Handling Issues: At the VetPublished January 11, 2012
Victoria Schade/Do Not Reproduce
While we've made great progress using the "touch for a treat" method I outlined, I knew that our trip to the vet for final vaccinations could make her backslide. Dogs don't generalize well, so even though she's doing really well letting me manipulate her paws and legs, it was unlikely she'd accept rough handing at the vet without some growly commentary.
Knowing that I couldn't make the vet do "touch for a treat," I settled for a semi-bribe. I brought a little "peanut butter cup", which was a small plastic take-out container with a lid smeared with peanut butter inside. The idea was that Olive would be so enthralled by the PB that the vet could do her work uninterrupted.
Olive started out strong. I put her up on the scale (14.9 pounds - I guessed correctly!) and she went to work on the cup. Then the vet tech got a little more - ahem - intimate with Olive's rear end, and suddenly the cup lost its appeal.
The good news is that Olive was appropriate through the entire exam - not one growl, or even a pre-growl "hard eye." I'm not kidding myself, though ... she's got a long way to go. Olive wasn't as perfect as old man Sumner at the vet, who accepted any form of medical torture with quiet grace.
Both the vet and Olive's future groomer (more on her later) blame Olive's "growliness" on being a terrier. Even if that's the case, I'm not going to let it slide. Ease of handling is an attribute of a well bonded dog, and since I wrote the book on it, Olive better get with the program!