Many pets experience stress and fear when visiting the vet or groomer. Luckily, the low-stress handling movement has been taking hold, encouraging professionals to handle pets in a safer, humane way. What is low-stress handling, how does it work, and how is it beneficial to you and your pet? Read on to see why this movement is so important.
What is Low-Stress Handling?
Low-Stress Handling is both a term of how professionals handle your pet and a certification proving they know how to safely, calmly, and patiently handle them. Practices that are low stress certified have had their team undergo training to learn how to properly handle pets. Shelters, rescues, veterinary clinics and more can all become low stress certified. This includes safer ways to restrain that minimizes stress to your pet. Practitioners also learn how to minimize environmental stress and reduce stress to your pet during a medical procedure.
Why is this important? A pet that is less stressed out is less likely to struggle and become injured. They are also less likely to harm a handler and may recover more quickly in a lower stress environment. You’ll also have greater peace of mind knowing your pets are being handled humanely.
The Sophia Yin Method
Sophia Yin was a veterinarian who helped to pioneer positive reinforcement training techniques including low-stress handling. Her insight into both veterinary medicine and behavior helped to mesh the two together, improving the environment for pets and professionals. Sophia Yin’s methods include proper leash handling, counter-conditioning during medical procedures (to reduce fear and stress), and safer wrap and handling methods. These help create a positive environment and reduce stress for all involved.
Why You Should Seek Professionals That Practice Low Stress
The number one reason to seek out professionals that practice low stress and positive practices is that you know your pet will be treated well. You won’t have to worry about your pet being harmed, handled roughly, or kept in a stressful environment. Pets that have less stress are less likely to bite, more likely to accept handling, and may recover faster in a calm environment. Best of all, you’ll know that professional takes their work seriously!
How To Practice Low Stress at Home
You don’t have to take a full course on low-stress handling to be able to practice it at home, however, that is a great option. Focusing on resolving problem behaviors with counter-conditioning and positive reinforcement practices are a great way to start on a low-stress route. Many dog trainers can help teach you these methods, and practice them in their classes too. Minimizing stress by ensuring your pet has safe access to food, water, and bedding areas is also great. Your pet should have their own places where they can feel safe and calm.
Next time you visit a professional with your pet, ask about low-stress handling certification, or the methods they use to help keep your pet calm and happy. You may just be pleased with the results!
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