Sandi’s K9 Management

Stress at the Vet

A question from a Facebook Fan:

“What do you do with an overpowering dog? Mine is 3 years old and you have to let him warm up to you-if you bend down to pet-he bites! He is protective of his mama!(hes a mini dachsund)I even have to muzzle him at the vet (go figure)otherwise he is awesome!Spoiled too!”
This is a common problem in small dogs… and here is why…

Dogs are all about body language. 1st and foremost they read other dogs, and 2nd they *hopefully* learn to read human body language. With that being said, it is easier for us to use our body language in as peaceful and non-threatening ways as possible… because we are the intelligent beings in this scenario!

But… as humans, we are like monkeys to our dogs. We naturally bend over towards them and grab at them. For all dogs, this is stressful. For small dogs it is stressful and overwhelming. Bigger dogs learn to accept that this will not harm them. Smaller dogs don’t always accept this.

Points to consider:
1. When dogs greet each other, they never walk straight up to one another. It’s extremely rude and threatening, and poses a natural threat. Instead, they will greet each other perpendicularly (like a T).
2. If a dog towers over and towards another dog, it is an invitation to fight. Dogs have a natural fight or flight instinct. If cornered and they cannot run, they will fight or become extremely submissive and shut down (rolling over, pissing).

I hope that makes sense so far. With all of that in mind, here’s what you can do to remedy the situation.

1. When approaching your dog, do NOT bend towards him. Instead, turn your side to him and place your hand lower than his chin with palm up. Offering treats in this scenario will help reprogram his brain that not all hands are scarey hands. If you must scoop him up at that point, do it from the side.

2. Don’t stare. A gaze of any longer than 3 seconds is also an invitation to fight in dog language, and unless they have been trained for eye contact… will can naturally go into fight or flight here as well.

3. The vet can be an extremely challenging scenario. Vets bend towards the dog… AND THEN POKE THEM AND PROD THEM. NOTHING is pleasant about this, ever. It also doesn’t help that we typically only see the vet once or twice per year, so the dog doesn’t ever get the chance to get past his fear. Twice a year, the scarey man in the lab coat bends towards him, grabs him, shoves a thing on his face, and then pokes him with needles. Not too much fun for the dog. Realistically speaking, you won’t get past this. You can help him by remaining calm in the presence of the vet (which is hard when you see your baby all stressed out), and hope he feeds off your calm energy. You can also take several trips (at least once per week) to the vet to “hang out” in the lobby so that he can see that not every trip to the vet ends poorly.  If you can commit to doing this, it is a workable situation and one that you can conquer together.

Copyright 2010. Sandi’s K9 Management. Sandi Hansen. All Rights Reserved.

Just My Dog
May 2, 2010, 9:11 am
Filed under: dog poetry, Dogs, Sandi Hansen, Sandi's K9 Management!/notes/sandis-k9-management/just-my-dog/118003298220575

Flying Dogs Video
March 3, 2010, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Dogs, Sandi Hansen, Sandi's K9 Management

This was too cool not to share!

Marc Bekoff – Animal Behavior and Emotions

Do you agree with Marc Bekoff? Do you think animals experience emotions?

Heidi Plays Piano

In case none of you have seen this, here is a link to Heidi playing piano and singing. It’s a quick, unedited video but I think you’ll enjoy it:

January 31, 2010, 11:39 am
Filed under: Sandi Hansen, Sandi's K9 Management | Tags: ,

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Cheaper by the Dozen

Heidi is onstage once again at the Omaha Community Playhouse in the production of “Cheaper by the Dozen”.  The show started January 22 and runs through February 14.  She is having a blast as she always does, and thinks you should all come and check her out!