Stella, giving pills to a dog, and ‘Find it!’

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Stella recently began coughing more than we liked so we went to the vet. She was diagnosed with pneumonia in one lobe of her right lung and some inflamed alveoli. The vet prescribed an antibiotic, a bronchial dilator, and a short course of prednisone. She’s in otherwise pretty good health – good appetite; drinks readily; wants to go outside; is alert and responsive; wants to walk and when walking keeps up a good trot.

In the past it’s occasionally been a challenge to get pills into her, even when they were packed into cheese or a similarly good substance. Once or twice I’ve had to almost force them down her throat. I felt bad about having to do that, and at times she became very reluctant to take treats.

I experienced an epihany. Play “Find it!”

Several years ago I began putting her into a sit-stay in the kitchen or laundry room while I hid treats around the house. Once finished I released her with the phrase “Find it!” She caught on very quickly and could be occupied seeking out treats for as long as 10 minutes or so. It was brain- and nose-work for her. So I tried the game.

It worked most excellently. She sought out, found, and ate every loaded cheese ball. No stress for either of us. Of course I stood by to make certain she didn’t spit out the pill.

Stella’s already responding to the treatment – Neither Faye nor I have heard her coughing for several days.

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