Some dogs hate to take a pill. You can place the pill far back in the dog’s mouth but, with a ‘dog cough’ and a shake of the head, the pill will fall to the floor. Therefore, with some dogs, it is necessary to be sneaky about this pill-giving.

One way to do this is to hide the pill in food. The food I prefer to use is cheese. The cheese is soft and it is easy to hide the pill in a small piece of cheese. The cheese also has a smell that masks the scent of the medication. Here is the method that I have found to be successful with most dogs who dislike pills.

Cut up six / seven small pieces of cheese. In one, hide the pill. Make sure that the cheese completely surrounds the pill. Now, use a command with the dog like “sit”. When the dog does sit, praise sincerely and give a piece of cheese. This will be one of the non-pill pieces. Release the dog and complete that command. Show the dog all the cheese that you are holding. This will be visual confirmation to the dog. Its nose already is telling the dog that you have wonderful things in your hands. Again, ask the dog to sit. Praise, reward with cheese and release the dog. A third time, ask the dog to sit. Praise, reward with the pill-cheese, reward again with a non pill piece of cheese and release the dog.

You want to give the pill-cheese, followed by another piece of cheese. This is so that the dog keeps eating and swallowing. By the time the cheese is all gone, the pill should have been swallowed by the dog. The dog knows that you have slipped it a pill. Your dog is not that easily duped. Besides, the dog has a great nose.

The dog is willing to do this for the food reward. In order to protect this method, let there be times when you do give little bits of cheese for the dog as a reward. It is just cheese; there is no pill involved. The dog will appreciate this and your canine pal will be much more willing to play along and humour you, when you try to be sneaky with pills.

Catherine Forsythe

[tags]dogs, pills, food, scent[/tags]