Stress free visit at the vet? Sure!
A few times a year you need to visit your vet. For basic examinations, blood work or preventive care such as vaccination etc. Not all the dogs actually feel comfortable with that. You can see so many dogs scared to even walk into the vet's waiting room. The owners often have to drag them in there and force them to get the help they need. So what is the solution to make this occasion more pleasant?
BUILD TRUST AND REDUCE FEAR
You can have a dog at home that won't let anybody to touch him, or a totally relaxed dog, but both of them could probably use a bit of a help when it comes to visiting the vet. Thanks to a systematic training, you will deepen your bond and trust. The dog must know he can rely on you. When he feels safe with you and can see what is happening around, he loses unnecessary fear of unknown situations and objects.
HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN?
You will teach the dog step by step how to take an examination position and stay calm even if somebody else than you touches him. You can start with your dog standing or for example lying on his side. You can gently touch his shoulders and massage them, then take his one leg into your hand, move it up and down, touch the paw from the bottom, basically - simulate the real examination. You can continue touching his ears, snout, tail, inner thighs etc. Please make sure you reward and praise the dog as much you can. If the dog is not calm enough and tries to leave the position, or if he is not willing to give you a paw freely, it is a "stop" signal. That tells us it's too much for him. Most likely, the training was too fast and demanding for him. Under no circumstances should you force the dog to stay in position at all costs. Always adjust the learning speed to him!
INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE
Train this kind of simulation after you've had a good time together, after a playtime, or after a fun walk with your dog's best buddies. Actually, it does go even better when the dog is a bit tired. Your touch will be much more relaxing to him and he will create this pleasant connection to it. When the dog is comfortable with you touching all his body parts, you can ask another family member to do the same with you standing next to him or her.
Once you try it with a few more people, you can think about going to the vet. First you can just stay near the waiting room's door, play outside for a minute, reward the dog and leave. Repeat it until the dog feels comfy with that and then prolong the time and go inside. He will learn to handle the smell of disinfection around there too. Your dog will gradually start to associate this place with something good, something he is looking forward to. The training is systematic and should be regular. If you'd need an advice on this, contact an experienced trainer who can give you the basics, and then you can continue to work with your dog individually. Next time you'll go to the vet, you'll see, it will pay off!