When the only time your dog sees the car or crate is come vet time, chances are he'll figure it out! Start those unseasoned travelers sooner-rather-than-later with short drives around town. Instead of walking to a park, visit one a little further away. Take a mini-road trip for playdates or to pet-friendly shops. He'll make new friends while experiencing different settings and adventures that involve more than just the leash.
Word to the wise: don't wait 'til the big day to introduce the carrier. Leave it out in your home, occasionally put toys and treats inside, and open and shut the door to acclimate your pet. Lure him with a long lasting toy (like a frozen PB-filled Kong) when the time comes – chances are he'll be so excited about the extra-special treat, it will be a while before he even cares to escape.
If your pet's already a road warrior, getting him in the crate and car should be no problem – find out how to alleviate stress on the doc's day when you
- Do pre-appointment prep. Call the vet beforehand to find out what procedures your dog will receive and about how long they'll take – it gives you an idea of what's in store and how to prepare. If your dog is never lifted up on a table other than at the vet, consider a couple trial runs (like at a park's picnic table). Have friends and strangers nearby so he gets used to unfamiliar hands and faces. Also, if you think this visit will be an issue, ask for the least busy appointment slot. Fewer dogs in the waiting room and less waiting time means you can get in and out!
- Stick to a routine of fun. Try to make the big day as pleasant as possible. Don't schedule a visit during his normal playgroup, give him his once-monthly bath that A.M., or do anything that would ordinarily stress him out. Also, make sure he goes into the office well worn out – head over 20-40 minutes early and walk him vigorously around the area or give him nearby play (and potty) time.
- Reward, reward, reward. Bring a pocketful of tiny training treats – if he starts to get antsy, bring his attention back to you with a yum. Don't forget to reward him with an additional playtime or snack when you leave the office – your good boy deserves it!