Confidence is Golden!

We love to shout out about the confidence clinics our nurses run here at Mayne Vets.  In these confidence clinics we provide shy and nervous dogs with some stability and reassurance through creating positive associations at the clinic and building a relationship with one of our veterinary nurses. We thought we would share with you a case study from one of our patients!

Here is the lovely Oscar, who is a 4 year old Golden Retriever and started his confidence clinic journey back in May 2022.  Although Oscar is a friendly dog, he was very shy and uncertain when he visited the clinic.

Each confidence clinic pet will be assigned to a designated nurse (Lindsey, Caroline or Chloe).  Prior to the first confidence clinic, they will ascertain what your dog is driven by, whether food, toys or their owner. To begin with Oscar wasn’t too keen on anything we offered, he even suffers from food allergies which also limited what we could offer. Despite this, overtime, as Oscar’s confidence grew at the clinic.  He began to noticeably be more excited visiting us at the clinic, exhibiting play stance behaviors and wagging his tail. Sometimes confidence clinics will simply be play based to improve their general confidence, and sometimes they will be focused on certain behaviors (for example, focusing on mimicking an injection or helping pets get used to being weighed on scales). It really is dependent on the dog, the owner, previous experiences and the time frame. Remember, if you are a member of our Pet Health Club, unlimited nurse clinics are included in your membership, giving you peace of mind when multiple visits are needed.

Oscar was also showing hormonally driven behaviors at home, humping and scent marking. Often this behavior can be linked to testosterone levels and castration would help reduce its occurrence, however reducing the testosterone levels in a nervous dog can exacerbate this behavior potentially leading to nervous aggression.  So, because of Oscar’s shyness, we opted to use a “chemical castration” option which would temporarily reduce the testosterone to allow us to assess the potential impact of a castration before an irreversible surgery is performed.  In this way chemical castration can be a great option if owners are on the fence with surgical castration. Neutering is not a one size fits all, every animal is assessed individually.  If you do have any questions or queries about getting your dog neutered then speak to a member of the team.

Thankfully, in Oscar’s case, there were no detrimental side effects to the reduction in testosterone from the chemical implant. Therefore his owners opted for surgical castration in the end. Here is Oscar at his post op check up with Lindsey, his designated clinic nurse. We made sure that his pre-op appointment was with her also, and as much of his hospital stay as possible with Lindsey by his side.

We should highlight at this point, none of our nurses have qualified animal behavior status, just a keen interest in behavior and making a dog’s visit to the clinic as fear free as possible. If they feel additional work is needed, or your dog’s behavior is outside of their capabilities, the clinic would refer you to a behaviorist.  If you would like to talk to us more about our confidence clinics please message us via text message or Whatsapp on 07360541569 or email

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