Social visits are all about protecting the emotional health of your pets, as many dogs are wary of veterinary clinics. This can be for many reasons: the different smells, seeing strange dogs and people in the lobby, being handled by strangers and poked with needles, etc.
If your pet is here for a social visit, the purpose is to create a positive association between your dog and the clinic setting. Social visits will look different for each dog, depending on their fear and stress level in the clinic.
The goal of every social visit is to keep your pet’s stress level low. If your dog is unwilling to take treats or is too stressed to focus, we may discuss rescheduling your visit. We will never continue with the social visit if it doesn’t seem as if your pet is open to the training.
- You will bring your pet into the clinic, feeding their favorite treats as you go.
- We will encourage your dog to get on the scale.
- We will likely have you hang out in the lobby while our Canine Behavior Consultant takes your dog into an exam room.
- Depending on your dog’s stress level and triggers, we will work through what is going to be most effective in making your dog feel more comfortable in a clinic setting.
- After 10-15 minutes, we will discuss training exercises to work on at home to further decrease your dog’s stress levels during veterinary visits.
Your dog will always see our Canine Behavior Consultant during social visits. As they become more comfortable, we will start doing practice exams with novel technicians until your dog is able to generalize the positive association to the clinic.
- Make sure your pet is hungry. We will be using treats for desensitization and counter conditioning.
- Provide your pet’s favorite treats or toy, whatever they are most motivated by.
- Schedule your visit with reception to help avoid traffic jams and exposing your pet to more dogs or people than necessary.
- Try to avoid your dog’s triggers in the hours before coming in for a social visit.
- Give your pet their pre-visit pharmaceuticals if recommended.
Social visits are for current clients only, as we will be desensitizing your pet to a specific setting and specific people. Your dog will likely not be able to generalize this to all clinics or all technicians. If it seems that your pet does better with a specific doctor or technician, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate this request!