Creating Kinder, Gentler Experiences for Pets



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Becoming a Pet-Centered Practice

Pet Perception Management by Dr. Rolan Tripp

Recommend A Kinder, Gentler Veterinary Visit

1) Invite puppies younger than four months of age to come to your location for a free "fun visit" to receive cookies, a Puppy Socialization Checklist and to be enrolled in a new free "Error-Free Puppy Raising Tips" ECourse that arrives in their home email.

2) Ask new puppy pet parents to bring any records – e.g. from breeder, or any previous veterinary care.

3) Ask pet parent bring a fecal sample in a zip lock baggie or other airtight container (sample up to 24 hr old).

4) Ask pet parent to bring in a hungry pet (cats in a carrier with a big fluffy towel inside of it.) Skip the meal prior to the visit - ideally 6 hrs + since last meal. Bring in the pet's favorite food treats in a zip lock baggie.

5) Promote early positive puppy socialization. Offer free weekly, one hour Puppy Parties, after practice closing and lobby clean & dry. Start an early puppy DayCare program.

Barking in Lobby

1) Most important is to break eye contact with the object of the barking.

  • Put barking dog in an exam room

  • Ask barking dog owner to wait outside

  • Move cat or dog that is stimulating the barking out of sight.

2) Ask the barking dog owner if barking or aggression is a problem at home. Enroll in a Positive Pet Parenting ECourse and/or Recommend a Pet Behavior Analysis.

Become "The Cookie Place!"

1)  Introduce yourself by first name and use the person and pet names in conversation.

2)  Ask if you can offer the pet a treat.

NOTE: If pet does not take treat, that is one measure of stress. Do not force any interaction. Take in and exhale a deep breath. Relax all your muscle tone and talk in "baby talk" to the pet. Then try offering the treat again.

Demonstrate the 30 Second "Gentling" Exercise

1)  First, you take a deep breath, relax your muscle tone. Use "baby talk" and without looking in the pet's eyes say, "Oh, you are just the cutest (puppy or kitty)." Offer a treat.

2)   Then lift the puppy or kitten by holding them gently with two hands around their chest and under their arms. (Keep the pets eyes at your neck level so you look down not up into their eyes.) Let the pet's back legs dangle (okay if they want to put their back legs on you for balance).

2)   Talk baby talk as you look into their eyes. The SECOND they look away, you break eye contact and gently but firmly hug them to your chest.

4)  Talking in a happy “baby talk” tone, having relaxed muscle tone, and offering treats communicates to the pet that you are not threatening. You want the pet to see you as a "Friendly, Powerful Cookie Giver."

5)  If the pet was cooperative, repeat the elevation, suspension, hug/squeeze and add turning the pet gently on their back in a cradle position. Offer the pet a treat. Your goal is to feel the pet let out a sign and completely relax. At that SECOND, let them up, and make a big loving fuss over them.

7)  You have just given the pet a lesson in cooperation. The pet learns first - this person is not threatening me but they are powerful. The pet learns - when I relax, I get my freedom back and make people very happy.

8)   Tell the client this is what you are doing - teaching the pet to trust people to be gentle, powerful, friendly cookie givers. The goal is to promote the pet's confidence, reduce fear and potential adult aggression. The pet learns to be cooperative and relaxed for gentle handling at home, exams, grooming, minor treatments, etc.

9)   Ask client if they would  like to try the sequence:  elevate, suspend, hug/squeeze, cradle, release, praise and cookies. Coach the client to keep pets eyes lower than theirs; to break eye contact quickly when the pet looks away; to talk in baby talk; to keep their muscle tone and breathing relaxed; to let out big sighs to help the pet relax; to praise and give treats for the pet's cooperation.

10)  If possible, pass the pet to another team member who repeats the greeting process.

11)   Advise the client to practice "Gentling" daily when the pet is relaxed and hungry to continue to "shape" the pet's positive trusting attitude and relaxed, cooperative behavior.

12)   Advise the client to avoid ALL physical punishment - to avoid pet fear, aggression, and lack of trust in people.

13)  Enroll client in Positive Pet Parenting ECourse that gives them gentle, proven methods for pet behavior training.

Before Puppy Leaves...

1)  Offer another treat to the pet.

2)  Recommend and give date for the free pet behavior seminar and next party (if offered)

3)  Schedule at least one day of free DayCare to help with positive pet socialization to the practice, if offered.

4)  Encourage lots of "fun" visits to your location for cookies to lower stress in car rides and veterinary visits. Tell client to come in so you can get your puppy or kitten "fix."

Promoting Puppy Services

1) Before the seminar, print out list of canines ages two to five months old.

2)  Assist with calls encouraging attendance to free monthly puppy behavior seminar.

Providing Puppy DayCare

1)  Be the "cookie giver" to daycare puppies to contribute to their positive experience and learning.

2)   If puppy is obviously friendly (and not barking) open the kennel, and give a treat and hug.

3)  Do not pet any canine that jumps up on you, since this is a bad habit we should not encourage. Instead turn to your side and look away. Ask for a sit to "earn" the  treat.

4)  Help the dog learn that a "sit" at your location "earns" praise, treats, and freedom to go out of the run or kennel.

5)  If convenient, keep the dog leashed near you  as you eat lunch or during slow times.

[1] Treat should be very small and very tasty. E.g. liver treat, Cheerio, pinch of “Pupperoni” or “Fake Bacon.” Both Hills and Butler make jerky type treats.


...::::::: Copyright 2000-Present  All Rights Reserved by Rolan Tripp, DVM  and Susan Tripp, MS, Animal Behavior Network and Associates :::::::...