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You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks
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Boris is a 12.5 year old springer spaniel who used to hate coming to the vets for any treatment or vaccinations. No matter how gentle we were with him it didn’t matter as he was so scared and used to tremble as soon as he walked into reception until he left. 

Boris’ owner thought there was no hope for him ever being able to enjoy coming to the vets as he was now a senior dog and she thought you could not teach an old dog new tricks.

One of our vets Caroline suggested he come and see one of our nurses on a regular monthly basis for a desensitisation session to help him overcome his fear of coming in.

“The care and compassion shown at Pennards Tonbridge has been beyond all my expectations. My dear old dog, Boris, suffered from extreme anxiety when visiting the vet so I was offered desensitising sessions with Kat to overcome his fears.”

Boris started to come and see our nurse Kat every month, the nurse would just sit with him in the consult room on the floor and give him treats whilst talking to his owner; she did this for many months until he was confident enough to start being examined by Kat. Boris started to realise that not all vet visits were scary and he started to become more confident with Kat.

“Much to my surprise I have seen a remarkable change in his behaviour and he is now relaxed not only in the waiting room but also during treatments.”

Eventually Boris was coming to the practice with a waggy tail, he was not shaking anymore, he was able to be fully examined in the consult room and the hospital area without trembling and you could see the change in his expression – he was a happy dog! 

“This is totally down to the genuine interest and commitment to his welfare shown by the whole team. Kat was very patient with Boris and offered him a lot of encouragement and he is now delighted to see her when we visit the clinic.”

His owner was so very pleased as she really did think he would not change and she has seen a huge difference in him. He is now relaxed in the waiting room and enjoys coming to see all the members of staff.

“Caroline Collins, the vet, is always keen to share her extensive knowledge and experience and is never rushed when talking through the diagnosis, tests, results and treatment options. I appreciate being able t talk about the options rather than be offered the ‘one fits all’ approach.”

We see many dogs on a regular basis for desensitisation at the practice as we would like to make their experience as stress free as possible, from young dogs to older dogs and even though Boris now enjoys his visits we continue his sessions to keep him happy.

“As a family we feel Boris is being offered the best possible quality of life and know we will always receive an honest opinion and tremendous support from Caroline and her team.”

Thank you to Boris's owner for letting us share his story and their comments on the process, he is a great example of why we run desensitisation appointments, if you feel that this would benefit your pet please let us know.