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Handling stress at the vet

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Tess had eye surgery for congenital chataracts when she was 5 months old. Three years later and 2 days ago she had laser surgery in one eye that had calcifications on the scar tissue. She gets nervous at the vet, panting, shaking and drooling a bit, and she's not comfortable with strangers touching her. And we had to drive for 8 hours to the next country (Spain) as this specific surgery is not done anywhere in Portugal. We stayed in Madrid, in a hotel. Tess had never been in such a big city.


So I was quite surprised at how well she handled everything. We had done some pre surgery tests in Portugal, but she had to do some there, and it was a full 2 hours of eye drops, tests, exams, eye drops, tests, exams, and start again... She had several diferent objects touching her eyes, other things inserted in them, had to sit for this exam and lay down for that one, had her eyes photographed several times, had them filled with gel for ecocardiograms and poked and shone at and...


And, although she very obviously would rather be somewhere else, she never even showed teeth or growled or tried to fight these people, and she wasn't shut down either. She was absolutely awsome. I was with her the whole time and was kind of expecting her to object, knowing her, but she handled it like a pro.

Everybody praised her a lot, they said she has a stellar temperament, so I'm guessing it's not that usual for a dog to behave like that in those circumstances. And considering she's the dog I tell people, when asked if they can pet her, "No, she doesn't like strangers", because she WILL growl and show teeth when she feels disrespected and her space rudely invaded, I was quite proud of her.

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Congratulations on Tess!!! I work as a Vet Tech and your dog has a very stellar temperament to tolerate all that she went through. She must trust you a whole lot and know how much it means to you for her to behave. Believe me, I wouldn't be at all tolerant of that with my own eyes and I would know it was for my own good! I haven't been to the eye doctor in years just for that reason. :wacko:

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She's my first border collie (and 6th dog as an adult) and they sure are diferent from other dogs. I recently changed trainers because, although we have a great bond, I felt that she had so much more in her that I wasn't being able to work with, to access... I felt the need to learn different ways to work with her, because although she's by far the best dog I've ever had, I knew she has all this potential that I didn't know how to unleash. I know I'm not making much sense, but it's hard to explain. It's like, friends will say, "Tess is sooo well trained, she's so great and well behaved and knows so many things", and I say, "Well, she knows a couple things, but we still have a long long road ahead, it's not just about how many commands she knows", and my friends will just have no idea what I'm talking about.

Anyway, after we started working with the new trainer, I've been feeling more and more that we're geting there, we're aproaching that mutual total trust that I want. And now this surgery thing, it makes me think we're really traveling on the right path. It makes me want to cry (and not in a sad way...).

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That's great news! :D


I can completely relate. Our dog Mavis has had resource guarding/body handling issues. We've had our issues at the vet's office too. I've been working on her body handling issues and taking her on bi-weekly drop-ins at the vet's office just to say hi and get treats. A few weeks ago after a short hike in the desert, one of her eyes was bloodshot so we took her in for an exam. I was so proud/happy when she let the vet put several rounds of eye drops in and used a light to look in her eyes many times - and she never once showed any teeth! Then she let us put eye drops in her eyes for the next 5 days...something I previously wouldn't have thought possible. We'd also held off on bathing her for the last few months as I continued to work with her on body handling. Last week we gave her a bath and she behaved beautifully!


Such a great feeling when you know that they trust you.

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