Robin and I were in Dacula last week at our initial visit with a new Home Dog Training Client and his Coonhound puppy named Comanche. Comanche was just ten weeks old so he needed the “full puppy training package”. We went over all the steps he needed to accomplish to get Comanche potty trained and explained the normal points of success and failure in potty training. We reviewed the importance of socialization and the actions they needed to implement to let Comanche understand that they were in charge. We discussed the normal behaviors that puppies exhibit, what they mean, and how their family would need to respond. They were very happy with all the training and information and were excited to have the ability to start Comanche off on the right paw. As we were finishing up, they asked us if we had any suggestions on a good Veterinarian for Comanche.
I explained to our client that picking the best Veterinarian for Comanche is a very personal decision that needs to be made carefully and thoughtfully. What might be the best vet for one dog and dog owner may not be the best vet for another dog and dog owner. The first thing that he needs to do is to compile a list of possible Veterinarians in the general area. I suggested that he use the following steps to create the list:
- Ask Neighbors: I am sure that many of his neighbors have their own dogs and they all have to go to Veterinarians. Hopefully, my client’s neighbors did their homework before they picked their Veterinarian and that their continued visits to the Vet indicate the they have made the right decision. I suggested that he first ask neighbors who have dogs that are about the same age, size, and temperament of Comanche. I also suggested that he also take the neighbor’s disposition into consideration. If he thinks the neighbor is nuts, even thought the dog is a “match” for his Coonhound, he might consider not asking that neighbor.
- Check out the local Humane Society: The local shelters are a great source of information about local pet services. Ask them who they use to help with their animals. Ask the volunteers who work directly with the dogs who they use or who they have heard to be good and thoughtful Veterinarians.
- Ask the Local Pet Stores: There are some pet stores that have their own, internal Veterinary services. I would not ask these stores, but I would pick other local stores and ask the people working there. They come into contact with many dog owners and “talk dog” with local owners all day long. They should have a good idea.
- Ask the Feed and Grain Stores: Since we are in North Georgia, there are many feed and grain stores in the area. Besides all the farm and ranch products they stock, they also have large animal sections. Talk with the employees to see if they have anyone they would recommend.
- “Google” Google: I am not always the greatest fan of stuff from the internet, but this can be another option for my client. “Google” vet hospitals in your area and look at the reviews. Look at the newer reviews because older reviews may reflect practices or employees who are no longer at that hospital. Don’t focus on the number of stars in a review. Read the entire review to see what the reviewer is trying to communicate. Look for actions and positive results in the review; not just feelings.
- Check in with Your Old Vet: If you have just moved, your old vet may have some friends or classmates in the area. That is always a great source of reference.
With all these people (except Google), I told our client to always remember to ask they why that like a specific vet.
Now that my client has compiled a list of possible Veterinarians for Comanche, it is time for the interviews. Some hospitals allow you to come in for a simple “meet and greet” with the Veterinarian and some require that you schedule a paid appointment. I told my client to start off with the hospitals that would allow for a simple meet and greet”. When they are ready to go to the Vet, I suggested that my client consider some of the following:
- Is he greeted “with a smile” by the vet staff when he arrives?
- Does the vet come out to meet them and is the appointment on time?
- How does Comanche feel about all of this? Does the Vet spend time with him and do they appear to be “best friends”?
- Does my client “feel comfortable” with the vet’s demeanor?
- My client should also try to meet other technicians and vets in the hospital to see how they respond to Comanche.
- Is the hospital “full service” or do they have affiliates they refer their clients to when there are specific problems?
- What are the hospital hours and what happens if Comanche has a problem when they are closed?
- What are their prices? Do they have minimum charges for Comanche to come in for a visit?
- Do they offer any special services such as “half price immunization days”?
- Does everyone in the hospital feel like they “really like dogs”? (I know this is a strange question, but I have experiences some hospitals where they are there more for the money and high fees than for making dogs and dog owners happy and healthy.)
I told my client that the bottom line was if he and Comanche felt safe and secure with the vet and the hospital. If that was the case, they should give that vet a shot. I reminded him that going to a particular vet is not a lifelong commitment. He can always change vets if something doesn’t feel right.
Please call Robin or me at (770) 718-7704 if you are in need of any dog training help. We have a lot of good dog training advice at Best Dog Trainers Dacula Georgia. Find all our phone numbers, text addresses and email contacts at Dog Training Help Center Dacula Georgia.