- Do pre-appointment prep. Call the vet beforehand to find out what procedures your dog will receive and about how long they'll take – it gives you an idea of what's in store and how to prepare. If your dog is never lifted up on a table other than at the vet, consider a couple trial runs (like at a park's picnic table). Have friends and strangers nearby so he gets used to unfamiliar hands and faces. Also, if you think this visit will be an issue, ask for the least busy appointment slot. Fewer dogs in the waiting room and less waiting time means you can get in and out!
- Stick to a routine of fun. Try to make the big day as pleasant as possible. Don't schedule a visit during his normal playgroup, give him his once-monthly bath that A.M., or do anything that would ordinarily stress him out. Also, make sure he goes into the office well worn out – head over 20-40 minutes early and walk him vigorously around the area or give him nearby play (and potty) time.
- Reward, reward, reward. Bring a pocketful of tiny training treats – if he starts to get antsy, bring his attention back to you with a yum. Don't forget to reward him with an additional playtime or snack when you leave the office – your good boy deserves it!
While some pooches approach the doctor's office like a new place to play and a vet as a newfound BFF, other dogs want no part . . . and make that known. Make it easier on both of you and follow these three steps for smoother sailing come checkup time: