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Old 01-18-2014, 07:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Unhappy Uneasy with new vet

I'm not sure if this is the right area of the forum but it does have to do with my puppy's behavior. I introduced my pup, Emery Sage in the new members area. Anyway, Thursday I took her to the vet to get shots/wormed along with my mother's pup, who we rescued from the same bad situation. My mother's puppy is very laid back and let the vet give her shots, check her over without moving.

When it was Emery's turn she kept mouthing the vet. The vet told me while my puppy was playing now if I didn't correct the issue it would lead to aggression. I told her that I had never heard of that and thought mouthing was a normal part of puppy play. I said I was redirecting her mouthing to toys. She preceded to tell me that I had to grab her muzzle until she calmed down and tried to demonstrate this on my puppy who got extremely upset. I told the vet I was using only positive training and not comfortable with that. So then she informed me I was going to have an aggressive dog if I did not teach her biting was not okay.

Am I missing something? Is this technique widely used to correct mouthing? It made me very uncomfortable, to say the least. Am I just being too soft or am I right to have misgivings about this vet?

P.S. I apologize for grammar/spelling, On my "smart" phone at the moment.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Geeeze some vets are just so not GSD people!

it is perfectly normal for your puppy to mouth, by nipping you and other dogs she will learn bite inhibition. Learning bit inhibition started with her litter mates when she would bite too hard and the other puppy would either tell her off or walk away leaving her on her own with no one to play with. You need to do the same and your older one will instinctively do this. This is normal learning behaviour. In order to learn this, they need to mouth!

Some Vets are not interested in assisting pups with learning or helping with aggression, so it is always a good idea to have your puppy focus on you when the vet is fiddling with her. I have always done this with a heap of treats in my pocket and commanding the 'look' and then rewarding. I have also held my GSDs head towards me. I have never ever had an issue, however it is best to be cautious.

Also, something to think about, if you are not happy with this vet then go to another one, hopefully you can find a vet experienced and comfortable with German Shepherds, because not all Vets are and finding one that is makes a huge difference.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If it was me, I would seek a different Vet. My first Vet used to do stuff like that to Jonas; from 8 weeks until 5 months old. I really wished I would of not returned after the first visit, but I did until I couldn't take it anymore. If you like this Vet. Tell them you will take care of the training of your pup, and just give it its shots it is supposed to have." Just because they are a Vet does not make them a trainer, or a nutritionist for sure".
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:42 PM   #4 (permalink)
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New vet!
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The biting, more spirited ones are the fun ones! Grabbing her muzzle will only encourage more biting. Stick with consistent redirection and she'll be fine.
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Old 01-18-2014, 07:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I usually get defensive with threads like this. But actually, that would have made me uneasy as well.

When I talk to new puppy owners I steer them towards positive, let them know what is normal and not. If the pup is getting too rough I yelp! Then redirect. I never ever, nor do any of my Drs physically correct a puppy for being a puppy. Not cool.

Many vets are not current on training techniques. Many are old school. I have seen lots in my younger days that would give me fits now.

If you like everything else about this vet, and want to stay there, then go in prepared next time with super duper treats. Every time the vet does something that the puppy starts to mouth at, shove a treat in his/her face. Redirect right then and there. Be proactive. Training should continue no matter where you are.

When the vet comes in, before doing anything to your pup, tell them " we are working on his mouthiness, if he mouths you, please yelp loudly and when he stops give him one if these yummy treats please". I would then throw in " we really want every vet experience to be positive for our little guy, so we are trying to make sure anything scary is followed by good, that way when he is bigger he won't feel scared or defensive to be here. " The vet will then be aware that you are being proactive ( many clients are not) and will have clear guidelines on how to handle it.


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Old 01-18-2014, 07:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah new vet. I had a similar experience. I was told my existing vet did not like shepherds. I thought that was silly, how could a youngish vet not like a breed? Well I go in there with my Dutchie and he just reads me the riot act that I have a protection breed that is dominant and that I need to do this and that and never let them do this and that and I was trying to let him know that I knew what I had and the vet just did not listen to me. Mind you this is a vet I have used for over a year. He just was disrespectful... and I swear he did not like that Tygo was going after his shoe laces. His own dogs are labradors. Anyway, I got a new vet whose own dogs are huskies.
Get a new vet. And good luck.
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Old 01-18-2014, 08:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I would turn and run. And fast. Don't ever let another person do that to your pup or you WILL have aggression issues fast.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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There are some times when we need to hold the dog's muzzle as technicians - such as keeping the head still while the vet looks into the ears or keeping their head still when the vet looks into their eyes. I do my best to keep my handling to a minimum, use appropriate pivot points to my advantage and I know a lot of ways to adjust myself to keep a vet and myself from getting hurt lol. I'm honestly fairly bad when it comes to puppy mouthing because I find it amusing and don't mind them doing it, or I simply shift my hands into a position that makes it harder to nip at them, so eventually they stop trying.

In general, vets are not behaviorists or trainers. Some of them have more knowledge than others. Those who know GSD would know that they are more of a less is more kind of breed, and you have to work with them rather than against them. I don't know if you as owners have noticed this, but they also always know shepherd people. It is why I get annoyed at times with my co-workers who don't understand my dogs.

I had one of them try to tell me that my new 5.5 month old puppy was picking fights with my 3.5 year old golden. Since I got Doyle, he has been nipping, licking, pawing at Myles' face and body. Myles loves puppies. He loves to play with them. Wrestling is one of his favorite things. However when stuck in a kennel with puppy, he has a limit to how much kissy face he will take. I have been letting Myles tell him it isn't okay, because truthfully Myles needs to tell it. And while he can look/sound vicious, he rarely actually uses his teeth. In my opinion this is dog politics and since Myles is judicious with it, I don't have to be involved. However hearing her say that my puppy was trying to pick a fight had me staring like, are you mad? Other co-workers snorted and said, he has to learn. Some people sadly just don't know dog breeds.

Personally I see it as you have two choices. Either find another vet who knows shepherds better or even just is better at leaving out training advice for those who know more about training, or you can ask the next time you go that she please refrain from trying to discipline your dog as it is your responsibility as the dog owner, not your vet's. I wouldn't dream of doing something like that with a client's dog. Puppies are puppies. I have more fun asking them to sit for treats and squishing their puppy faces, and getting to love on puppies in general.

Just like with your personal doctor, you should be comfortable with your vet and trust them. Who works for some will not always work for others.
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Old 01-18-2014, 09:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone. I actually did not like the vet that much. Several people recommend her and said she loved animals and had fair prices. Personally, I thought she rushed us, didn't want to answer our questions and acted annoyed that my kids were with me. I probably could have worked past those issues, but as I said I did not like her doing that to my puppy or saying I was not training her right because I didn't use physical correction. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that feels this way. Next time I'll trust my instincts.
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