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Vail Pets: You can prepare dogs for check ups

Nadine Lober
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –New puppies are so cute and loving so we tend to want to spoil them rotten.

But puppies, like children, need discipline and training. This not only helps train your puppy but it strengthens the bond that you are establishing with your new companion.

I will explain how this will also help us veterinarians when it comes time to checking out your new pup. Eventually your puppy will realize how happy you are when he pleases you.

A new puppy will want to play a lot, bite a lot and will resist discipline at first. Remember that consistency and persistence are important. Short training sessions a few times a day are best and rewards for every obeyed command are necessary. One syllable commands are easier to teach, such as sit, stay, down, roll and come.

Many of you are familiar with the puppy training and have read a lot about it. But I would like to emphasize the importance of getting your puppy used to being handled in different ways. Recently, an adult dog came in to have his mouth looked at. We were unable to examine this dog because he was not used to anyone looking inside his mouth or brushing his teeth. We had to sedate him in order to fully examine his mouth and teeth.

This is just one example of many. Dogs come in daily for ears to be checked, nails to be clipped and oral exams. Having patients that are used to being touched, poked and prodded makes our job easier and eliminates the need for sedation or anesthesia. This all starts by training your puppy at a young age. Here are a few ways to start your puppy handling sessions.

Make sure that you can pet your puppy all over. Start with the head. Run your finger along the gums, lift up his lips and try opening his mouth a few times as well. Brushing his teeth is a great way to keep tartar control as well as teaching your dog to have his mouth touched.

Then play with his ears – put your finger inside his ear and rub gently. Once in a while take a tissue and rub it inside his ear, as if to clean out the wax. This will make it easier to treat an ear infection in the future.

Then rub your hands down his legs and pick up his paws. Play with his paws, by spreading his toes apart a little and put your finger in between his pads. Remember to always reward him and tell him how good he is being.

Teach your dog to get his toenails clipped as a puppy. You can do this at home. Even if the nails are black and you are afraid of clipping them too short, then just clip the very tip of the nail. This is better than not doing it at all.

Teach your dog his commands and have him lay down and roll him over on his back so you can see his belly. Rub his arm pits, chest and belly. This will make it easier when he comes in for an exam and we have to check something on his belly.

The clippers we use to shave areas of the dog’s body make a lot of noise. So if you can condition your dog to noisy clippers at home, then he won’t be so scared when we use them. Dogs that groomed will be used to clippers.

These are all helpful hints, but one of the most important ones is to visit your local veterinary office without needing any treatment. Go to the clinic to say hi, get a treat or weigh your dog. This will be a friendly visit and your dog will look forward to coming back.

Veterinarian Dr. Nadine Lober can be reached at 970-949-7972.


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