Step 1: Pet with purpose!

  • Every time the dog gets that belly rub, we also touch their feet, ears, tail, and mouth. 
  • This helps the dog become desensitized to being touched in the areas that the vet will need to examine, which benefits everyone—including the happy, well-loved dog.
  • This is also an opportunity to inspect the dog. Owners can look for any bumps, irritation, or discoloration of the skin.
  • Early detection of cysts, lumps, and bumps can mean early intervention should cancer develop. Vet intervention at the earliest level can drastically increase the chances of survival and continued wellness.
  • Petting with purpose will lead to more satisfied clients because they now feel like part of the team, working alongside the vet to help their pet.
  • You can empower your clients with this advice right in the exam room as you’re working with their pet! No extra time needed.

Step 2: Trim the nails!

  • Dogs hate getting their nails done because it’s this weird, invasive thing we do to them every six weeks.
  • During Vetiquette training, we teach clients to simulate a nail trim each and every day, and we create a positive association with the nail trimmers.
  • The dogs are taught the “touch” command, in which they are required to touch an object with their nose, and in return they receive a reward. In this case, the object would be the nail trimmers.
  • They will become desensitized to the grooming tool and associate it with something good!
  • A calm interaction typically generates a calm response. The dog should be in a relaxed state of mind, and Petting with a Purpose can help achieve this.
  • The training process would involve tapping each nail with the trimmers.
  • After the first foot, the dog would receive a treat. Repeat this with each foot for three days.
  • The goal is to gradually delay the reward so that the dog has two feet tapped before receiving a treat.
  • Then all four would be tapped before receiving a treat.
  • From that point, the reward is offered intermittently until it becomes a part of the dog’s daily routine and no reward is required.

Step 3: Give your dog a hug!

  • Most dogs don’t like hugs. From our point of view we’re showing affection, but some dogs perceive it as a dominant position and may react negatively. However, a “hug” is often required as a form of restraint in the exam room.
  • Another type of restraint is pharmaceutical restraint in the form of sedation and anti anxiolytics.
  • There is also behavioral restraint. This would require the vet and an in-home behavior professional working closely together to ensure the client receives consistent, helpful training advice for their dog through the Vetiquette program.
  • For the moment, we’re focusing on teaching owners physical restraint a.k.a. The Hug!
  • This is, of course, for use on larger dogs. The process is to approach the dog from the side, place the left arm over the back, grab the inside back leg, place the right arm across the chest, and keep your head tucked behind their ears. There are variations that can be used in situations involving a wiggly dog, but this is the basic technique.
  • Through the Vetiquette program, owners will learn to hug their dog in this manner on a daily basis. If they do it, chances are you won’t have to!