How veterinary technicians can become Fear Free champions

July 14, 2017
Debbie Martin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, LVT, VTS (behavior)

Debbie has been a full-time registered/licensed veterinary technician since 1996. Since 2005 Debbie has been the animal behavior technician for Veterinary Behavior Consultations, LLC. She assists Kenneth Martin, DVM, DACVB during in-home behavior consultations.Debbie is the co-owner of TEAM Education in Animal Behavior, LLC, a business focused on providing education on humane training and behavior modification and fostering collaboration between various animal behavior professions.She is a contributing author and co-editor for numerous behavior books and courses.Her combined experience in general practice and behavior specialty has fueled her passion for preventive behavior medicine. Debbie is honored to be representing veterinary technicians on the Fear Free executive council.

1. Stop staring so much at cats, dogs. (Seriously) 2. Step up. Those patients need your advocacy!

The reasons to use Fear Free techniques in your veterinary clinic extend beyond the welfare of your patients, according to CVC educator Debbie Martin, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, LVT, VTS (behavior). But that's the place to start.

For example, she notes that dogs and cats get stressed out by things like eye contact and the presence of something towering over them.

"Rather than maintaining direct eye contact with them, you look and you look away," she says. "We can turn sideways so we're less threatening and we're not looming over them."

(Click here to learn how one technician decides what to pull out of the Fear Free arsenal during reception area introductions, exam room visits or treatment areas encounters.)

But the benefits don't end with the pet. Martin says there's also a workplace benefit: "If the pets that come in are happier, it makes us veterinary technicians happier about going to our job and enjoy what we're doing much better."

Additionally, she describes how taking on the role of Fear Free advocate can open up great career options. "If you become the Fear Free advocate in your hospital, you can start taking on things like preventive care services, which can be added income," she says.