have meat flavored baby food. Here we are drawing blood from the back leg with no issues whatsoever.

 

 

 

 

Starting Them Young

Marcus is enjoying his first taste of peanut butter during a wellness exam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Communication Story

Meet Paige, a 2.5 year old Shepherd mix, Paige has a wonderful story about canine and human communication. When Paige first started coming to see us she was very afraid of restraint, handling and examination. Her fear was so great that if our staff tried to examine Paige she would growl and snap at us.

Thankfully as a staff, we understand that growling and snapping is simply the dog’s way of expressing that they are uncomfortable with the situation and asking for space. Rather than ignoring or punishing the growl, and forcing Paige to have her exam done we chose to listen to her and take time to build her confidence. Paige started to come in for happy visits with her owner!

During these happy visits we taught her owner how to restrain her for basic procedures and we began to practice handling her while her owner restrained her. We paid close attention to Paige’s body language, made sure to always move at her pace and never pushed her too far. After a few visits Paige was able to have her entire exam done with no concerns.

On another day Paige needed her blood drawn and we took a video of the process to help share our fear-free techniques with the rest of the world. Blood-draws can be very stressful and we do everything we can to make them easier for our patients. Paige still shows a little concern at a couple of points, if this blood draw was not needed for a time sensitive medical problem we would have taken a little more time to work with her until all of her body language was 100% relaxed.

However, we were very aware of Paige’s feelings throughout this process and took many steps to make sure the experience was a positive one. In this video you can see that we check in with Paige by giving her breaks to see what she wants to do.  When Paige gets a break she immediately chooses to come back into the space of the technician and solicits attention from her, she continues to eat and is lose and wiggly!! Taking breaks and assessing a dog’s body language is something we do constantly with Fear-Free!

Dogs are always talking to us, through their body language and their vocalizations and how much the human understands can have a huge impact on the outcome. If Paige had shown us any significant distance cues (body language that is designed to tell someone to back away, a dog’s way of asking for space) such as growling, snapping or lunging we would have immediately stopped what we were doing and taken a new approach.

 

Bob Marley Learns to R-E-L-A-X

Meet Bob Marley, an 8month old German Shepherd. Bob Marley was nervous when he came to get his nails trimmed. Instead of forcing the process we took a step back and taught Bob Marley to be relaxed for restraint and exam. We started by teaching him that handling predicts good things, never anything bad!

As Bob Marley learned this we turned his training into a predictable pattern, a game that he was happy to play! Bob Marley learned to stand still while his technician Mim restrained him, while Mim was restraining him Bob got to eat his favorite treat, and as soon as she stopped his delicious treat went away. Very quickly Bob was eager to be handled!

Now Bob can stand calmly for an entire exam, happily snacking away without a care in the world! This goofy puppy will soon grow into a giant, powerful dog; the training that we did will ensure that Bob will always be safe and easy to handle and most importantly will ensure that Bob always LOVES his vet visits!