3 Training Tips That Will Make Your Vet Love Your Dog


The vet can be scary places for dogs. The bright lights, odd smells, sounds of dogs whining in the kennels and even your own nerves can all cause your dog to go on high-alert. Not every dog is super comfortable being at the vet, never mind being handled for basic procedures.

Here are three easy training tips to ensure your vet visits go a little more smoothly.

Putting on and Wearing a Muzzle

A muzzle does not mean your dog is bad or dangerous, it is merely a safety precaution to prevent a scared or injured dog from biting the person during the exam.  

.Teach your dog to willingly participate by putting his nose into the muzzle. Help him get used to wearing it for a few minutes, starting in small increments.  

Sitting on the Scale

In order to be properly weighed, dogs need to have all four paws on the scale, stay there for a few seconds and can’t be leaning on a person or supported by a leash.

Wrestling a dog, whether large or small, onto an odd surface and expecting him to stay still is quite a challenge. Why not train your dog to do it all himself?

To teach this, start by teaching a “go to your mat” behavior. Your dog will learn to go to the mat when asked, and to either stand, sit or lay down. All poses are okay as long as the dog stays on the mat.

Start practicing with a smaller mat, about the size of a Tupperware lid. This mobile-friendly mat can be easily added to the vet scale for a few practice sessions. Eventually, you can work on sending your dog to the scale without a mat at all.

Dog at the vet

Targeting for Low-Stress Exams

One of the best tools in your training arsenal is the nose target. Your dog learns to not only touch the target with his nose but to also keep his nose on it until released. While the dog is eagerly focusing on the target, you and the treat, a vet can administer vaccinations, listen to his heartbeat or do a hands-on examination. This is ideal for virtually any dog, but particularly for dogs who aren’t overly fond of being hugged by a strange vet tech.

The key is, of course, to start in small steps. At first, your dog will only touch the target with his nose for the briefest period of time, but you can gradually increase the amount of time he holds his nose to the target. In the beginning, click and treat for any nose touches, and when your dog gets the idea, wait to click and treat until your dog presses his nose very firmly onto the target. Most dogs do this naturally after you fail to click and treat; it’s like they are making it extra obvious that they are touching the target! This is exactly what you want. Keep slowly progressing the time limit, and then get a friend to help add in distractions. Your dog should keep his nose pressed to the target even if someone is rubbing his back, for example.

I hope these 3 tips, brought to you with input from Mad Paws, prove helpful in making your dog’s next trip to the vet enjoyable and carefree.

What tricks or tips do you use when taking your pet to the vet? 

Want more vet tips? Check out these blogs.

How to Help a Fearful Dog at the Vet

How to Choose a Veterinarian 


  1. I have a doggy 3 months now, and i was looking for tips and trainning. Although i want to ask you when can i start ? I mean maybe my emma is too young for trainning. I want to begin learning step by step.

  2. My dog loves people who love her, so I’m sure that getting the vet to love her will make her more comfortable during our visits. I like your idea to train her to sit on the scale. She already stays very well when commanded, so now we just have to practice getting her to stay on the scale!

  3. The scale trick is really amazing! 😀

    And it is so simple to do, it just never occurred to me. I will have to start training my dog the mat trick so the next time he goes to a scale everyone will be applauding him 🙂

  4. I really like some of the advice that you gave here on how to train your dog in preparation for going to the vet’s office. One thing that you mentioned was that you should help them put on a muzzle and be comfortable wearing it around other people. By doing this, the doctor will be more comfortable with your dog, especially when they have to do something that might not be so comfortable. Our dog needs to go to the vet’s office to get a tumor taken care of and doing some of these things would help tremendously. Thanks again!

  5. It sure got my attention when you said that getting a dog to stay in one place can be quite tough, so it’s best to train them to stay still prior to taking them to the vet so that it won’t be hard for the owner, the dog, and the doctor during the visit. That is something that I truly appreciate because I know that I have a very playful dog. It was good that I came across this article because I learned what I need to do before I take him to the vet. Thank you. I will remember this.

  6. I have a little dog named Oscar, and he has been sneezing a lot lately and sort of moping around the house. I think that I should find a veterinary clinic to take him to so that I can see if anything’s wrong. So I like your tip to get Oscar used to the idea of standing on a scale with the “go to your mat” behavior.

  7. Making sure they, like you said, “get the idea” is really the key to good training. Really try to make it clear to your dog what he is being rewarded for! And, always reward the desired behavior!

  8. It’s good to know that teaching your dog to sit on the scale can help make vet trips easier. I’m looking at getting a dog soon, so this is definitely something I’ll keep in mind. I don’t know much about training dogs though, so I might look into having a puppy trainer teach my dog how to sit still properly.

  9. “I couldn’t wait to look forward to our next visit to a vet”! That’s what my friend told me after I have forwarded this article to her a while ago. I sent it to her first before I continue reading this. And voila, she loves the training tips you’ve featured here!

  10. I’m really glad that you talked about how a proper “go to your mat” training can help your dog sit properly on a vet’s scale. My dog is not really comfortable with veterinarian visits, so this article will really help us have a better time in the clinic. Thanks for this really informative tips for pet training!

  11. As a vet, I agree that these three tips can really help your visit at the vet. Especially putting on and wearing the muzzle. It is often difficult and if I had a dog I would do these things.

  12. I’ve seen some videos of people’s pets at the vet and they just are freaking out the whole time there. Now I need to take my dog there next week and I don’t want him to do that. Seeing as he doesn’t do a good job with sitting, I will probably see about training him more on that. I wouldn’t want to get there and have him be all jumpy and excited that it takes forever to weigh him.

  13. When I took the dog, I ordered us online dog obedience courses, during the training we just practiced such techniques, these methods really help at the reception at the veterinarian.

  14. We feed the dog at regular intervals and take short breaks at the same time every day so that our dog can develop habits and expectations. Praise and / or constant reward for desired behavior is our usual behavior.

  15. If you notice anything unusual in your body, this routine checkup can assist you. Note down the things you feel is a little bit troubling you with respect to your health. Make sure you submit it to the doctor; this can help them prepare you for certain desirable tests. A health checkup will lead you to a direction closer to being fit and well maintained.


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