German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I posted awhile back about our German Shepherd mix, Bailey, who at around 10 or 11 months old went from loving strangers coming up to her and petting her to all of the sudden not wanting to have anything to do with strangers. Now, it has gotten to the point where she won't even let the vet exam her. She growls and tries to lunge at her. Fortunately, we have a great vet and she offered to let me bring Bailey in once a week with treats and she would even come in and try to work with Bailey. Well, after the second visit Bailey was actually letting the vet pet her and give her treats, and even got on the scale for her! She still won't let her exam her though. The vet just has to even look like she's trying to look at something on her and Bailey starts growling and lunging. The Benadryl that the vet had recommended we try didn't even have any effect on her. I even gave her the 75 mg that she suggested, and Bailey only weighs 50 pounds. We did the visits for a little over a month and I finally told the vet that I will contact the behaviorist that she referred us to. She agreed and wished me luck and just had this really sad look on her face like she doesn't know if anything can be done. I am planning on contacting the behaviorist, but now I'm worried that she will never let a vet exam her and I don't know what can be done. Has anyone had experience with this? I asked the vet if they have dogs there that have to be "knocked out" in order to be examined and she said yes and it's usually the larger dogs, and they do have very small dogs that even have to be "knocked out" to be examined because they can't hold on to them while they're squirming.

I absolutely hate seeing her this way with the vet. I can manage her with strangers by just not taking her out in public, but she HAS to go to the vet! She is such a sweet dog with us and has never shown any signs of aggression, no food aggression, no toy aggression, nothing. She just has the occasional "talking back" or over dramatic attitude when she doesn't want to do something, but she hardly even does that anymore. I've noticed that she will not focus on me when she is with the vet or if she sees the neighbor's dog and that is something that I am STILL trying to work on. Normally, all I have to do is snap my fingers at her and she knows to sit and look at me, but when she is focused on something there is nothing I can do. I have even tried putting myself in front of her and whatever it is she is focused on to let her know that I'm in control, but she just looks around me.

I'm rambling on, but I am just so worried that her fearfulness or aggressiveness will not be able to be changed towards the vet even working with the behaviorist. She just seems to have a really hard time trusting people. Has anyone else had experience with this?

Thank you
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,423 Posts
Hi Raven,
Sorry to hear you are going through this, cute pup though! We went through a similar thing with Gandalf, when he was at his worst pretty much at deaths door we took him to a specialist with better equipment.. the specialist had to run a variety of different tests on him when Gandalf was feeling very sick. Gandalf put up a good fight and even nicked the vets hand pretty good, we ended up having to knock him out to get the tests ran. The vet was very understanding considering Gandalf wasn't feeling like himself. Ever since then Gandalf has never liked this vet which is unfortunate since he has the best equipment and knowledge in our area, he does fine with any other vet or person we have went to! But sadly will not forget what happened. Our only solution was to switch regular vets, since he has no bad memories with them he doesn't mind at all being examined. Any serious issues I will still probably take him to our old vet since I trust his expertise the most, but routine checkups we will stick with other people. You might want to try this too and visit another vet from now on, start off on a clean slate... just schedule a visit for a routine check up without any pokes or prods and bring lots of treats and toys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,938 Posts
My experience with a dog that is aggressive at the vets.
Some strange combination of factors come into play, multiple animal smells, a sense of stress and fear in the clinic and so many vets seem clueless about dog body language. They do a much better job of teaching techs then vets IMHO.
Shadow is always fine with the techs, always. Hops on the scale, takes treats, rubs against them. Then the vet walks in and all heck breaks loose. Techs do lots of the exam with her normally.
So, I keep her muzzled for everyone's peace of mind. I keep her in the car until the vet is ready to reduce the length of time she is in the room, I refuse to lift her on to the table which is slippery and scary so she isn't feeling so vulnerable, and I request that the vet enter the room before us so he is there when she walks in and not entering a room where she is cornered and stressed.
I did weekly visits just to weigh her and get pets and treats, but since she likes the techs anyway it had limited success. Now I sedate her for most visits, since without sedation it's tough to get a good exam in. Not enough to knock her out just enough to make her drowsy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
I may get tomatoes thrown at me for this recommendation - but you may want to consider working with her on being muzzled at the vets office. This *may* help calm her down while being examined. It also protects the vet and you being the owner.

This is one of my favorite threads on the board. A ton of good info about introducing dogs to their environment, including appropriate stranger interactions. It's hard to properly say what's going on with your girl on-line but it sounds like she's totally stressed out, boundaries have been crossed with her, as she sees it. She's also still a very young dog.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/general-puppy-stuff/400690-rethinking-popular-early-socialization.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I forgot to add that that vet and I have tried both with the muzzle on and with the muzzle off. No difference :( I also forgot to add that while her behavior started changing towards strangers around 10 or 11 months, she is now 2 years old and her behavior has slowly started getting worse towards the vet. Sorry, trying to do too many things today, lol. Thank you all for your responses so far!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,028 Posts
Good that you are willing to try a muzzle. My opinion - for everyone's safety have her wearing a muzzle anytime she is going to the vet. Take the time to really shop for one, make it a basket muzzle - NOT the nylon grooming muzzles they have at the vets.

My question would be is her reactions to the vet, vet office, tech/s or just the whole set up? My troublemaker is somewhat HA - better now (yayyy). At the vet office, he loves the vets, front office all the techs EXCEPT for one. That one tech is I would say is spastic - hyper, jerky movements, not a calm bone in her body - sets him off, thankfully he is muzzled. So think about the office set up and how it may relate to her behavior.

The suggestion I would make is if it comes to having to sedate her - do not let them use ACE. That will only increase your problems. ACE sedates the body but leaves the mind active. Imagine being trapped and unable to defend yourself.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Good that you are willing to try a muzzle. My opinion - for everyone's safety have her wearing a muzzle anytime she is going to the vet. Take the time to really shop for one, make it a basket muzzle - NOT the nylon grooming muzzles they have at the vets.

My question would be is her reactions to the vet, vet office, tech/s or just the whole set up? My troublemaker is somewhat HA - better now (yayyy). At the vet office, he loves the vets, front office all the techs EXCEPT for one. That one tech is I would say is spastic - hyper, jerky movements, not a calm bone in her body - sets him off, thankfully he is muzzled. So think about the office set up and how it may relate to her behavior.

The suggestion I would make is if it comes to having to sedate her - do not let them use ACE. That will only increase your problems. ACE sedates the body but leaves the mind active. Imagine being trapped and unable to defend yourself.
Yes, I definitely always have her muzzled. One thing we did try at her last exam since the vet thought that maybe it is also a protective thing, was my daughter and I left the room while the vet tried to check out this rash on her belly (Bailey was growling and lunging just because she was trying to look) and the vet said that she still growled a little, but she was better and she was able to look. Her reaction is to the whole set up now. I was able to take her in every couple of weeks to have her nails trimmed, but nope not anymore. She evens starts growling at people now if they just start talking to her! Like I said, I can manage her around strangers and visitors (if needed), but she has to go to the vet. I have heard that about ACE, thanks for the reminder! After reading some of the testimonials on this behaviorist's website and on their Facebook page, I am feeling a little more hopeful. It seems that she has dealt with some major fear aggression towards people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I see that you posted this before about a lump on her throat. Was this ever resolved? Just a random thought - is she in pain? Some dogs can be aggressive when they are.

http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/health-issues/684601-lump-center-throat.html
We took her to the vet for that (when she would actually let the vet exam her, lol) and she couldn't feel it. I will definitely bring that up with the behaviorist. If it is related to the lump, I wonder if she would be aggressive all the time and not just with other people?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,073 Posts
raven414a - glad the vet did check it out and could not find anything. Not sure what you felt.

You make a good point. If she were in pain of some sort, I don't think she would only be aggressive with those unknown to her. My comment is most likely a dead end (on the pain) but I just wanted to ask because of the previous post.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
124 Posts
Options from a tech who handles dozens of dogs every day, none of whom want to be there:

Find a clinic that respectfully handles your dog and doesn't cowboy through things. They use "fear free" methods.

Condition to a well fitted basket muzzle.

Counter condition to handling and going to office. Baby steps.

Sedation. My personal favorite. Animals seem the least stressed out. Very safe and reversible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Options from a tech who handles dozens of dogs every day, none of whom want to be there:

Find a clinic that respectfully handles your dog and doesn't cowboy through things. They use "fear free" methods.

Condition to a well fitted basket muzzle.

Counter condition to handling and going to office. Baby steps.

Sedation. My personal favorite. Animals seem the least stressed out. Very safe and reversible.
Great suggestions, thanks! I'm thinking I probably will have to go with the sedation even after seeing the behaviorist. Even though I have owned dogs all my life, I don't have much experience with sedation. Is it a shot, is there a medication that can be given beforehand? And, if it's a shot how would the vet or tech be able to get close enough to her to administer it without her lunging?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,464 Posts
I had an aggressive rescue who needed a walking sedative and a muzzle. I would not knock him out fully for a vet exam, so they gave us a tranquilizer that worked very well. It’s not used anymore but because it worked on him, they continued to prescribe it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Well, just heard back from the behaviorist. They are booked up through June and unfortunately Bailey is due for her heartworm test at the end of June. I was really hoping to get her in at least within a month to get some answers about what I can do for that next vet visit. The behaviorist stated on their email that they do have a waiting list and try to move the appointments up if possible, so maybe that can happen. But now, I'm going back and forth on whether or not to even take her to a behaviorist. I mean, will she ever really be "cured" of her fear aggression? I guess after the vet and I working with her for over a month and Bailey still not letting her exam her, I just feel like it's hopeless. I guess I will ask our vet about a sedative for that heartworm test in June, I just really hope it works, and I wonder why she didn't mention it at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
892 Posts
Well, just heard back from the behaviorist. They are booked up through June and unfortunately Bailey is due for her heartworm test at the end of June. I was really hoping to get her in at least within a month to get some answers about what I can do for that next vet visit. The behaviorist stated on their email that they do have a waiting list and try to move the appointments up if possible, so maybe that can happen. But now, I'm going back and forth on whether or not to even take her to a behaviorist. I mean, will she ever really be "cured" of her fear aggression? I guess after the vet and I working with her for over a month and Bailey still not letting her exam her, I just feel like it's hopeless. I guess I will ask our vet about a sedative for that heartworm test in June, I just really hope it works, and I wonder why she didn't mention it at all.
Fenzi Dog Sports Acadamy is running an online Cooperative Canine Care course in June. Might be worth looking into.

https://fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/2392
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,021 Posts
My youngest can't stand the vet. He was fine up until he got neutered at 16 months. I still don't know what happened that day, but I'm convinced something happened. He is fine with the girls up front, ok but not trusting of the vet and he can't stand any of the vet techs. They all wear different color shirts and as I watched his reaction to them I am not sure if it was towards the individuals or if he was profiling them. My gut tells me that one of the techs was not good to him. He hasn't been back since then but is due for shots at the end of the year. We are going to a different vet and I'm dreading it. He will be muzzled for sure and I will be the one holding him. I'm interested in seeing how he does with a different vet and a completely different office. I've never had this issue before, so I will just wait and see what happens on this next visit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
My youngest can't stand the vet. He was fine up until he got neutered at 16 months. I still don't know what happened that day, but I'm convinced something happened. He is fine with the girls up front, ok but not trusting of the vet and he can't stand any of the vet techs. They all wear different color shirts and as I watched his reaction to them I am not sure if it was towards the individuals or if he was profiling them. My gut tells me that one of the techs was not good to him. He hasn't been back since then but is due for shots at the end of the year. We are going to a different vet and I'm dreading it. He will be muzzled for sure and I will be the one holding him. I'm interested in seeing how he does with a different vet and a completely different office. I've never had this issue before, so I will just wait and see what happens on this next visit.
That's exactly how I feel about it as well, dreading it. I was thinking about that also with Bailey that maybe one time when they had her in the back trimming her nails they might have done something to her. It's hard to tell with her though because she doesn't like anyone coming up to her anymore anywhere (except at the drive-thrus because they have food, lol). That does sound like maybe that's what happened to your youngest one. Best of luck to you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,028 Posts
Well, just heard back from the behaviorist. They are booked up through June and unfortunately Bailey is due for her heartworm test at the end of June. I was really hoping to get her in at least within a month to get some answers about what I can do for that next vet visit. The behaviorist stated on their email that they do have a waiting list and try to move the appointments up if possible, so maybe that can happen. But now, I'm going back and forth on whether or not to even take her to a behaviorist. I mean, will she ever really be "cured" of her fear aggression? I guess after the vet and I working with her for over a month and Bailey still not letting her exam her, I just feel like it's hopeless. I guess I will ask our vet about a sedative for that heartworm test in June, I just really hope it works, and I wonder why she didn't mention it at all.
Definitely continue with your plans to work with a behaviorist. They will not only work with training her, but training you as well. There is a lot of things - little and big - we as handlers do that affect these fearful dogs.

As far as curing.. Woolf isn't 'cured'; he is managed. He has learned coping skills. Dog smart people are relatively safe around him (I decide when and if they are safe). This is a dog that at one point trainers and vets both recommended to pts but now rolls over for a belly scratch.

Post where you are at or I may have missed that. Someone may know of another trainer/behaviorist in the area.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top