Fear Free tip: Cats like to look down on you

October 17, 2016
Mikkel Becker, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CDBC, CTC
Mikkel Becker, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CDBC, CTC

Mikkel Becker is the lead animal trainer for Fear Free Pets. She is a certified behavior consultant and trainer who specializes in reward-based training thats partnered closely with the pets veterinary team. Mikkel is the co-author of six books, including From Fearful to Fear Free, and was the featured trainer on Vetstreet.com.

No, really. Kitties (and some dogs too!) will real relax in your veterinary practice if you just give them high spaces to perch.

Shutterstock.comAnimals often are more vulnerable when they're down low. So it makes sense that certain dogs and many cats feel more secure and calm when you give them the higher ground.

For cats, try climbing areas in the exam room or non-slip surfaces securely attached to the exam table to create go-to hangout places outside of the crate.

Getty ImagesFor dogs, think living room sofa. Pooches are often calmer and less likely to pace when you let them up on a chair space, as many likely enjoy their family furniture at home as well.

Many pets relish the invitation to move to these desired places. It's a reward, and they're often more comfortable and less antsy once there. Just remember to use this tip on a case-by-case basis. Some pups are more likely to become defensive in such a position, like on a lap.

In our experience, the veterinary team can use an invitation to go onto the furniture for the exam and some procedures. Allowing a pet on the lap for attention and petting is familiar and positive and lets you perform elements of the exam in a relaxed position for pets.