Not be terrified of the vet. - Page 2 - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #11 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 03:17 PM
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Most behaviorists are not going to be able to help you. I've never met a person who called themselves a behaviorist who knew what they were doing when it comes to something like this. A good trainer could help.

Basically, you'll need to interrupt and punish this behavior, then counter-condition the dog. At this point, it would be years of frequent visits to make the dog comfortable at the vet (if it worked at all).

Try to find a vet who will work with you for rabies. Some state laws say "under supervision" of a veterinarian, allowing some room for interpretation but that is between you and the vet.

Some vets will allow you to inject a short acting sedative under their watch, then the vet can give the dog the vaccines.

If the vet won't work with you, find another.

Muzzle training is a must. There are plenty of videos on how to online.
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post #12 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:17 PM
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Why can't the regular vet come out to your car to give vaccines?

The best "cure" I had was a "rescue" who loved the vets. His "hot ****! look where we are!!" attitude rubbed off on my older dog. (The vet saved his life because he injured when I found him and he knew it. He loved every vet.)

Subsequent pup, picked it up and was joyful at the vets to the point of clearing their counters. Present dogs do much better if they wait in the large waiting room and then go into the exam room. They do real well if there are people in the waiting room who pay attention to them.

One thing I will say do not let vet staff "coo" at your dog. Vet staff and vets have a hard time realizing it, but that can make dogs very upset. Another thing is people holding and "soothing" their dogs seems only to make them (the dogs) more nervous/apprehensive about the place.
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post #13 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 04:54 PM
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I think at this point there is a priority if Bear is at or past the 1yr mark for a Rabies booster if it is required by law in your state. I think that there isn't any way around getting that shot with out physical restraint. Get the muzzle on however you have to do it and get the shot done. I would normally never suggest this but Bear is on the radar because of the accidental bite during play and needing stitches in one of your other posts. If another mishap bite wound happens and he is past due with law enforced Rabies shot he's going to be taken away. Get the shot done then deal with the rest.

If you have a good rescue in your area, ask them who they use for a vet. A rescue vet probably has a lot more experience with out of control dogs and probably has a few techniques of their own that can get the job done. Let them know what you're up against. Let them know that your dog was a happy well mannered pup prior to the clipping.

Try googling German shepherd rescues in you area.

Also, since Bear was so good before that day, there isn't anything biochemical about it other than fear induced hormones/natural chemicals that are normally released in the body during a trigger that causes it.

If I were in the same boat and my guy was on radar due to a bite history, I would restrain my boy myself if that's what it took.. And fwiw, I am so sorry for Bear and you. It should never have happened.

"If you can't see his soul when you look in his eyes, then you need a seeing-eye dog"
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post #14 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-11-2019, 05:34 PM
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What have you done to get him used to being handled, examined, nails trimmed, and the like? In addition to the fear free vet recommendation above, I suggest this class online class about Cooperative Care. It covers lots of things to help you prepare your dog for vet visits, and to make things safer for both him and whomever needs to handle him.
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post #15 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 08:00 AM
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No neutering is not going to help with this situation. I would have him get used to being handled at home by you. If you can do your own nail trims and bring in stool sample so they don’t have to go in and take the stool will all require all less man handling by the vet- making the visit less stressful as possible. I had a dog who disliked nail trims and vet visits were tough. When I got my gsd pups I learned to get them used to their nails being trimmed regular by me. It helps in the long run. Like car2ner said bring your dog in to get weighed with some treats. Frequently. In and out making sure you go their and they have more easy good visits then stressful ones. Find a vet that is comfortable with german shepherds and understand less is more with this breed especially. It makes a tremendous difference -not all vets are comfortable with certain breeds and german shepherds do not make the best patients. The first week we had max as a pup he was 8 weeks old and terribly manhandled by our trusted vet and staff. it was awful they took him in the back to be crated because he was whining. There was a lot of confusion and construction going on that day to at the vet outside also. I’m glad that did not get embedded in his head. I asked my trainer which vet was good with german shepherds and went there. Night and day max next pup vaccine visit was smooth and not stressful. He did not even cry or wince at a vaccine. The less manhandling the better. Something very off about our last vet. Some vets are not comfortable with german Shepherds period. Max had a few surgery procedures due to just rough crazy play - swallows corn cobs , sticks in tonsils, hole in toe he still tolerates the vet he is not comfortable being on that table after all those situations - I can see it in his face and body language but powers through. I just think all the regular handling ear cleanses and nail trims and checking teeth by me absolutely helped max and Luna and make them more comfortable at the vet. I’m just going to repeat dogs really hate the nail trims at the vet’s office. it is the worst experience for them at the vet and it will be often be the deciding factor often how they accept going to the vets office- believe this. If you can get him used to his nail trims and do it yourself and if you feel more comfortable using a muzzle use a basket muzzle at home. it would make the vet visits less stressful and less exhausting for everyone. Making sure your dog gets the best care if the need arises can be daunting if he is constantly fighting the help. He will be greatful in the long run. There is also nail dremeling some dogs maybe most prefer nail dremeling. There are many threads YouTube information on how to get your dogs used to and how to dremel.

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Last edited by Jenny720; 03-12-2019 at 08:36 AM.
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post #16 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:11 AM
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Sorry that you and your boy are having to deal with this! Fear issues are tough.

As a CVT with over a decade of experience, and also as an owner of an extremely fearful and touch-sensitive dog, I've experienced these issues firsthand many times, both as an owner and as a veterinary professional. This is what I've learned.

First off, Magwart and LeoRose have both provided some really good resources. I'd definitely take a look at the links they provided. In addition, take a look at Laura Monaco Torelli's YouTube videos about training dogs to voluntarily allow veterinary procedures. The chin rest behavior that she demonstrates is very good for situations that you might run into at a vet clinic.

When choosing a vet, be sure to work with one implementing the fear-free protocols that Magwart linked to. Veterinarians who are familiar with these protocols will be able to better assist you in working with your dog. If your dog's behavior is as extreme as you are describing, your vet most likely won't be able to handle your dog right away, but should offer support and be willing to work with you to achieve that goal.

If there are procedures that need to be done in a timely manner (ie, the rabies vaccine) consider enlisting the services of a mobile vet, just in case it's the setting that is the issue.

The best approach with a fearful dog, especially one as panicked as yours, is slow, systematic desensitization coupled with teaching coping behaviors. Please don't punish his fear displays. This will only make things worse.

Purchase a basket muzzle, and work on getting him used to wearing it at home and while out and about before trying it at the vet. Start with short, low stress outings to the vet. Drive to the vet and sit in the parking lot, in the vehicle for a few minutes, feeding treats. Then progress to walking around outside, again, with high value food rewards. Then walk into the lobby, and walk back out before trying to interact. Gradually progress to using the scale, sitting in the waiting room, etc.

Utilizing a veterinary behaviorist is an excellent idea. The key word here is veterinary. Lots of trainers throw around the term behaviorist without a full understanding of what such a title entails. There are two instances where the title of behaviorist is appropriate. The first is an applied animal behaviorist, which involves years of study and a PhD. The second is a Veterinary Behaviorist, which is a veterinarian who specializes in behavior. For the extreme fear that you describe, I would contact a veterinary behaviorist.

I've enlisted the help of a veterinary behaviorist when dealing with my fearful girl, and the information and help given was invaluable. I can't recommend it enough. In addition to providing insight as to what is going on and why, veterinary behaviorists can also prescribe medications that can help during the behavior modification process. With my fearful dog, we started with a calming supplement during training, and weaned off of it after a few months of work. We also had plans in place for the use stronger medications if need be, but it wasn't neccessary in our case.

Hope this helps a little, and let me know if anything I mentioned needs clarification or if you have other questions
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post #17 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 12:51 PM
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I never let the technicians at the vet take my dog back. When I have had to have a dog x-rayed, they have me put on the vest and I help hold and position the dog. I hold my dog around the neck when they draw blood. My last dog had to be muzzled at the vet, but you have to be able to manage him and that comes through obedience. I am a big believer in trimming your own dog's nails. IMO, if you can't do that, you most likely can't manage your dog.
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post #18 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 06:21 PM
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Is there another family member Bear does well with that could take him to the vet? If you have any reservation at all when you take him your dog will pick up on it and add to any stress he may already have.
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post #19 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 10:41 PM
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Like @Magwart I am also a huge fan of the force-free handling! And a fan of Dr. Sophia Yin.

I used positive methods to train my dog to wear a muzzle. Once he would wear a muzzle, I can then give some trazodone before the exam, slip his muzzle on while we are in the waiting room, and then he is securely muzzled while vet does her thing. (Last time, quick exam/shots/blood draw for heartworm test...uncomfortable stuff).

In an ideal world yes, my vet would be Dr. Sophia Yin (she passed away)...but in the real world, I settle for him not biting anybody.

That's sad that your dog was so friendly and trusting, expecting only good things from humans, and then his trust was 'betrayed'.

Rumo ~ rescue shepherd/husky mix
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post #20 of 35 (permalink) Old 03-12-2019, 11:01 PM
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I suggest you get a dremel and do your dog's nails at home. I have a home vet visit and it's been awesome and trauma free for my dog. See what home visit vets are in your area, and have him or her visit a few times without doing any 'scary' stuff to your dog.
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