After we started treating Leo for pannus, Mia’s eyes started looking goopy. Tempting as it was to just start giving her the same medicine we give Leo, I took her in for her own eye exam. While Mia has better social skills than Leo in many ways (as far as people are concerned), Leo is actually the friendlier dog. Mia is not very cooperative when it comes to being examined, and will try her hardest to escape.
We managed to get her up on the motorized, elevated exam table, and I held her still long enough to have her eyes looked at. I tried not to be offended when the vet tech asked if she needed to be muzzled. Nothing against muzzles, but in this situation it would have only increased her aversion. We have never muzzled her, and she doesn’t bite. It seems my eye doctor has had bad experiences with German shepherds before, so rather than be defensive, the best I can do is hope for my dogs to be breed ambassadors.
Anyway, she was diagnosed with dry eye. Not as serious as Leo’s pannus, but requiring one of the same medicines. They gave it to me in drop form, even though Leo was getting it as an ointment.
Mia hated the medicine. She ran away from me when I tried to put it in, and afterward, would wipe at her eye. I told the eye doctor this and she said maybe to try the ointment because the drops might sting. Owie! Poor Mia!
For several weeks, I only managed to give her the medicine once a day, because she clearly hated it so much. She didn’t wipe at her eyes like she did with the drops, but she ran away from me afterward. If I gave her a piece of cheese afterward, she’d run away from me next time I offered cheese. If I gave it to her after she came in the house at bedtime, she’d refuse to come back inside next time.
Mia is totally on to me. I have to vary the routine so she doesn’t form a negative association with anything that happens anywhere near the time I give her the medicine. She does hold still when I give her the medicine, but she obviously holds a grudge.
For several days, I gave it to her right before or right after we went on our evening walk, which was working out pretty well. But it became clear that getting the medicine once a day is not enough, so now I have to find a time to do it in the morning that doesn’t ruin our entire relationship.
I feed them right before I leave the house. I put Mia’s bowl in her little condo outside, and close her in the dog run. She used to trot right into her condo for breakfast. After just one day of my giving her eye medicine before feeding her, she refused to come back into the dog run from the big yard. I’m telling you, she holds a grudge!
Any trainer would say the trick is to give her a really high value reward to give her a better association with the medicine. But you see what’s happening here? The medicine is such an aversive it’s poisoning whatever reward I try to give her. I’ve made up my mind though, that it’s important for her to get the medicine twice a day. She’s due for her 3-month checkup, and I don’t even want to subject her to it until I’ve been giving her the proper dosage.
So I’ll be chasing her down twice a day, and hoping that she still loves me in between doses.
This post is part of the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop, hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Tenacious Little Terrier and Rubicon Days. This month’s theme is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month. The hop happens on the first Monday of every month, and is open for a full week – please join us in spreading the word about the rewards of positive training!
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