Thursday, July 21, 2011

Veterinary Disaster

This past week I took Fi to the vet for a check-up, as she previously had canine influenza and heartworm.  While there I found out that she does NOT like to have her temperature taken. Now, I'm aware that no dog (or human for that matter) likes to have a thermometer inserted in their rectum, but her reaction was over the top.  She ended up having to be restrained and muzzled. The day after the vet visit I began putting together a training plan to counter-condition her to remain calm while having her temperature taken. Click and treat for the following:

1. Touch base of tail lightly (add duration)
2. Wrap hand lightly around base of tail (add duration)
3. Lift tail ever so slightly (add height and duration to tail lift)
4. Gently touch cotton swab underneath the tail (add duration)
5. Gently touch cotton swab to anus (add duration)
6. Gently touch cold/wet cotton swab underneath the tail (add duration)
7. Gently touch cold/wet cotton swab to anus (add duration)

Make sure to only click if the dog remains calm during these steps. If the dog reacts or shies away, it just means you went too fast. Simply go back to where you know the dog will be successful. This may be easier if you have a dog that always holds their tail high, but my dog's tail hangs pretty low when relaxed. Also, be sure to click while your hand is still touching the tail, otherwise they are being rewarded for you letting go of their tail.

I will then repeat these steps in the vets office, with my husband doing it, with the vet assistant doing it, etc.  Obviously the thermometer will eventually have to be inserted, but I don't feel comfortable doing that on my own, so I will have to work with my vet.

The video below is of step 4 and 5.  This is our 5th session of only a couple minutes.

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