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Handling and Vet Examinations

 

by CHRISTINE EMERSON, dog behaviourist at Drove Veterinary Hospital

 

When was the last time you handled your dog all over?  I mean really handle – as if you are looking for a grass seed deep within it’s feet or ear.  Will he let you do it?  When you try, does he wriggle his way out of it or go stiff, giving a sideways stare saying “Hello? Things are getting a bit familiar here” .  Some dogs snap if their rear end is touched and paws are often a real ‘no-go’ area!

 

We see about 6 – 8 dogs a month who cannot have a vital annual health check because their anxiety or anger renders it impossible.  These dogs may have a growing health problem which could remain undiscovered until it is too late.

 

In the dog world, touch is reserved for sex, nurturing and fighting.  Therefore we need to teach dogs of all ages to tolerate having things like their testicles handled!   If you drip - feed something tasty at the same time they can actually look forward to their ‘parts’ being handled.

 

As you touch each part, say the word e.g. ear, feet, eyes, la-la (yes, someone in our puppy school labelled that as well – and why not?).  Then when the vet needs to examine ears you can say the word and the dog will know what is coming, thus eliminating the scary unpredictability of a vet’s examination.

 

So the next time you have a lazy cuddle, start to feel all over – you could be saving your dog’s life.