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The Angel in the Details: Counseling Guardians With Dogs Who Are Fearful at the Vet with Kristi Benson

The Angel in the Details: Counseling Guardians With Dogs Who Are Fearful at the Vet with Kristi Benson


May 7, 2024    
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm (ET)


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Webinar Description

Dog guardians are becoming more and more aware of their dogs’ comfort—or lack of comfort—at the veterinary office. Although the veterinary field is becoming much more adept at addressing dogs’ fearfulness at the veterinary office itself using new approaches and medication, success in overcoming more serious fears of veterinary procedures is comfortably within the domain of dog trainers. Unlike veterinary staff, who must work with their patients during a relatively short window of time and typically when veterinary care is needed, dog trainers and dog guardians can work through careful behavior modification interventions with already-fearful dogs at home and at the vet office over a time span more suited for overcoming such fears.

The Academy for Dog Trainers completed their Husbandry Project several years ago. It was a multi-year undertaking that involved having numerous trainers and dog guardians evaluate training plans and protocols to help dogs feel comfortable and stay in useful stationing behaviors at the vet. The final outcome of the project included a series of instructional handouts and step-by-step plans. Although the handouts and plans are written in owner-friendly language and are freely available to the public, many dog guardians need the kind of help that only a professional dog trainer can provide: specific, tailored plans and homework supplied with a dose of helpful and motivational coaching.

In this presentation, we will briefly review the plans and protocols of the Husbandry Project, and then focus on how dog trainers can work with their clients, using the Husbandry Project plans, to train dogs to be comfortable at the vet and hold stationing behaviors for vet procedures. The presentation will focus on triage, management, technique choices, repetition, setting expectations and scripts. Attendees will receive a link to download all the plans and protocols for their use.

Learning Objectives
● Understand the Husbandry Project’s plans and handouts and how to use them with clients.
● Learn how to triage dogs who are fearful at the vet’s office.
● Identify appropriate management for dogs who are fearful at the vet’s office.
● Understand the different technique choices available (classical conditioning and differential reinforcement) and when to apply them.
● Understand the value of scripts and repetition for clients with vet-fearful dogs.

Your Presenter – Kristi Benson

Kristi Benson is a student coach and mentor, and handles special projects at the Academy for Dog Trainers, where she helps to shape the next generation of canine behavior professionals. She is an honors graduate of the academy and holds the professional canine behavior consultant level A (PCBC-A) credential from the Pet Professional Guild. She lives in beautiful northern British Columbia, Canada, with her eight dogs. She has an online school of classes aimed at helping dog guardians with a variety of issues, including house training, jumping up and barking. Kristi writes extensively about dogs for her own blog and the Academy for Dog Trainers’ blog. She is also a special correspondent for Companion Animal Psychology, the blog published by Dr. Zazie Todd.


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