Don't touch my ears! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Don't touch my ears!

Ok, so Kairo is high strung to begin with and has a host of anxiety issues, many he is overcoming, some still need a lot of work lol! Since the day we brought him home, he had this phobia about someone touching his ears. First saw the whimpering, pulling away, etc on his very first vet visit back when we first got him. Following that experience, my wife, in particular, started just rubbing his ears, massaging, and just generally getting used to having her touch his ears. The next vet appointment went much better, though the anxiety was still present when the vet stuck the scope in to check his ears. So we continued to work the ears until he got more and more comfortable to the point he would finally let my wife clean out his ears with a cotton swap. Still didn't like it, but wouldn't fight us nearly as much as he once did, so we thought we were making progress...until yesterday.


Kairo tagged along with our other dog, Sugar (Bich-Poo) who had the appointment, but we asked the vet to check Kai's ears while we there because he had been scratching a little lately, so we just wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong. Well, as soon as the vet bent down to have a look, Kairo pulled away, yelped, and started fighting me to get away, he was not having it. Though he never bit, snarled, or acted like he was going to bite, he was fighting so hard to get away, I fully expected him to try and bite me. We were not even in an exam room, just in the lobby for the vet to have a quick look. Kairo bolted for the front door jumped up at the door knob and tried to push the door open. There was nobody else in the lobby at the time forutnately.


So anyway, that's a long story to ask what can we do here at home that we haven't already been doing, in an attempt to try and curb this behavior the next time we visit the vet. Everything else at the vet, he is fine with. Injections don't bother him, and we can get through the rest of an exam, but mess with the dude's ears, and it's like WWIII. Suggestions?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-06-2018, 07:29 PM
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Just keep working on desensitizing at home. You want to be at a point at home where there is zero fighting about ears and something your dog completely trusts YOU or your wife with. Also practice desensitizing to wearing a comfortable basket type or jafco type muzzle so getting hurt is not a thing you have to worry about if you feel him ramping up.

There is a line for some dogs that I don't consider unreasonable on their end though. Most gsds already are not thrilled about strangers being up in their space but should tolerate some stuff to an extent. My 2.5 year old working line male is very stable and will let me touch/look at anything, but he merely begrudgingly tolerates letting a vet look in his ears, or worse, a thermometer in his butt. When I go to the vet I hold his head while the vet looks. If needed - which has happened only once with a pulled muscle chiropractor visit and he was in pain , I will muzzle (I bring mine - Jafco type not as constrictive as vet cloth ones). I don't hold it against him for being irritable about a vet poking around in his sensitive areas, as long as that issue does not exist at home and as long as it doesn't escalate beyond "i'm annoyed/slightly pissed at you vet".

I'd just keep working on it. It sounds like you're making some progress and having a high strung anxious dog to begin with it's a lot more challenging. Hang in there.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Appreciate you weighing in and giving your perspective, Mego, thank you! I realize it takes work and patience. Hadn't thought about the muzzle but that may be a wise investment til we get this behavior under control.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 07-07-2018, 02:04 PM
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Don't feel bad about having to use a muzzle at the vet. They're often very relieved that you've bothered to take the time to try to make the visit as fast and safe for everyone. Plus it takes away the bite option from the dog, which they seem to realize and they'll tolerate whatever they have to go through a little better.
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