Ready…Set…for Groomer and Vet! Tips for Drama-Free Visits

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If you’ve ever taken your pet to the vet or groomer, you will recognize the following scenario. The scene usually begins with a game of tug-of-war at the clinic’s door, followed by more thrashing as your dog approaches the scale, or the grooming or examination table. Sound familiar?

In recent television appearances, Karen Pryor Academy (KPA) Faculty Member Laura Monaco Torelli and Dr. Kelly Ballantyne from Furnetic/Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine have demonstrated that trips to the groomer and vet do not have to be stressful. Here are some of the tips that they have offered:  

Smiling Dog at the Vet
  • Help your dogs “practice for the exam” by spending a few minutes training every day. When it’s time for the real vet or groomer appointments, they’ll be ready!
  • Bring rubber matting (like a yoga mat) to place on the scale in your vet’s office. Many dogs are scared of the stainless steel, but once they are mat trained dogs will sit on the mat on cue. Using this simple “accessory” makes it easier for the vet to weigh your dog.
  • Arrange with your vet to bring your dog to the office just to visit, not for a check-up or procedure. Over time, a dog gets used to the sights, sounds, and smells, making it less stressful for the dog when you are at the office for a real appointment.
  • Fill empty pill capsules with peanut butter to help your dog learn to take pills like heartworm medication. When dogs get used to taking “peanut butter pills,” you won’t need to restrain them when the times comes to take prescribed medication!
  • To minimize stress, train your dog to learn and perform some fun behaviors in between behavior training for grooming and vet visits. Try teaching your dog to spin or back up!

Watch the segments with Laura and Dr. Ballantyne on WGN TV and NBC 5 Chicago to see these tips in action. For more tips on how to make your next visit to the vet or groomer drama-free, see the KPA Tip of the Day: Ready…Set…for Groomer and Vet!

If you are a trainer and would like to learn how to help your clients make visits to the vet less traumatic, read Laura’s article How Trainers Make a Difference: Ready…Set…for Groomer and Vet!

Positive Grooming

Groomers often struggle with being able to use positive methods on dogs when they come in for grooming. As a certified groomer and positive trainer I have started a facebook group to help groomers find ways they can achieve their work in a more positive way. it would be great to get some publicity of this service for groomers and traniers.


Regards Louise Kerr

Elite Pet Care & Education