Rule #3 of Animal Restraint: Be a Cheerleader

26 Sep

As a restrainer of animals, being anything aside from positive, supportive, calm, and patient is counterproductive.  Everybody involved needs you to be miss Sunshine-super-patient to maximize chance of success, and minimize strife and injury.

Cheer on the animal (and it’s owner) you’re restraining, by telling it reassuring things in a gentle voice.  This should be constant and second-nature.

It’s very important to be supportive to the DO-er when you’re the restrainer.  Say, “Good job,” “You can do this,” etc. . . when things are going better then expected.  When things are worse, let the do-er know it’s hard, the animal is not cooperative, the task is a high level of difficulty, you’ve seen others mess it up more in the past.  No use in making someone feel bad or frustrated with their efforts.  It just makes future tasks more difficult.

Don’t be a bossy holder.  Let the DO-er perform the task in the way the usually do, and the way they are most comfortable doing it.  Let them take the lead on the thing, and direct YOU how they want the animal held and positioned.  There is more then one way to skin a cat. . .

Don’t sigh or show impatience when the task is taking a long time.  Even if you feel annoyed inside.  Buckle down.  Showing annoyance only makes the DO-er more nervous and agitated then they already are.  And they will likely struggle more.

On this same note, if you are the restrainer, don’t insist on switching.  Let the DO-er tell you when they cannot accomplish the task and need you to do it.  DO-ers, DO NOT poke an animal 80 times, or otherwise torture a pet if it is just not happening for you that day.  Know when to stop and ask someone else to jump in.

Trade off.  Do not always jump to take ALL the blood draws, place all catheters, whatever.  Share back and forth.  Otherwise, one of you becomes the bitch-holder and the subservient.  And no one likes that.  Also realize, if you’re new to a place–you are likely going to ending up doing more holding then doing for awhile.  It’s also a good idea to trade off, not only for fairness purposes, but so that both people are good at both restraint and the tasks needing performed.  Vet tech skills are definitely a use it or lose it deal, and no one should become rusty on either side of the animal.  Practice both restraint and the tasks equally to really hone both skills.  Especially, if someone is sick, or quits, or if you need to switch positions for a vet or new staff--you need to be competent everywhere.

That said, if you know you’re not great at something, or you know your co-worker is a star at one particular task, back off and let them do it.  You should practice and take hints from the super-star, but only on nice animals, during slower times, and not to the point of hurting the animal in order to learn.

And that all there is to restraint.  Mind the hierarchy, keep it cool, and remember team-work.  Good luck, animal workers!

 

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