Vekkie's Diabetes Playground(16KB)

Last updated: Wed, 3 Sep 2008 01:41:49
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GroominTable - the Mighty Pad

A pad can reduce stress

Special Places for Special Procedures

cook prep table can serve for procedures

[cw4066-ckumbitable.jpg] cook prep table can serve for procedures

Safety comes first!
Block all exits!

If you put your dog up on a table, block all possible exits. You might block three sides of the table with walls, or heavy furniture of some kind. If you are thoroughly alert and can pay complete attention, you can block the fourth side with your own body. Only do that if your dog gives ample warning before attempting to dismount!

Until Kwali and Kumbi became thoroughly accustomed to being on counters or tables, I put their snug body harnesses on them before lifting them to the table surface. I would hook one thumb through the harness, so as to be sure to catch them if they tried to jump off.

Of course, you could also use a standard grooming table. These come with arms to which a noose is attached, for you to put around the dog's neck. Oh, no, please not! Don't noose your dog around the neck! It's not comfortable for the dog; it's scary - no surprise! Well, you could desensitize your dog to that situation, using lots of encouragement and treats, but I don't like it, because one never knows what truly major distraction might distract you, causing you to leave the dog alone on the table. Then if the dog attempts to jump off, you might get a strangled or severely hung dog.

Use a non-slip mat for the dog!

I'm glad to see many veterinarians now provide non-slip mats for dogs who must be up on tables for some reason. Where once they used slippery stainless steel, most vets will now put down a non-slip mat on such a table.

The idea of slippery-footing was undoubtedly supposed to give the vet and assistant some extra control over the dog. However, such a procedure is counter-productive, because it only frightens the dog. Dogs who can remain calm on the table are much easier to control and keep steady than dogs who are struggling for purchase with their feet!

We, of course, will use the same consideration for our own dogs, when some Procedure needs to be accomplished.

The very essence of Successful Procedure is to keep the dog calm, and therefore also, to educate ourselves ahead of time, and to remain calm ourselves.

How to get the dog up on the table

You can get the dog to the table in any of several ways. At times, when my furniture-arrangements have allowed it, I have placed my chair close to the table, and a kind of dog-step half-behind me. Then I've invited the dog-to-be-groomed to come up on the dog-steps. Treat for the dog at that point!

Next, I invite the dog up on my lap. When it comes, another treat!

Finally, I help the dog from my lap to the table-surface, usually, with my palm between its hind legs. And then I deliver another treat,

With some practice, just in getting the dog up on the table, dogs can enjoy the process; I think it feels to them like an schievement of theirs, which, indeed, it is!

Big dogs can have platforms

If your dog is big, and won't fit on a table, or would be too heavy, or you can't lift the dog, you can make a kind of platform, either real, or imaginary!

To make an imaginary platform, you could put a large rubber bath mat on the floor in some convenient place, perhaps near your food-prep area in the kitchen, so you can put grooming tools, or insulin and syringe, or a glucometer and kit, on the counter where it's handy. Don't forget the bowl of already-cut-up or otherwise prepared treats!

If you have something you can put down that would be a real platform of sorts, so much the better, as even a few inches off the floor makes a nice contrast, becoming a kind of Special Place for Special Events - all of which, of course, involve at least one, possibly, several, treats for the dog.

After much practice, it may become possible just to lift a small dog to the table. Dogs who are anticipating treats and some comfort are easy to lift to tables or counters. Or, they can be easily led to step up to a small platform low to the floor, or simply to step onto a non-slip mat lying directly on the floor.

Handling treats

The treats need to be out of the dog's reach, but easily within your own reach, so you can grab a treat and feed it to the dog quickly.

You could also wear a treat-bag or fanny pack, back-to-front, and simply keep treats in the pack, as many humans who use clickers to train dogs do.

A dog on a mat on the floor might still be able to reach the treats by putting paws up on the counter, but you can probably block such a motion, for instance, by feeding the dog a treat!

For a small dog up on a counter, you can probably find a place to put the treats where the dog can't quite reach them, and you might place other gear there along with the treats.

This is a time for ritual chants

At grooming-time, or Procedure-Time, I sing out, "Groomin'-Time!" And soon, the dogs catch on that it's time for Procedures and Treats.

It's difficult to describe the great power of the ritual chant. Dogs so much lean on the cues we give! They are always watching us anyway, and pick up on our body actions, as well as on what we say - or sing! But the deliberate crooning or chanting or singing of a cue gives a dog confirmation that a particular event will now take place.

When the event involves treats, and any pain or unpleasantness is minimal to none, dogs can cooperate easily.

It is worth our time and study to avoid pain

Whether it's brushing, nail trims, injections, or testing blood glucose levels, we can almost always accomplish the task without causing the dog pain. On a rare occasion, we may cause some pain, but these will indeed be rare, if we practise with the equipment ahead of time, without the dog!

When pain is rare, dogs cooperate easily.

Other aspects of tables, platforms, mats

I think for a dog, anything involving a Procedure makes a well-defined Place a reassuring symbol. The Place we ask the dog to occupy immediately signals the Event the dog is now expecting.

It is up to us to make the Procedure comfortable, and to take any frightening elements out of the Procedure.

The advantage of combining Special Places with ritual chants is that the cues are very clear to the dog, so the dog knows exactly what to expect. Like us, dogs have to have the learning-time!

For all Procedures except injections of insulin, we have time to prepare ourselves and the dogs.

Even for injections of insulin, we probably have half a day in which to learn and prepare. That's not long enough for us to become experts, but if we study ahead as much as we can, if we walk-through the procedures without the dog a few times, we will be reasonably prepared, even for the first delivery of insulin under the dog's skin.

Ask your veterinarian for help!

If your veterinarian has not actually offered to teach you to give injections, or to prick for blood glucose tests, do ask for that kind of help. If the vet is reluctant or too busy, one of the technicians could surely spend some time with you, showing you how to accomplish the task.

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FOUNDATIONS. Work at the dog's pace; don't push the dog; do ask the dog to cooperate. If the dog moves away, let the dog go. Invite the dog back. If it doesn't come, let it be, and try again later. Both practice and real sessions should be short; no more than a few minutes each. If you don't succeed in three tries, wait at least hours before the next try.
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