My friend the vet: Part I

Published on April 13th, 2018

Did you know that there is an Emotional Compensation Principle? and furthermore:  You can take advantage of it for your visits to the vet with your dog?



While you visit your Animal Clinic or Veterinary Center with your dog, they can feel very precautious or even fearful from the moment they enter the waiting room until they are being checked by the vet. These emotions are caused by multiple factors: the expectation of something bad that will happen (for example the pinch of the needle); the need of been fastened or immovable because some other dogs are very nervous, frightened or ever angry; the proximity of a cat… and many more. At the end, just entering the place can be overwhelming for our dogs, making them feel bad, tense and uncomfortable.

Fortunately for us, but most importantly, for them, the emotional compensation principle has its “tricks” – norms – that we can take advantage of to assure that our dog can happily wag the tail at the idea of being pinch by the needle. Because, let’s face it: our dogs are more prepared and better designed to have fun than to suffer.


Therefore, in this post we want to share with you four of eight rules – norms – that guarantee the happiness of your dog while visiting the vet. But don’t panic! If you cannot make them all, just by following a good amount of them, it all will come to a great result.

  1. If you tell me in advance and make me happy about it, less things will matter

Dogs can tell things that are about to happen just by watching our behaviors: trying to take them to the vet without them knowing is not a good strategy, the moment they suspect it they will get nervous. They are perfect detectives!

The best thing to do is to inform them that “they are going to the vet!” in a cheerful way while we give them things that they really like: love, delicious treats, caress… This will not make them love the vaccines, but they will get to the vet wagging the tail for sure.

  1. Before and after is more important than during

But we also can help them to like the vaccines: if we offer them something that they really like before anything that could stress them (like before entering the waiting room, initiate the appointment or getting on the table) and also after the stressful situation, we will assure a positive emotional balance of the whole picture.

  1. Little by little

Most of the times the things that occur at the vet visit affect our dogs due to the lack of progression: if suddenly some stranger grabs them, puts them on a table and start touching them after being 30 minutes in a waiting room, it can be very stressful. If instead of that, we can do it little by little and for instance go one day to the vet and just be at the waiting room for a while or we help them get used to be lifted up in the air, this will be a tremendous help by the time you have the real appointment.

  1. If I can focus on something I really like, I don’t pay attention to the things I dislike

If the dog is able to concentrate on something that he/she totally likes, they will maintain the positive emotional state while some discomfort is also taking place. Following a piece of food that we place in front of their nose can be enough to not realize that the vet is putting the thermometer.

Dogs are really smart and if they can find something positive out of a situation, they put all their attention on it, forgetting the bad things; we can/should offer them that option. And by the way: we should imitate them!!

On our next post we will be sharing with you the remaining four norms to make the visit to the vet a wonderful experience for your dogs.

If you want to learn more about this subject or need some help with your dog, please contact us for a free evaluation session or call us 786-585-3667

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