Some people are convinced that dogs fear things by nature the same as they always bark on a postman. Nothing could be more mistaken. All these behaviours come from the smell of the certain place or person which dogs can sense and interpret. I was assisting the dog owners in their vet visit and observed their mistakes. Dogs were quite often paralysed by fear or fear was triggering aggression in them. I have seen dogs peeing or pooping from fear on the floor while waiting for a vet in waiting area.
All these places such as vet office or groomer room have specific smell that mainly consists of disinfectants. This type of scent is for every dog very stressful. It can be compared to our visit to a dentist and our fear associated with a tooth ache.
What I would advise all dog owners in this situation is:
“Everything we do with our dog become a habit, this habit after years turns to happiness”.
We can start from a good touch, massaging our dog, in particular abdomen, legs, the area between abdomen and thigh or even mouth area. Our touch should be similar to prolonged massage rather than just petting and it should be associated with a command such as “doctor”. We can use different commands in different situations. The best way of doing it is when our dog is tired, for example after a long walk which helps to reduce excessive energy. This should be done when our dog is sitting, lying on a chair, an armchair or a table. The important thing is to place our dog on an elevation, just like in vet’s or groomer’s office table. We can repeat this exercise few times and then we can ask one of our colleagues who are not emotionally bond with our dog to do the same exercise with our dog. Systematically repetitions of this exercise can guarantee that after a month our dog will be well prepared for visiting a vet or a groomer without feeling any stress.
We usually visit a vet in emergency situation. We should however stay calm and remember that dogs are the most empathetic animals living amongst us and therefore can feel our emotions. If we cannot stay calm, we should look for advice of specialist.