New Horizons Veterinary Behavior Solutions

300 Somonauk St.
Park Forest, IL 60466



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Bringing your pet to see us does not have to be all about fear and anxiety!  We always strive to keep our visits as fear free and friendly as possible!  But get real...sometimes we have to do scary things to your pooch like look deep into their ears, draw a blood sample or empty their anal glands.  They cant understand that we do these things to help them. 



Our goal is to teach your pet that he or she is coming to the "TREAT PALACE" not the veterinary clinic.  We want your dogs to think they are coming for TREATS NOT TREATMENTS!! 


We have many treat options on hand but if your dog has a special favorite bring it along for us to use!  When we have to do a "treatment" on your pet, we want them to instead think of it as a "Treat-Moment" when tasty yummies will fall from the sky!  This method actually has a scientific is called CLASSICAL CONDITIONING!

Classical conditioning happens when animals learn to associate certain things in their environment with a positive or negative experience. Classical conditioning is at work all of the time in everyday life, whether or not we intend for it to happen. Animals  learn to associate what they experience with different things that occur in their environment. Figuring out what tips them off to expect good or bad experiences can be very useful!


There is a reason McDonald's uses the slogan, "I'm lovin' it"!!

For example, if you want your dog to enjoy coming to the vet, first teach him to enjoy riding in the car, take him to the drive through at McDonald's every time you put him in the car! 

  • He will learn that getting in the car becomes a tip off that some good experience (like going to McDonald's) will happen! 
  • And he will be very excited for that!! 
  • His emotional association with the car will be a good one. This is classical conditioning!
  • Common sense should prevail!  Ask McDonald's to hold the cheese, pickles, onions, mustard and ketchup, just get a plain hamburger patty and bun. 
  • Consider the size of your dog, don't over do it, and feed your dog a bit less for dinner if he has a hamburger treat. 
  • Break the hamburger and bun into tiny pea size, bite size pieces, save some for later! 
  • Savoring tiny bits of a hamburger slowly over time prolongs the joy and excitement!
  • NOW...let's take this a little bit further!!  
  • After you dog has learned to associate car rides with hamburgers after many trial runs to McD's, start bringing your dog to the vet clinic for a friendly visit    and a weight check after stopping at McDonald's! 
  • This will also be a good way to make sure you are not overdoing it in the volume of hamburger you are feeding.  
  • And when you come to Deer Run for a friendly weight check visit, we wont have to do anything too scary. 
  • Bring in bits of your saved McD's hamburger and create a treat trail for your dog to follow and step up onto the scale and then reward with a     chunk of hamburger when he sits calmly on the scale!  
  • Then jackpot your dog with more hamburger bits on the way out of the building and back to the car!  
  • Now your dog is going to think coming to the vet is part of the McDonald's run! 
  • Yippee!  Let's go to the vet again!

Continue to make periodic McDonald's runs and occasional  friendly weight check ins.  

And remember to go to McDonald's before every vet visit and bring bits of the hamburger to appointments too so we can continue to shower your dog with his favorite, "I'm Lovin' It" Treat!! 

If your dog is not willing to take treats and hamburgers in our office, it may mean that he or she truly is scared and we need to take extra special care to change that emotion.  Often we will recommend some techniques that you can start to practice at home to decrease the anxiety. 


Below are some LINKS to great resources to help you learn how you can make your dog's vet visits "doggy friendly".  If you would like special help with this, let our staff know and we can design a special program for your pet!




Are Your Dog's Vet Visits a Walk in the Park or a Nightmare?  Click the hyperlink to find out what you can do about it!


LessStress at the Vet for Dogs and Cats: Essential Tips for Better Vet Visits 


The Importance of Preparing Animals for the Vet read more about this video from Dr. Jennifer Cadett

Preparing for Dog Friendly Vet Visits! Tips from the Karen Pryor Academy  Karen Pryor is a world renowned trainer who specializes in the positive clicker training of animals (including marine mammals).  If anyone can show us how to condition for a positive repsonse to vet visits she and her trainers can! Laura Monaco Torelli is a Karen Pryor Academy Faculty member and she has some fabulous ideas on how to prepare your dog to relax and enjoy the vet visits. We love to work with our clients on these suggestions.  We also love her idea of "Food Tube Treats" and have peanut butter and cheese ready to stuff them.  If you  interested in scheduling some practice "Friendly Visits" just let us know!


How to Teach Voluntary Blood Draws: Lessons from Dolphins and Horses Apply to Dogs

Ready… Set… for Groomer and Vet!  More from Laura Monaco Torelli!


Clicker Train Your Way to Fun Vet Visits With Your Dog!  Does your dog hide and cower under the chairs when he comes to see us.  There is a better way!  Our Colleague, Dr. Colleen Koch (who is also a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner ) demonstrates how clicker training can help your dog vet visits are about "TREATS", not "TREATMENTS!  If you would like us to help your dog learn this, ask to speak to our trainer, Liz Geisen!


Below is a video from UK trainer, Chirag Patel, with some ideas and examples of how "targeting" behaviors can be used to engage a dog for care giving behaviors at the veterinary hospital. This is not meant to be a how to video but these behaviors can be trained.  If you are interested in training similar behaviors for your pet, please schedule with us to design and implement a training program for your pet.


Click for Tips to Help your Dog to Step on to the Weight Scale at the Vet Office.


Then watch this video below on a method called "Targeting" to teach a dog to get on the scale force free! Notice the Lolipop like target stick the dog has learned to follow to get a treat reward.  The dog follows the lolipop target right on the scale anticipating the treat and hanging out there to enjoy it.  If you would like us to help your dog learn this technique, just let us know!!   Video Post of targeting to get on the scale by Michael Baugh.


Video: Handling Shyness: From Emily Larlham of Kikopup



Enjoying Handling: A Critically Important Thing to Teach Your Dog  From Doggone Safe author, Joan Orr.


How To Give Your Dog A Pill  Giving pills to your pooch does not have to be a struggle, it can be fun!  This fantastic blog from Eileenanddogs shares multiple methods and video demonstrations! 


Making the Medicine Go Down--Tips for Giving a Dog a Pill! Simple tips from Dr. Patricia McConnell!


Click for Instuctions on how to make it easy to apply monthly flea and tick protection


Video Example of Training a Dog to Enjoy Ear Medication Treatments  Click the picture to see a way to teach your dog or cat to actually ENJOY receiving ear treatments! Here is a great video from Veterinary Behavior Specialist, Dr. Lore Haug, demonstrating a technique using a delicious food treat! Notice she lets the dog know he is doing great job of tolerating the dropper bottle by using a "clucking" sound (similar to using a clicker but a hands free technique) followed by presentation of the treat!

How Can Peanut Butter Help You Treat Your Dog's Ears? Talented Trainer, Laurie Luck teaches how to Use Peanut Butter to change Treatment Time to Treat Time!

The video above shows a dog that has his first ear infection. The ear is very painful and we need to collect samples. Very few dogs only have one ear infection in their life. It is important to make this first impression a good one. In addition owner compliance increases because they no longer have to fight with their dog to clean or medicate their dogs ears.  This video is provided by Dr. Colleen Koch from the Animal Behavior Service at Lincoln Land Animal Clinic


This video from Veterinary behavior Specialist, Dr. Lore Haug, demonstrates teaching a dog to actually "enjoy" having her Anal Glands Emptied!  This is a procedure that most dogs dread!  It doesn't have to be that way.  If you would like us to teach your dog this technique please ask us!


In this video, Dr. Colleen Koch shows how to make bath time and other veterinary procedures more fun.  A great food toy to use at home for cleaning ears, giving baths, etc!  You can get this suction cup food delivery toy at this link.

ASPCA Tips for Fear of the Veterinary Clinic

How to Help Your Puppy Enjoy Vet Visits...Are you a driver or a passenger?  Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Lisa Radosta offers more great free advice on her PetMD blog. This entry is great for new puppy owners!  Read this before your puppies first vet visit!


Help Your Dog Love Visiting The Veterinarian some great suggestions to create a positive vet visit experience from the American Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)


Deer Run's Doggy Friendly Vet Visit Handout


TEMPTING TREATS!  It is always a good idea to bring your dog fasted to veterinary examinations.  This is important if blood testing may be needed to get the most accurate results.  Fasting (withholding food but NOT water) for 8-12 hrs prepares your dog for lab testing. 


But another great benefit is that if your dog arrives a little bit hungry we can reward him with tasty tidbits for coming to see us!  Dogs that are experiencing some anxiety about new things may not always be willing to accept treats from strange people or in strange places.  But if you dog's appetite is calling, it may help us to reward him for his cooperation! 


If your dog has some favorite treats from home, bring them along!  Familiar things will help your dog relax.Good homecooked options such as bits of cooked chicken or beef are often highly palatable.  We have a variety of tasty tidbits that we will try to offer such as beef chewy treats, cheese, canned dog food, and peanut butter.  


ADAPtil (formerly known as DAP) is a method of pheromone or scent communication that can reduce anxiety.  Dogs as we all know, have fantastic noses!  They use scents and smells to communicate in many ways.  Dog Appeasing Pheromone or DAP is the pheromone in ADAPtil.  This pheromone comes from the mammary glands of the nursing mother dog and sends a message of comfort, confidence, and security to her puppies.  This pheromone has been synthesized by scientists in France into this wonderful behavior modifiying product.

Use of ADAPtil can help decrease the fear and anxiety many dogs feel from car travel, the vet visit, and boarding.

ADAPTil comes in 3 forms and are available for purchase at our front desk:

  • A Collar that provide a continuous source of DAP where ever your dog goes. The collar lasts for 30 days.
  • A Spray that lasts for several hours.  This can be sprayed on a bandana and place on your dog when needed. It can be sprayed in the car and on blankets.  We also use this at Deer Run for boarding and hospitalized patients
  • A Room Diffuser similar to a Plug in Room Deodorizer.  You wont notice the pheromone scent but your dog will.  It fills the room where you dog spends time.  We also use the Diffusers as Deer Run to help welcome our canine patients. The Diffuser lasts for 30 days and refills are available.

Have we ever had to ask you to restrict exercise for your dog or "Cage Rest" your dog?  We know that can be difficult!  Here are some tips!

Fun Games for Dogs Under Cage (Bed) Rest Orders!  Sometimes a dog may have an injury or illness that requires us to prescribe cage rest (Doggy Bed Rest) for several weeks.  This can be very boring and frustrating for the dog.  Here are some suggestions of games that can be taught during cage rest! 


Five Ways to Help Your Dog Survive Cage Rest  great suggestion from trainer Pat Miller, training editor of the Whole Dog Journal


Sometimes muzzles are necessary for vet visits. 
Most dog bites are not caused by true aggression.  Most dogs bite out of fear.  Although we try to reduce fear and anxiety as much as possible, in some cases a muzzle is needed for safety.


But you can teach your dog to enjoy or at least tolerate wearing a muzzle.  
We have tips to help you condition a positive emotional response to muzzles on our  TRAINING DOGS TO ENJOY WEARING MUZZLES webpage.  Practice these techniques at home and things will go much more smoothly at the vet visit.


DOGGY NAIL TRIMS are often a part of veterinary visits.  Even if you request that we trim your dog's nails there are some ways you can train your dog at home to not fear nail trims.  Click the link to learn more.