"My dog’s not scared." Yeah, right.
If your clinic is embracing the movement toward keeping each veterinary visit as low stress as possible for every patient, you may be facing this client comment in the exam room: “But my dog’s not afraid.”
Veterinary behaviorist Dr. Lisa Radosta says even in her behavior clinic, she cannot tell you how many times she hears this from clients. You have two choices at this point, she says. Either just say, “Yes, your dog is afraid” and leave it at that. Or tell the client the dog is afraid and explain how you know.
An example from Dr. Radosta: “Your dog’s tail is tucked. The tail below the top line equals fear. Your dog’s ears are very far back against his head; that equals fear. Your dog’s pupils are dilated. Look at my eyes—are my pupils dilated? My pupils are having a normal response to light. Why are your dog’s pupils dilated? It’s called a sympathetic nervous system response.” It takes mere seconds to explain, and your clients are left thinking you’re a genius (rightly so!) and have better insight into identifying signs of fear themselves.