Have you ever had to force or trick your pup to take a pill? What about getting their nails trimmed or standing still for an exam? Well, I’ve got some great news for you! It is possible to train your pet to participate in these activities without utilizing force, fear or intimidation. Teaching our pets how to cooperate with their care gives them more control and reduces the stress involved in these situations. The goal isn’t to just get the task done, or have the dog tolerate what’s being done to them. The goal is to teach the dog to be comfortable and choose to opt into the necessary care.
Check out these videos on teaching our dog, Dolly, to take a pill by choice and not coercion. The great thing about what you see in the second video is that food does not have to be the reinforcement. Sometimes, ailing pets aren’t motivated by food at all. So, if the reinforcer is changed to something else the dog really enjoys – let’s say a novel item to sniff, an amazing belly rub, or access to a favorite toy – you can still have your pet take a pill without the use of food as a reinforcer. It’s time we stopped using brawn to make animals do what we want. Using our brains can accomplish so much more for both species. There’s no need to trick when you can train!