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VIN Low Stress Handling™ Certification, Silver Level (BHVR920) Self-Study

This course is a self-paced, non-interactive course.

Presenter: Sophia Yin, DVM, CAAB, M.S. Animal Science (1966-2014)
Course Open: September 28, 2021-June 30, 2022
Total CE Credit: 17.5
RACE Category: 17.5 hours Medical

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Course Information:
The purpose of this Certification in Low Stress Handling™ is to provide the teaching content needed to understand and improve the individual's or hospital's ability to create a low stress environment and handle animals in a less stressful manner. Coursework for this Certification goes beyond the teaching available from Dr. Sophia Yin's textbook/DVD Low Stress Handling, Restraint and Behavior Modification of Dogs & Cats and related training videos. While those sources include improvements to the hospital's design, to its preparation of and for the patient prior to a visit, and to its use of tools and sedative agents, a large portion of Low Stress Handling™ relies on the development of hands-on skills.

Benefits of Hospital or Pet Care Business Certification:
  • Improved client confidence: It will allow staff to project that they are both caring and skilled, rather than projecting a desire to rush through their visits to earn more money.
  • Lower anxiety for staff and clients: Clients know their pets will be handled in a caring and calm manner. Staff know they won't have to struggle since they understand how to get patients to comply willingly to procedures.
  • Increased staff efficiency and higher productivity: Less staff time is spent on restraining animals due to increased skill.
  • Lower injury rates and fewer worker's compensation claims: Improved handler skills results in a decrease in animal-induced injuries.
  • Higher job satisfaction: Better training leads to lowered stress in staff.

To earn a certificate of completion the participant must complete all learning modules and score 80% or better on the end-of-course test. Completion of the course will take a minimum of 1061 minutes. Participants must complete the participation requirements by June 30, 2022 to be eligible for a certificate.

To learn more about the requirements for earning a non-interactive CE certificate, please refer to Non-Interactive CE Certificate Requirements.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able to
  • recognize the overt and subtle signs of fear and anxiety in dogs and cats and identify the common mistakes people make when approaching and greeting pets that make the animals more fearful or aggressive. Learn to approach and handle pets in a relaxed, non-threatening manner.
  • understand how the sights, sounds, smells, and surfaces in your practice may be increasing the stress in your patients. Discover ways to create a calmer, safer, and more secure environment.
  • utilize 5 methods for controlling the rear end and 7 for controlling the front end in dogs. Determine which direction of movement (forward, back, right, left, up, and down) each hold controls. Evaluate which restraint hold is best for a given dog and procedure.
  • understand how every interaction - how you approach, pick animals up, move them from place to place, or restrain them - affects the animal's perception of you and their willingness to cooperate. Learn how to position your body and adjust your movement to provide the direction and guidance the animal needs.

Level and Prerequisites: This basic VIN CE self-study course is open for enrollment to veterinarians and veterinary support staff actively interested in an individual's or hospital's ability to create a low stress environment and handle animals in a less stressful manner. This course is open to VIN and VSPN members only.
Accreditation: This non-interactive course is approved for 17.5 hours of continuing education credit by RACE for veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists. (RACE 20-842053)

Course Agenda:

Module 1: Recognizing Brewing Fear and Aggression in Dogs and Cats
Total Time: 89 minutes
Video: 79 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Dog and cat bites are the most common cause of injury in the veterinary hospital or pet care setting. Failure to recognize the subtle indicators of fear and anxiety, paired with improper handling, can lead to animals who may leave medically better, but behaviorally worse. See how a more skilled approach to interacting with these pets will help you quickly win their trust, allowing you to avert potentially dangerous and stressful situations.

Module 2: Rapid Reversal of Fear and Aggression in Dogs and Cats
Total Time: 82 minutes
Video: 72 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Flooding, desensitization, classical counter-conditioning and operant counter-conditioning are the 4 methods of behavior modification; but which one should you use? Many people are familiar with the terms and techniques but may lack the full knowledge needed to apply them appropriately. Improper or unskilled application can cause animals' behavior to worsen. Discover how understanding the underlying principles and observing the animal's response can increase your level and speed of success.

Module 3: Low Stress Handling™ and Restraint of Difficult Dogs and Cats
Total Time: 82 minutes
Video: 72 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Are you routinely scruffing, stretching, or struggling with cats, or do you find that you have difficulty with hyperactive, fearful, or aggressive dogs? Learn Low Stress Handling™ techniques that apply to even the most difficult patients. From creating a calm, inviting environment, to using towel wrap techniques, to multiple methods for handling pets of different sizes and temperaments, you'll learn principles and techniques that will allow you to adjust to the patient's needs. Put it all together and you'll create a more Pet-Friendly hospital.

Module 4: What Giraffes, Dogs, and Chickens Have in Common
Total Time: 108 minutes
Video: 98 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Ninety percent of all animal training, regardless of the species or complexity of the task, relies on a strong understanding of the science of learning. Learn what these foundation principles are and how to apply them to everyday training. By the end of this lecture, you'll have the information you need to modify behavior in your dog or cat, as well as your horse, housemates, or even hippos!

Module 5: Feline Lab: Towel Wrap Techniques for Handling Cats with Skill and Ease
Total Time: 75 minutes
Video: 65 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
The traditional methods of handling were to scruff, stretch, and force-restrain cats. The result: bites, scratches, and veterinary staff who were unsure of how to keep safe. Learn low stress towel wrap techniques that will help you handle cats with skill and ease. Cats will remain calm and cooperative, and veterinarians and technicians will be confident handling their feline patients.

Module 6: Kitty Kindergarten: Creating the New Improved Cat Through Early Socialization
Total Time: 107 minutes
Video: 97 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Potty problems? Inter-cat aggression? Antisocial behavior? Many people think that these are part of a cat's nature or just something they need to accept. It turns out that these and most other cat behaviors can be prevented with early socialization and training. A few techniques applied early can change the course of a kitten's life.

Module 7: Canine Lab 1: Essential Exercises for Moving Dogs from Place to Place
Total Time: 110 minutes
Video: 100 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Are you uncomfortable handling large, hyperactive, or seemingly aggressive dogs? Did you know that if you're unaware of how the dog perceives every interaction, you could be giving unclear or conflicting cues which can cause him to become confused, fearful, and even aggressive? Learn the Low Stress Handling™ techniques that will allow you to provide clear direction and hence have good control to improve both your confidence in handling and the dog's confidence in you.

Module 8: Canine Lab 2: Handling and Restraining Medium-sized and Large Dogs with Skill and Ease
Total Time: 79 minutes
Video: 69 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
Have you ever had to struggle to get a dog into position or keep him there for an exam or procedure? We often use force to restrain uncooperative dogs when techniques that incorporate finesse would work better. With Low Stress Handling™ techniques you learn how to control movement in all directions while providing the support and guidance the dog needs to feel secure.

Module 9: Canine Lab 3: Handling and Restraining Small and Medium-sized Dogs with Skill and Ease
Total Time: 137 minutes
Video: 127 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes
People tend to restrain small and medium-sized dogs with force due to their size, which causes them to struggle defensively. The result: procedures take longer, and patients become more difficult with each visit. In this lab, you'll learn a variety of holds and be able to identify the directions of movement they control. This will allow you to adapt quickly to the situation and to the dog's response. Patients who otherwise would be difficult to handle will now be calm and cooperative.

Module 10: Canine Lab 4: Desensitization and Counterconditioning: Teaching Dogs to Willingly Accept Medical Procedures
Total Time: 169 minutes
Video: 159 minutes
Module Test: 10 minutes

Many dogs dislike or are fearful of various types of handling for procedures such as toenail trims, injections, and venipuncture. While it may seem faster to use force-restraint, this type of handling frequently makes the patient worse and takes more time. Techniques for training dogs to enjoy procedures are straightforward, but there are important nuances. In this lab you'll learn the detailed steps that will lead to quick and efficient success. Your patients will now be happy, and your clients will be, too.

Module 11: End of Course Test
Total Time: 20 minutes
Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course.

Module 12: Course Evaluation

To learn more about the requirements for earning a non-interactive self-study CE certificate, please refer to Non-Interactive CE Certificate Requirements.


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Tuition: VIN/VSPN Member $403
Prices are listed in US dollars.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from @vspn.org and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 797 or email . Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to starting the course. If you wish to withdraw after you have started this self-study course, please contact the VSPN office 800-846-0028, ext. 797 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.

*For more information on VIN's upcoming CE courses, check the VIN Course Catalog.

Katherine James, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
VIN Education Director

VIN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 797
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357