Monday, July 7, 2014

No matter where you got your puppy—from a friend, a breeder, a rescue or a shelter—you should visit the vet who will be your puppy’s doctor within a couple of days of bringing that puppy home. It doesn’t matter whether this puppy was just seen by a vet connected with the puppy’s origins—you still need the seal of approval from your own vet, who is an objective third party.
In the vast majority of cases, this visit is going to be a quick, pleasant outing, but in the event that there may be something wrong with your puppy, it’s important for both of you to find this out right away while you can be objective—before you have grown attached—and can think clearly about what options you have. I once had to give back to the breeder within days a gorgeous little Rottweiler puppy who leaked pee, because I couldn’t face the expense, uncertainty of outcome and pain of major surgery for an eight-week-old puppy.
Another reason to bring the puppy in to your vet for a checkup is for her to have a positive early experience with the doctor, who also gets to know her—and you—a little bit. Most vets understand the importance of this first visit, because they know it sets the tone for the friendly, trusting relationship they hope to have with your pup during a long, healthy lifetime.
If the puppy acts frightened or aggressive at the vet’s, don’t make excuses for him or try to soothe him. Patting or “cooing” to a dog translates to him as reinforcement of the very behavior you want him to stop. Be upbeat and matter-of-fact in the way you handle and talk to your puppy from the moment you go into the vet. Don’t allow your own apprehensions about going to the vet—or your projected fears on the puppy’s behalf—diminish the calm confidence you should be showing your dog.
Copyright © Tracie Hotchner – Originally appeared in The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know by Tracie Hotchner

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