Monday, November 14, 2011

Dog Etiquette: Puppies in Vet Clinics

Hokey has come up with cancer in his nose, so for the past few weeks he has been going in to the vet hospital at Cornell every day for radiation. To minimize driving but still avoid Hokey staying at the hospital, I have been picking him up and dropping him off every other day while my mom takes the opposite days (so he spends one night at home, one night with me, etc). He is now halfway through his treatment and doing well.

Today the waiting area was quite busy when I came in to pick him up. One of the techs came out with Hokey, and as I walked over to them a guy came in with a Border Collie puppy, probably between 3 and 4 months old. First mistake: he had it on a flexi. Not even close to appropriate for that kind of setting. Flexis are great for outdoor walks, but should never be used indoors, especially in a place where there are lots of people and dogs. Even if you put it on lock, there is still a chance that button will get knocked by accident and your dog could get into all kinds of trouble before you notice. Second mistake: he is letting the puppy go up to other dogs.

Why is this a poor decision? For one thing, he's in a VET HOSPITAL. He has no way to know why any of the other dogs/animals are in there, and by letting his puppy socialize arbitrarily he could be endangering its health. Second, he has no way to know if those other dogs are friendly! This could start a fight at any point, and considering his puppy's age, a bad experience could seriously impact its future life and behavior. Always, always ask if the other dog likes puppies before allowing your pup to go up to another dog.

Hokey does not particularly like puppies anyway, and the clinic is a stressful place for him, further lowering his tolerance. He curled his lip, which the tech couldn't see and the guy completely ignored. Luckily I got there at that point and pulled the puppy back myself, informing the guy that he should not allow his puppy to approach strange dogs. I can only hope that it sunk in.

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