Awesome socialisation and vets, you suck!

So as you know we have had quite a few bad experiences with past vets, and the ones we have now have not impressed us, for several reasons.

This morning we phoned up another nearby practice and said that we were after the following

–> We want a friendly, gentle surgery where the staff will be kind to our dogs, as two are rescues and one is very sensitive

–> We want a surgery that is happy for us to bring our dogs in, to socialise / countercondition them to the surgery, as our current vets seem to disapprove of this

–> We need a surgery where the staff will listen when we phone ahead and say “please do not interact with our dog” when we pop in with Kasper

–> We need a vet that has several good female vets, as Kasper is much more fearful with men

They receptionist / vet tech we spoke to on the phone said everything we had hoped for – “oh we actively encourage owners to bring their dogs in just for a visit”, “we have treats behind the counter for dogs”, “of course we would ignore him when you brought him in” – so we said thank you so much and we’ll be in today with our puppy.

A couple hours ago we set out with Raiden on a big walk.

First we stopped in at a high-end shop that sells dresses and other fashion-y things that I have no interest in…however the owner is a huge dog lover! She’s head over heels in love with Raiden, and always asks us to bring him in to visit her 🙂

When we went in she wasn’t there (boo!) but the other woman working was just as big a dog lover and fell just as much in love with Raiden!!

As soon as we left the shop we plonked Raiden onto the pavement so he could get a drink from the bowl the shop provides.

Then, as we were walking past a letting agency a few doors down, a staff member hovered in the door just so she could say hi to Rey! She bent down and he scrabbled, they kissed, and then another member of staff came to say hi 😀

As we left the letting agency staff said ‘be sure to pop in again’ – what an awesome stretch of dog-friendly and dog-loving shops!


“I’m too cute to resist!”

After that excitement we carried Raiden until we got to the canal, and almost instantly when we entered the field beside the path we bumped into three Cocker Spaniels.

Two were quite old, and told Rey off when he tried to play with them (very good!). One of the older ones was quite clingy to us, as we had treats, and followed us barking…which admittedly did make it hard to reward Raiden for coming away and paying attention to us around distractions!

The third dog was two years old and was the PERFECT playmate for Raiden, meaning HE PLAYED PROPERLY OFF LEAD WITH A DOG 😀

They were playing for 5 – 10 minutes, and it was so bloody wonderful to have a dog that was a good match for him, and where the owner was happy for them to play! Raiden was the chaser and the chasee, he was happy and floppy and oh so vocal haha!

He had such a good time! Every now and then he would come be wonderfully happy with us, try get the older dogs to play, and then it was back to the younger one…I am so chuffed!

We wandered further along the canal and Rey saw a few other dogs, but none that were overly interested in him.


We came off the canal and crossed to the new vets. It’s a very small surgery – the waiting room was about 15ft x 5ft! The receptionist / vet nurse came out and bent down to say hello to Raiden.

She asked if he knew ‘sit’, and I said he does. She proceeded to just say “Sit. Sit. Sit! Sit!”

This vet had been saying hello to Rey for ten seconds total; she was a totally new person to him, he was highly excited and she had encouraged him to stand on his back legs to see her face…yet she expected him to sit instantly?!

Now Raiden, like the vast majority of dogs, responds much better to hand signals than verbal cues. He knows every trick with a hand signal, a verbal cue and of course both combined!

I said “Rey, sit,” along with his hand signal, and he sat instantly. Ecstatic praise and treats from us.

For a second time the receptionist asked Raiden to sit, and again he had his paws on her legs and was being enthusiastically lovely. She said “AH AH! Sit! Ah AH, sit!” I stepped to her side so I was directly in front of Raiden, and again said (in a totally happy-calm voice) “Rey, sit” with the hand signal…he did it immediately!

Like, seriously, don’t you dare ‘ah ah!’ my puppy – I am training him using positive methods, and I most certainly don’t want strangers punishing or correcting him. You have no right to do that. I do not need another dog scared of strangers or vets, thanks very much.


Clicker and treats, I need no more!

If the receptionist had done that with Kasper, after we have spent 4.5 years teaching him that strangers are safe, I would have really laid into her and told her how stupid it was.

As it was it was lovely to see that the stupid noise only excited Raiden more 😉

The receptionist for the third time asked Rey to sit (“sit, sit, sit”), and this time he actually sat for her!! I was so impressed, but the bloody stupid receptionist didn’t reward him!!!

I instantly jumped in with humongous praise and lots of treats. Then, for the third time, she asked him to sit, and he did. She gave him a low value dry dog biscuit as a reward, so we topped it up with ham.

She wanted us to stay for something else, but had to go answer the phone and after waiting a few minutes we left…they’re clearly not the vets for us anyway.

A surgery whose staff are willing to verbally correct a very young puppy in front of owners they are trying to impress is not a very good one. On top of that when a member of staff who comes into contact  with dogs everyday doesn’t understand about dog behaviour and training, it is concerning.

I mean, when a puppy is so excitedly saying hello to a brand new person, you can’t expect him to sit instantly…you should ask about hand signals, wait until the puppy is calmer, or use a treat as a lure. You don’t repeat the cue, and you don’t punish the puppy because *YOU* are doing something wrong…vets, you sucked today.


6 thoughts on “Awesome socialisation and vets, you suck!

  1. You could try again, see if the rest of the staff is better. If you have a cell phone, you could try calling just before coming in, and telling the receptionist then to ignore the dog. Just because you have had so much trouble, and it would be lovely if it was possible to get this vet office to work out.

    • They said they would be fine ignoring a dog if we phoned ahead and let them know (which we would do with Kasper), but I’m kinda glad I got to see how they would treat Raiden with us there…if they ‘ah ah’ him when I’m there because they’re doing a bad job asking him to sit, I don’t know how comfortable I’d be leaving him alone with them, eg. for a neuter.

      Then again our other vets is crud and relied heavily on dominance at the puppy class, but at least ‘our’ vet there (the one we do our best to book every appointment with) is wonderful…aaagh!

      The surgery we’re with now also has a very big waiting room (and an oddly shaped car park with plenty of places to wait with a nervy dog out of view), is open for out of hours emergencies and is slightly closer to us. Because it’s a large practice it also has better facilities for operations and stuffs.

      The new vets has a tiny waiting room and I think the examination room is up a narrow flight of stairs…either that or it’s in the room with a glass window looking through to the waiting room. Don’t think Kasper would like to be examined with people peering through at him…

      But the staff are all female at the new vets, which would mean in an emergency we wouldn’t have to worry about being lumbered with the crappy male vet at our current surgery. And I think they would be more personal / caring as they’re a smaller surgery, whereas most the staff at the big one are very impersonal and cold…

      So many things to think about….I think you’re right though, it’s probably worth giving the new vets another chance and trying to meet one of the vets.

      Agh, why can’t all vets be awesome?!

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