Two weeks ago I was dog house sitting in Buford for a Home Dog Training client who had gone to South Carolina for seven days. Staying with me while my clients were gone were Lilly and Alfred, a beautiful Pit Bull and very strong Bull Terrier. Among other things, I needed to give Alfred eye drops four times a day. My client had told me that it took five Veterinarian Technicians to hold Alfred down for the drops and she hadn’t been successful in doing it herself. She wished me good luck as they left for the airport.
Always up for the challenge, I tried multiple techniques in getting the eye drops into Alfred. I tried sneaking up on him from behind. I tried hiding the dropper bottle in my hand as I was petting him. I tried grabbing him and trying to wrestle him to the ground. (Writer’s note: That REALLY didn’t work.) I spent two days doing all these things and eventually getting the eye drops in Alfred’s eyes and also getting the eye drops on the floor. It was sometime into the third day that a stroke of luck just happened.
On the third day, I discovered how to easily get the eye drops into Alfred’s eyes as easy as pie. As I was down on my hands and knees with the eye drop container, I put my right arm around Alfred’s chest right behind his front legs. I applied a slight squeeze and he seemed to start to calm down. For some reason, I then raised up slightly and his front legs came off the ground.
He stopped struggling completely. At that point, I applied the eye drops to both of his eyes. I then reached into my pocket and pulled out the second dropper. Again, he allowed me to apply the drops without a flinch. I took the third dropper from my pocket and easily applied the drops.
What needed to occur was that as soon as I raised him up slightly, he could no longer use his chest and front legs (where most of his power resides). I was firmly holding him in a calm manner and was not adding adrenaline to the situation. We simply had a “cease fire” where I was in control. For the rest of the week, putting eye drops in Alfred was no big deal.
Several days after that, I was out at one of Robin’s clients with their German Shepherd. After we worked through their main issues for the day, they remembered that they were having an issue putting ear drops in her ears. I showed them the same technique of getting down next to her, calmly putting my arm around her chest right behind her back lags, and calmly raising her front up a few inches. I easily gave her the ear drops and the clients were amazed.
Again, it comes down to being calm, collected, and confident. If you are having trouble adding drops to your larger dog, give this technique a shot. It really works for me.
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