Updated: Apr 28, 2020
When I was a kid, I had a friend that would push my head underwater and hold me there, flailing, for a few seconds until allowing me to resurface. This happened virtually every time we went swimming together. They always got a big kick out of it, laughing at my panic. Naturally, I learned to keep some distance between us in the water.
It's one of those memories that sticks with me, as it is one of the few times I have experienced true fear. Like many people, I have a fear of drowning, whether or not it's because of my friend's juvenile antics, I don't know. Whenever I think about those moments, I can't help but imagine my lungs filling up with water, trying to take a breath and being unable to. Helpless is the best word I have for it.
It may seem far fetched, but this is exactly how most dogs feel when we restrain them. It doesn't matter if it's for a blood draw, a bath, or a simple toe nail clip. All of our dogs carry traits that helped their ancestors to survive and reproduce. One of those traits is a strong aversion to restraint.
Think about it, in what situation does being restrained benefit any animal in the wild? Restraint means you have been caught and that injury or death are soon to follow. Avoiding restraint, on the other hand, means living another day, and getting the chance to pass on your genes.
Sadly we cannot reason with our dogs. What we're doing is good for you, so suck it up. There is no override switch for us