The Lovely Shane and I adopted Cody in June. Since then, we have noticed that he is really anxious in certain situations. He does not like getting shots at the veterinarian. I can't say that I blame him, I am afraid of needles too! However, Cody yelps like he is in extreme pain before the needle ever touches him. (I have stopped yelping when the doctor pulls out the needle... now I close my eyes)
He only has to see the needle to become anxious. I suppose he is associating the needle with the pain of the stick ( not an irrational thing to do at all in my opinion).
|Cody in his basket.|
The problem, in my opinion (based upon experience with other dogs), is that he is associating people doing things to his nails with some painful earlier experience. Much like people, some dogs are just naturally more anxious than others. Cody is generally slightly more high strung than our Whopper Beagle, Copper. Copper generally does not get nearly as anxious as Cody.
There is a reason I am writing about Cody's anxiety here. There is a technique for addressing this problem. I have had a lot of success with it in the past. Dog Trainers call this technique Counter Conditioning and Desensitization. Sometimes, just so we can sound cool, we abbreviate it CC&D.
|Cody and I ready for a little nap.|
As I mentioned, the real issue here seems to be that the dog is associating pain or something negative with the nail clippers. Simply put, our objective is to get the dog to associate something positive with the dreaded nail clippers rather than something negative.
It is important that you remain patient during this process. It will not happen immediately. It takes slow, methodical steps. Like virtually everything else in dog training, patience and routine are really the keys to success here. It is very important that you not get frustrated.
What we do is find something that the dog loves.It should be something that motivates him. Something that is of "high value" to the dog. For some dogs this may be a food item like a frankfurter (we do not say hot dog :) ) or cheese. For some dogs this may be a favorite toy.
|Me when I learn the Doctor is going to need|
to use a needle.
I know this sounds like a lot of psychological theory. I am not a psychology professor (however I do occasionally play one on T.V. :) ) I do however know what my experience has been .It does really work. I have seen it work many times. In the beginning, I was skeptical of this technique. I am a reformed believer now!
The Lovely Shane and I are going to begin this with Cody very soon. I will keep you updated on our progress.
If you have a dog that is afraid of the nail clippers or anything similar, this is a technique that we can use to help your little guy or girl. There is hope! It just takes the proper technique, time, and patience.
Please contact me and I will be glad to help you help your dog to deal with his/her anxiety.
Till Next Time
William Moore Canine Training