Scared of Eye Drops

Discussion in 'Labrador health' started by QuinnM15, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Quinn has eye and skin infections right now and the vet prescribed medication and eye drops. She is petrified of the eye drops and it's impossible to get them in her eye...OH was holding her down to give them, but she is SO scared and panting and then wouldn't go near him...that cannot be the best way and we don't want to do that to her 3 times a day for the next 10 days.

    I have been trying positive association...high value treat near the bottle, eating a treat while the bottle is in my hand. She will come near me with it in my hand now, eat treats with the bottle on the floor beside her, will sniff the bottle and let me hold her with the bottle in my hand, but the second I move the bottle near her eye she freaks out. Any tips??
     
  2. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I think that association with food for something like this, when the dog is already so scared, is pretty impossible. You would normally try to feed a dog in the presence of a scary thing with the scary thing a LONG way away. It is very difficult to change the way a very scared dog views eye/ear drops with food. Anyway, this was my experience with Charlie.

    One thing that overcomes this problem is giving the dog a choice to say 'no'. You have to train a way for the dog to say 'nope, I'm not having my eyes/ears done'. This gives them a way to make the scary thing not happen. And THEN you can use food to change the way the dog feels.

    This is all wrapped up in something called 'the bucket game'. Chirag Patel developed it. If you search on google and Facebook, you'll find it.

    In his version, you train the dog to put his nose on a bucket, he gets treats and the scary thing happens (eyes, ears get done). If he takes his nose off the bucket, the scary thing doesn't happen (he doesn't get treats either).

    I don't use a bucket, I use sitting on the sofa or putting chins on a towel.
     
  3. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Thanks @JulieT, checking out the videos now
     
  4. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I did similar training my two to have their nails trimmed. If they give me their feet, the nails get done and they have treats. If they take their feet away, the nails don't get done. It took a long time, but it works really well.
     
  5. Sven

    Sven Registered Users

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    One thing we got told by our vet was to approach it from the back and over rather than from the front, when she was relaxed. That worked for us everytime with a treat after each application. Might be worth a try aswell, unless you have already tried and does not work...
     
  6. Snowshoe

    Snowshoe Registered Users

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    That's what I do. I do it in the bathroom, door shut, me sitting on the side of the tub, Oban between my legs and facing away from me and one of my legs sort of wrapped around him. This way I can hold him, he knows there is no escape because the door is shut and I have both hands free and in this position I do have to come at his eyes from behind and a bit over top of him. Mind you, Oban handles very easily for most things. With treats offered after the drops the last time he needed eye drops he would willingly go into the bathroom.
     
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  7. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    @JulieT @snowbunny I started the bucket game last night and within 45 mins I had a drop in each eye. I'm amazed! We tried again this morning and I got one drop in. Thank you for the advice - I feel way better about this approach and Quinn is more relaxed and trusting.

    @Sven @Snowshoe our vet also said for one person to hold her from behind while the other fed treats over and over but she wouldn't take the treats and panicked and scratched and bucked to escape and was shaking - we didn't want to force it because she was so fearful.
     
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  8. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I need to do this with Tatze.

    So, do I train 'head on towel' first?

    @JulieT @snowbunny
     
  9. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Well, most variations of the bucket game have the dog just looking at a bucket. All the time they are focussed on that, they are relaxed and happy about what's going on around them. So, yes, you'd generally shape a look at the bucket from the dog and gradually include contact. I quite like this series of videos which shows the progression:



    (subsequent videos follow on).

    You'd do the same thing for a head on a towel. Lure or shape to get that head onto the towel, build duration, then introduce contact. As soon as the head comes up, contact stops.
    Personally, I don't give a verbal cue with my version. The dog knows from the fact I have clippers/Dremel out that it's nail cutting time, and I simply wait for them to be comfortable enough to offer the paw to me.
     
  10. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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  11. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    The difference between doing this, and just feeding is quite incredible. Remember to work on it lots, even when you don't put the drops in. It's one of the best value things I have ever trained.

    Yes, I trained chin on a towel first. Then I ONLY used it for the towel (bucket) game.

    I use a chin rest on a towel because I intended to use it in the vet's - and it's difficult enough getting a rushed vet to allow you time to settle a dog without bringing in a bucket. Plus I find the towel just works better for ears and eyes and also focuses Charlie on me if a vet is examining his back legs, which is my other main use for it (understandably, Charlie is a bit tired of vets messing with his back legs).

    In the house, it is now simply sit on the sofa, if Charlie refuses to get on the sofa, or gets off the sofa, he is saying no.

    Here is a rather clumsy video of me working on a towel chin rest and pretend ear drops. This was really, really early days for both me and Charlie, we were both still figuring it out, but you can see that Charlie understands 'the deal' already. I did this a lot before I moved to actually put in his ear drops.

    [​IMG]towel game by julieandcharlie julieandcharlie, on Flickr
     
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  12. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    For a dog that's just a bit wiggly, this kind of approach works fine.

    For a dog that is seriously scared, you'd find wild horses wouldn't drag them into the bathroom a second time even if the first time they 'shut down' and you got the eyes/ears done.

    Charlie got seriously scared of ear drops - he hated them (he had ear problems from a tiny puppy, all cleared up now though). Preventing a scared dog from escaping the thing is it scared of, is not a good solution in the long term. It just builds up more and more problems.
     
  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I think it's the kind of thing that it's very easy to only think of when you need to do it. Thanks for this thread, I'm going to work on my chin rest some more just in case.

    I've had to use eye drops a couple of times with my two, but Willow loves them! I think they gave her immediate relief when she had an eye infection, so were rewarding in themselves without me having to do any desensitisation. When she saw the bottle coming out, she jumped on the sofa in anticipation :)

    Still, going forward, that may not always be the case, so it's a good idea to get the groundwork in before you have to.
     
  14. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Yes, I plan on working on this a ton - I think it's a great method and if she is going to be an allergic type dog, there are more meds and vet visits in her future!
     
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  15. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I've started and it's going really well (no bottle yet). :)
     
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  16. Xena Dog Princess

    Xena Dog Princess Registered Users

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    Yes, this. I didn't even know you could train for this! Xena had conjunctivitis a few weeks ago and in pretty sure more eye drops ended up on her face than in her eyes. I'm going to crack on with this training in preparation for next time.
     
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  17. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    I would say most people don't know this - even lots of vets! I'm going to tell my vet about it :)
     
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  18. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Fab. Don't rush it if you can help it - I spent a while struggling on with my 'old ways' to put in ear drops in order not to rush my towel game before Charlie was ready - if you can't do that, it's still fine and better, but if you can the results are quick and great.
     
  19. JenBainbridge

    JenBainbridge Registered Users

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    Not totally related but what a gorgeous dog Charlie is! So calm and you can tell by that video what a strong bond you have :)
     
  20. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    Oh thank you! :) How nice of you to say. :) (He is quite calm these days, but he was the worst hooligan going in his puppy days).
     

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