Vet pins/grabs muzzle & 13wk puppy bites at hand - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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Old 04-18-2014, 02:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Vet pins/grabs muzzle & 13wk puppy bites at hand

Let me start off by saying that I have not seen any behavior in my 13 week male that looks anything like aggression. He is a puppy. He was very, very mouthy, which I expected as he comes from german Schutzhund champion working lines on his fathers side. If I even said that right, I'm new so forgive me if not. Anyway, his mouthiness has improved amazingly. He will make mouth contact is if he is on his side, back, or someone grabs over his head at his collar. However, he listens with a stern "no bite." And these are not blood drawing, hard bites. Sometimes there is no pressure applied at all. He is in a puppy class, loves people, greets all people and dogs with tail wagging, and I've never heard so much as a growl.

So FF to today, at his second vet check up. The vet and tech forced him to his side and held him down while trying to palpate his groin. He starting whining and struggling to get up. He was biting the vet tech's hand. She then grabbed his muzzle and squeezed it shut, at which point he became frantic and whining and wanting up even more. I told her not to grab his muzzle. So she gave treats instead, he calmed slightly and by then they were done. I then was questioned about whether I can take his food away, put my hand in his bowl, etc. Yes. I can. My 18 month old does it almost everyday. He could care less. The vet tech proceeded to tell me that this is an aggressive breed and I need to get him in classes (he already is in classes) and that I should be aware that they are aggresive because I have small children. Let's just say my BP was through the roof.

Is his reaction aggressive? I've been working on touching him all over etc. He does fine usually and is getting better all the time. Not sure what I should be doing differently, if anything.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I've switched vets for a whole lot less.

You are doing everything just fine - totally normal reaction for that sort of opposition at that age without counter conditioning. I would find a new vet asap.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, that's ridiculous. But I've read that before, so I know it happens. I chose my vet in particular because he has GSDs. I wasn't having a terrible problem with the other vets in the past - just that hearing about how GSDs were in general ("But I like yours") was getting on my nerves, lol.
Sorry you and your puppy had to go through that.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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New vet for me if I were you. Sorry that happened, hope you find a better, more knowledgable vet!
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:40 PM   #5 (permalink)
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find a new vet -- this one is adversarial from the outset --- will look for or create issues as the dog matures .
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He sounds like a fine workingline puppy! I notice you said the vet TECH rolled your puppy and gave you this rant . Vet techs are not all created equal - the run the gambit between no more than a person who wants to work with dogs to having certifications and qualifications I would compare to a RN or nurse practitioner in the human world.

If you like the vet, keep the vet, insist on a different tech.

I have a very confident east german male. When he was a pup, there was one vet tech who cut his nails too short and made him bleed (from several nails), the vet was excellent. He was a past president of AAHA, very knowledgable but he only ever had one good vet tech plus his wife.

Then Dr C retired and we had to find a new vet. The new vets office had one vet I liked but she wasn't always there, the other vets would muzzle Otto because he'd grumble about them looking at his ears. He was prone to ear infections when he was younger, plus the nail cutting thing, it became a game with him to intimidate the vet. Great, now you can't hear his heart rate because you've freaked him out with the muzzle. Same office told me Morgan's burst anal gland was probably cancer so pay for this expensive test. Same office made my friend muzzle his rottie because of the breed...

We switched after about a year of that insanity. I still board there because they have a great huge facility that used to be a car dealership - while they can attract great people and keep them in the boarding area, the vets are horrible and they're crazy expensive. Love my new vet, she breeds GSDs so she looks at Otto, calls him a beast and he leans on her for exam like he's saying 'you get me, you may touch me'
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This vet is an idiot.

And do not take away his bowl and put your hand in there to take food. You got lucky on your first one. This is a great way to CAUSE food aggression.

If you give it to him, it's his. If you want to avoid food aggression, do things like trade up, toss treats into his bowl, feed by hand.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Find another Vet! That is horrible treatment, especially for a puppy. The only reason your pup may get aggressive is if it keeps getting treated poorly at the vet.

We also have 6 cats and whenever we bring a cat to the vet, Molly wants to come - she gets very worried. So the vet tolerates Molly and the cat in the exam room together, she always has a nice greeting for Molly and said that Molly's behavior has improved so much just allowing her to come in as "support" for the cats. Hope you find a vet practice that has more positive practices.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The advice wasn't accurate, but nothing the vet tech did was wrong IMO...

Sorry, if the puppy is biting the hand, its not that out of the question for her to just hold the mouth shut while she finishes her exam.

SunCzarina...the vet TECH did not ROLL the puppy. The vet tech had the puppy on its side already while examining the stomach...there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. If it were me, I would've been holding my dog to help the vet tech and probably in that situation would've just stuck my own hand in the dog's mouth in order to not cause any harm to the vet tech. When my boy was a puppy, the tummy exams took less than a minute...its not a bad thing for your dog to learn that it has to accept people touching it in certain places. If you wanted it to be a training exercise and are worried about the fact that the vet tech "forced" the dog on its side, you should do it all yourself. I've never been around a single vet or vet tech that wasn't more than happy to allow the owner to help with the handling of the animal or down and roll over (with a command) themselves.

But, we could just give the advice to not allow anyone to touch your dog so that when it gets bigger you need a muzzle because your dog doesn't like people touching it. Then you'll come on the forum and get ripped apart for not teaching this to your dog and socializing the dog properly when it was younger.

To call a 13 week old a problem, and insinuate that you'll have issues because you have children is weird. But the GSD is an aggressive breed, they can be problems, and many vets usually see the dogs that aren't trained properly. I remember how my vet was surprised to feel the fact that my dog still had testicles because he was so "calm" and "listened well" while we were in the exam room. I can just imagine what kinds of dogs he has to deal with on a daily basis and so of course they're going to develop certain prejudices.

I know this forum also likes to tell people to ditch vets when they advise them to neuter at 6 months...so if we're just going to advise people to leave vets because of their opinions, I guess this situation calls for the same advice.

Last edited by martemchik; 04-18-2014 at 03:01 PM.
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:07 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It was the tech handling your puppy and telling you he'll be aggressive? If so, I might agree with the advice that says keep the vet (if you like him/her) but request a different tech. But I'd also be questioning whether the vet agreed with the tech, since it seems they didn't object to what the tech was doing. The tech handling your puppy like that is a great way to make it a self-fulfilling prophecy that he'll become aggressive.

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And do not take away his bowl and put your hand in there to take food. You got lucky on your first one. This is a great way to CAUSE food aggression.
I agree with this also. Simply messing with your puppy's food and bowl while he is eating is almost guaranteed to cause food aggression. Much better to give him treats while he is eating, or in exchange for taking the bowl. This way he sees you as bringing good things while he eats, not just pestering him.
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