Vet techs and vet receptionists have challenging jobs.
It takes the right skills to be able to balance catering to the pet owners and catering to the actual pets.
It's difficult because pet owners often expect professionals to swoon over their animals, and they're even offended if they don't.
However, all that attention is not always in the best interest of the pets.
It depends on the pet.
Unfortunately in my experience, some receptionists in veterinarians' offices tend to treat all dogs the same.
They talk in high-pitched voices using an excited tone. They face the pet head on and bend down to their level. And they make direct eye contact, trying to pet them and hand out treats.
These are all good enough responses to a fairly chill, well-behaved dog like my black Lab mix Ace, especially if the dog is comfortable around strangers and being at the vet. Ace is a dog who can handle just about anything you throw at him. He's one of those “bomb proof” dogs.
And then there's Remy.
Oh, Remy …
Remy is what you might imagine if you threw a rope over a coyote and drug it into a vet's office.
OK, maybe not that bad. Because he's friendly. Boy is he friendly!
We walked into the vet's office Monday and he's on his hind legs doing his possessed kangaroo hop as we walk through the door. Barking with excitement. Pulls so hard he flips over on the slick floor, landing on his back.
I had him on a slip lead with no slack, so I kept him pinned to my side as we sat down.
“Shhh. Hey!” I whispered, trying to calm him.
And then a receptionist squealed. “OHHHHH!”
And I go, “Please ignore us. He's a ‘little' excited.”
“Oh, Remy! We want to make you love the vet!” she says.
Me: “Please don't come over here. He already loves the vet.”
Receptionist: “OK, I'll come pet you when you're calm.”
At this point Remy is trying to jump and climb over me to get to the receptionist. He grabs at me, tries to bite the leash, barks.
“You don't need to come over here,” I say again.
She then stands 10 feet from us, focusing on the coffee maker. This is her way of “ignoring” Remy.
He does quiet down, but he's staring at her, trembling with anticipation.
She takes his non-barking as a sign that he's “calm.”
“No. Don't come over here,” I say.
I had to ask her a total of 4 times to leave us alone. Asking her to ignore us was not clear enough. I had to spell it out firmly, multiple times.
“Don't come over here.”
All that aside, the real problem is not exactly the receptionists or the vet techs. It comes down to training and socialization.
My dog is poorly behaved at the vet because he's a hyper, overly excited, explosive young weimaraner with little impulse control.
He would've been a handful even if every single person had ignored him until his appointment.
Dogs are generally going to be at their worst behavior at the vet, so it's not fair for me to judge Remy (or myself or the receptionist) based on anyone's behavior that day.
What matters, really, is how he handles himself in general out in public and how I respond. What can we do to improve?
- Visiting new indoor, public places more often. Working on sitting and just doing nothing. Places like Petco, Home Depot, etc. Continuing to ask people to ignore us.
- Serious exercise. Oh boy does he have energy. We need a genuine run every single day. Leashed walks and the occasional dog park trip is not enough.
- Training classes. Keep at'm! As we're doing.
That's all there is to it. Patience. Patience. More practice. More practice.
And pet professionals like dog walkers, groomers, boarding workers, pet sitters and dog daycare workers, you have tough jobs. I know because I've worked in all of those jobs.
It's a balancing act because all dog owners and dogs are different.
But please …
When you see a young maniac on a leash EXPLOSIVE with energy (and I mean just plain NUTS), try to tone it down a little, please? For the owner's sake? 🙂
For the dog's sake, too. Thank you.
Do any of you have any examples of how a pet professional affected your dog's behavior for better or worse?
P.S. I never knew a dog could be that excited for a neutering appointment!
A tale of two vets – how the right vet makes all the difference
This post is sponsored by DogNation.net.
Voting has started! Vote now to select the “best” U.S. rescue group or shelter to win $500 in Dog Nation’s Best Friend’s Friend Contest.
Click here to vote every day.
Anyone can vote.
All the shelters and rescues on the list were nominated at the end of 2016, many of them by YOU!
To vote, visit Dog Nation’s voting page and click “Vote for Me!” under the image next to the rescue or shelter of your choice.
If you nominated a rescue, make sure to remind the organization that it's in the running so it can share the contest on its social media pages. You should also encourage your friends to vote because the voting is open to everyone.
You can vote once per day now through Feb. 28.
There are 6 pages of listings so you may need to scroll over a page or two to find the shelter you want. They're organized in alphabetical order by state.
The contest's prizes
First place: $500 donation to the shelter or rescue
Second place: $300 donation
Third place: $100 donation
Winners will be announced in early March on DogNation.net.
Additional benefits to the winners:
- The donation will be made in the name of the person who nominated the group
- The first-place shelter will receive a permanent link to its website from DogNation.net.
- All winners will receive a digital medal to display on the shelter’s own site.
One unique thing about the Best Friend’s Friend Contest is you won’t be able to see how many votes each organization has until the very end. This is so people won’t know if their organization has more or fewer votes than others. The leaders will likely change all the time since voting can occur daily.
More info on the Best Friend’s Friend Contest
The Best Friend's Friend Contest was created by Rodney Blow, owner of the dog information website DogNation.net. The site has info on dog breeds, dog training, nutrition and more.
Rodney and his wife have rescue dogs of their own and are dedicated to helping other dogs in need. This is the contest’s third year. Last year’s winner was The Sighthound Underground in Virginia.
The contest is set up to allow Dog Nation's readers and other dog lovers to nominate the top three organizations they believe are the most deserving of donations. The winners are then selected through online voting.
Important info to remember
- Voting takes place now through Feb. 28.
- Anyone can vote.
- You can vote up to once per day
- Share with your friends to encourage them to vote too.
Click here to vote!
Which group did you nominate or vote for?
Let me know in the comments! That way I can vote for your group a couple of times too!
This post is sponsored by dogIDs.
dogIDs is a company that offers personalized dog ID tags, dog collars, leashes and other dog supplies.
The company sent us one of its reflective waterproof ScruffTag collars for my dog Remy.
The ScruffTag collar is waterproof, smell resistant and comes with a built-in, personalized nameplate so there's no need for jingling tags.
We're giving away a FREE reflective waterproof ScruffTag dog collar to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of this post to enter. Click here.
dogIDs reflective waterproof ScruffTag dog collar review
My thoughts on the reflective waterproof collar:
My black Lab mix Ace has worn a red waterproof ScruffTag collar from dogIDs for a couple of years, and I knew I would also love the reflective version of the collar for Remy.
The ScruffTag collars are the most durable, practical collars we own. They just doesn't get dirty and they don't smell no matter how many times my dogs go swimming or hiking.
The collars are made out of durable BioThane Beta material, according to dogIDs. BioThane is extremely tough and resistant to the elements so it won’t crack in the cold or melt in the heat.
And dogIDs is based out of Fargo, N.D., where I lived for 10 years. Trust me, the folks there know about “the elements”!
The ScruffTag collars come with stainless steel hardware that is 100% corrosion proof, according to dogIDs. I love the engraved nameplates because I prefer not to have jingling tags on my dogs' collars. Can we say, annoying?
How much does the collar cost?
Use code THATMUTT for 10% off anything from dogIDs. Click HERE.
The reflective waterproof collar is $34 at dogIDs.com. This includes the personalized, engraved nameplate.
The reflective collars come in blue, green, orange, pink or red and in sizes starting at 1″ by 14″ up to 1″ by 24″. (If you have a small dog, check out the non-reflective version.)
What’s unique about the ScruffTag collar?
The ScruffTag collar line is trademarked by dogIDs, and what makes these collars unique is the built-in nameplate that sits on the “scruff” of your dog’s neck. Since the nameplate is built into the collar it won't fall off. The personalized plate is also easy to read when standing above and behind the dog, a safer option vs. reaching under the dog’s neck for their information.
Each nameplate can be engraved with up to 4 lines in your choice of 13 fonts. Every dogIDs tag is engraved with a high power fiber commercial engraving to create a clean design that won’t wear off, according to the company.
dogIDs guarantees the engraving will last the lifetime of your pet and if you end up moving or need to update your info it will install a new nameplate for $5 plus shipping.
Pros of the reflective waterproof ScruffTag collar:
- Not only is it reflective and waterproof but it's odor resistant!
- High-quality and durable
- Doesn't get dirty, dirt and mud seems to just fall off
- Weather resistant
- Embedded nameplate – so no jingling tags!
- Perfect for dogs that like to swim (no mildew smell on the collar)
- Good for active dogs, hunting dogs, dogs that visit the beach or dog park, dogs that play in the snow
- $34 might seem like a lot for a collar but it will last your dog years.
- The reflective version is not available in sizes under 1″ by 14″ (the non-reflective version comes in smaller sizes).
Would I buy this collar?
Yes! I love this collar. My senior dog Ace has been wearing the non-reflective version for years, and I would definitely buy these for my dogs.
Would I recommend the collar to others?
Yes. Buy one! It’s worth the $34.
Use code THATMUTT for 10% off anything from dogIDs.
Giveaway: Win a FREE reflective waterproof collar for your dog
dogIDs is giving away a FREE reflective waterproof ScruffTag collar to one reader of That Mutt. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win. The winner can choose between a standard waterproof collar or a reflective version.
Just leave a comment below. Why are you interested in this collar?
Also note that everyone signed up for the $7/mo option or higher on That Mutt’s Patreon page receives automatic entry into ALL giveaways. Sign up here.
Contest runs through Friday 9 a.m. PST Jan. 13 so get your entries in soon! I’ll announce the winner in Sunday’s email. Sign up for That Mutt’s daily training emails here.
Would your dog love to win a collar from dogIDs?
Just let me know in the comments!
Ace would like to wish you a Happy 2017 filled with strolls and adventures.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to write posts about all the training issues I’m having with my weimaraner Remy. He’s almost 11 months so still very much a puppy.
The main reason for these posts is to help others. If I’m having these issues, you can bet thousands of others are having similar problems! Remy is not all that unique (sorry, Bud!).
Second, I want to show you I am not perfect. My dog has his quirks and I’ve made mistakes.
Third, I’d love your advice!
And fourth, writing about our problems forces me to admit I have problems, write them down and come up with a real plan. Ignoring problems usually makes them worse.
So here are our issues. I’ll probably write about these in this rough order, starting with what I believe is the most serious.
Training issues with my weimaraner:
- Coming when called (he doesn’t)
- Possessiveness of certain toys like squeaky toys and soft toys. He’s not aggressive but he holds onto them with a death grip and becomes totally fixated.
- Aggression when other pets walk by his kennel. (Update: This one went away on its own!)
- Possessiveness of his food bowl with people and pets.
- Nipping at me when I try to put him in his kennel. He bites at my wrist. (Update: we stopped this! I'll write about it soon)
- Humping me! Also humping Ace’s dog bed and blankets. (Update: The humping stopped when he was neutered)
- General protest barking in his crate.
- Jumping and biting at people out of excitement during greetings. (Immature puppy biting, not aggression).
- Pulling on the leash.
Remy is not a bad dog. He’s normal. These are all common issues but obviously not behaviors I want to reinforce. Most of these are mild problems at the moment, but could become more serious.
If you are having similar troubles with your dog, often the best thing you can do is block or prevent the problem. If you simply prevent a dog from doing an unwanted behavior, it is no longer reinforced.
For example, Remy barks aggressively if my cats walk by his kennel so I moved his kennel to a quiet corner and I encourage my cats not to walk in that area.
As another example, Remy becomes very obsessive over soft squeaky toys so we simply don’t give him those types of toys.
I’ll go over all of these issues in more details over the next few weeks.
Now … onto YOU. What are your most serious training problems at the moment? Do any of mine sound familiar? Are there any training problems you’d like to see addressed on the blog?
Thank you for your feedback and talk soon!