BARKS: How important is the behavior of the guardian in the context of attending the vet; was this found to have any influence on the dog’s behavior/emotional state?
Petra Edwards: Behavior of the guardian wasn’t investigated in the above study (Edwards et al., 2019b), however Csoltova et al. (2017) found that guardians patting and interacting with their dog in a positive and supportive manner had dogs that showed fewer signs of fear than guardians who did not interact with their dog. I love this because it also beautifully discounts that myth that being kind and empathic to a fearful animal will reinforce their fear.
I believe guardian behavior (positive supportive interactions, good preparation with reinforcers, non-slip mat, arriving with enough time to allow the dog a good chance to sniff before entering the clinic, or pre-training for cooperative care), will have a very large positive impact on their dog’s behavior and emotional state within the clinic.
(Issue 46, January 2021, pp.41-45). Read article