Everyone has different parenting styles, so why wouldn’t we all have different pet-ownership styles? In our house, positive re-enforcement reigns supreme, with only two negative re-enforcers for unacceptable behavior. Our negative re-enforcers are the God Bottle and the manual nose-squeeze correction.
When we first had each dog, they both were TERRIFIED of our vet. While I’m not so fond of doctors, either, our vet is the gentlest woman EVER. I couldn’t recommend her more- she cares about and treats our dogs, but she also takes care of us, as owners.
She suggested “happy vet” visits. This is where the dogs come in to the office, get weighed, praised, treats, and then leave. Nothing scary happens, it acquaints the dogs with the vet techs, and makes going to the Vet less terrifying. We would follow both happy vet visits and real vet visits with a trip to the dog park- the ULTIMATE in doggy rewards. Now the dogs pull to go IN to the office, rather than away from it.
Some people feel like this is a hippie, sissified approach to their care, and that’s fine. They are entitled to their opinions.
If you have a sick or injured animal (dogs especially), stress only exacerbates the problem. If you could avoid extra trauma and drama with an extra trip here and there to the vet for cookies, it seems like such a simple way to make the pet more comfortable. But, if a brief drive to the vet with your dog is too much work for you, that’s your choice.
There’s a simple cost-benefit analysis that we all do when it comes to extra errands and chores, and mine includes happy vet visits.