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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings from the Pacific northwest.....just adopted this beautiful guy and was discouraged by my visit to the vet yesterday when i took him for a check up. Previous owners did not socialize him much though he was great with their small kids. He was fine with the reception staff at the vets office but barked at the vet who was a smallish young lady......she refused to touch him or allow the staff to trim his nails, and gave me a bunch of handouts on aggression and how to apply a muzzle. He definitely is intimidating in this mode, but at home is teddy bear.....what first steps would you recommend to improve socialization?
 

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How long have you had him? He needs to settle in and have a chance to learn that he can trust you before being exposed to perceived threats / new things in the environment.

Did he come to you directly from the previous family... or a rescue organization? What was their reason for giving him up?
 

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I love your input thank you! Ive had him less than a week, so I think he's doing amazing so far.....there are four vets in this clinic and I will definitely be requesting a different one next time!
He came directly from his original family, they have a new baby who is allergic to the dog - very sad .... they tried keeping him outside but he was raised as an indoor dog and he stopped eating at that time. He’s been eating well for me but has some loose stools, not watery but very soft, and this is what initiated the well check at the vet (she put him on a probiotic and i haven't seen any change but its only been one day). He's eating Iams dry food which is not my choice but the only thing his family said he would take, and the vet said it was fine ... normally i do the costco premium food but don't want to make too many changes at one time for him.
 

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I had to be quick before. Sorry. I have a crazy puppy.

I would find a new vet. A little time and patience would have been due for this guy. His background may be questionable, and some rescues have some pretty traumatic experiences at the vet.

While I do agree with muzzling him for safety, if he were mine, I would also take him to the vet's office for treats. I have done this with aggressive dogs before........I call the vet and let them know that I am coming in "for training". They know me and know what this means. (LOL, when I walk in the vet's office now I hear "appointment or training?". ALL my dogs do this, even Genali (4 months old). I take it slower with adult aggressive or timid dogs. We walk around outside and sniff all the good stuff and do some very simple obedience, with lots of high value treats. Once dog is comfy and relaxed, we go home. The next time (usually the next day), we repeat day 1, but it should be a much shorter duration. This time, one dog is relaxed, we go inside (hopefully on a non crowded day, but I take what I can get). We sit in a corner (I'll ask someone to move and explain why if I need to). Corners are important, you don't want the dog to feel that he is exposed on every side. Once inside, I treat simply for their attention. If they focus on me for a split second, they get a treat. Once the dog is relaxed in the waiting area, we go home. After that we up the anty some more, and will (when it is acceptable) walk in and out of an empty exam room, giving a BIG high value treat ONLY when inside the exam room.

Added note, I am really picky and do not let anyone pet Genali when we are out, except for the folks at the vet's office. Each time we drive past the vet's office, I stop and take Genali in for just a minute. If they are busy I will give her a few treat and a few simple commands (Sit and "Look at me"). If they are not busy, I hand them some treats and let them play with her. Genali LOVES going to the vet. We went for her rabies last Friday. They weren't busy, so after her shot she got some off-leash time with her favorite receptionist. They know her by name. Usually they speak to her and forget to greet me....:|

I know that you won't be able to do exactly like this with your boy. But, find a vet's office that is interested in your dog and not just your appointment. You probably will need to muzzle him, but even with the muzzle do something to let him see the vet's office as a good thing....lots of treats before and after the muzzle. When he is ready, allow the staff to give him treats, even if they simply toss them to him. Teach him "Look at me" so that you can get his attention off what is scaring him and onto a source of comfort (which is YOU).

Please don't just slap a muzzle on him and consider it well and good. He is a young dog, and may be able to work through this with a lot of patience and really good treats. I have a rule.......for every "bad" vet visit, we have three fun ones. It really makes a difference when your dog can prance into the vets office with confidence and eagerness.

ALso, one of the coolest benefits is that the staff builds a relationship with the dog. Genali feels so secure when we walk in and she is greeted by "Hey there Genali!". Her whole body wags.
 

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So, my thoughts are similar to previous posters.
If you haven't had this dog with you long, and he has no major observable issues that might require immediate vet visits, just give him some time to settle and learn your routine first.

If a vet visit is needed, muzzle him for now. I think a lot of people make that a bigger deal than it has to be. Dogs don"t generally mind a muzzle much. Just put it on him for some test runs at home ahead of your vet visit. And yes, I can't help agreeing with previous posters that I'd look for another vet that can handle the situation more professionally than to give you brochures and send you on your way without having done an exam on the dog!

As for how to overcome his suspicion and reactivity in the vet's office...it depends on the dog. He may have had some bad experience with vets in the past, or it could just be he is being overwhelmed given all the changes he's experienced recently. Until you get to know him better, and can read him better, you can't begin to address the problem really, all you can do is manage it by muzzling him. Once he's settled a bit more, and this can take from 2 wks to 4 months, manage it and spend time getting to know him. Err on the side of caution in the meantime though...
 

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I'd agree with the advice so far.......a muzzle may be good thing sure sounds that way......I'd also be looking for a new Vet....too many are scared of particular breeds and/or large dogs in general....in many cases I wonder why they chose to become Vets ?


I'm curious though... when you say "fine with the reception staff" were they able to put hands on the dog--pet him ? If so that's one more red flag against this particular Vet....IMO
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh wow i LOVE that idea of going in for treats! When i said fine with the reception staff he dud not bark at anyone snd though he didn't take a treat that was offered he just sniffed it and turned away. Im not set in keeping this vet office - i really like one of the four providers but he is not the one we saw. I plan to get him acclimated to a muzzle in case of an emergency, but am really working towards that not having to be the norm?
Id like to throw another question out there.... just had a family member pass away and have to go out if town one night unexpectedly ..... since he had not really made friends with anyone but myself at my house would it be best for him to stay at former owners for that day/night? I ha ent spoken with them but i know they would be willing..... my other options would be to board him somewhere which I've never done with any if my dogs, or leave him here alone and ha e my neighbor feed him and let him in and out ..... if he doesn't go crazy barking at her..... totally unplanned predicament :(
 

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Inga never went to a vet until she was 24 months old. I did all her vaccinations and worming myself, as well as heartworm preventative. Her rabies vac was from a traveling vet that comes to Tractor Supply Company. Then Inga tore her ear running through a barb wire fence. Inga knows 30 commands and none of this training has ever involved treats. My trainer adviser is Don Sullivan, who says dogs do not need food bribes. She works for praise and play. Not all dogs have strong treat drive. Anyway, to the vets office we went. It was crowded with yap hounds and cats in boxes. We sat in a corner and I weighed her myself. I put her on a down. We sat there for a long time among the chaos.

Suddenly the exam room door right in front of us opened and a German Shepherd female barged out on leash and instantly charged Inga, barking furiously. Followed by the family, a couple and a little girl. Inga jumped to her feet and lunged right back at the bitch, barking her challenge roar. The little girl stood between the dogs with her hands covering her ears. The family then hustled the dog out the door. Down! I commanded Inga, and she complied. Cheering broke out among the crowd.

The staff then quickly shuttled Inga into an exam room. She was polite to the lady vet and her ear was sutured with sedation. We have not been to the vet since.

Your dog you have only had for a few days. What about the 2 week shut down to settle her? You can find many discussions of it on here. Then you will be better able to assess her temperament. And welcome. This is a really good GSD forum.
 
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Your dog needs time to adjust. If you can, find a fear free vet. I use one. Their office is never crowded, and they take time to play with my dogs, pet the, and slowly work up to an exam at each visit. We went in almost weekly for a year to weigh and visit during their lunch hour when they were not seeing patients. I had a dog that was vet phobic who now thinks going to the vet’s office is a treat.
 

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I would think maybe take him back to the previous owners for this emergency trip. If not willing, board him. Its just for one night.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Week two with Gavin

I'm so thankful for this community :)
I've got the name of a trainer, recommended by the scared veterinarian lol so we'll see. I only took him in because his stool changed from firm to very runny and since his initial owners said he hadn't been eating I needed some guidance. Have had four labs, raised from puppies, and never had any stomach/ poop problems in any of them so I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing anything . . . . also didn't appreciate how MUCH the GSD would be into guard mode compared to labs who basically would show a burgler in and thank him for coming, but that's a whole other post!
Anyway the probiotic the SV (scared vet) prescribed had not made any difference in three days, and then he (Gavin) started losing it in the house which kind of freaked both of us out. I contacted former owners who had stated "he had diarrhea once in his life but it stopped with some medicine from the clinic", which was same clinic I took him to where SV worked. They brought it over and it's actually metronidazole and pepsid. As a nurse, I see patients taking these for GI infections and for acid/ ulcer prevention/ management, but I did not know it was used on dogs (isn't it great to learn something every day lol?) And wouldn't you know it, the directions on the label said to take until all are gone, but these cute, well-intentioned young ones just stopped giving it when the symptoms cleared. So . . . not sure what the primary source of the diarrhea was but at this point I'm just happy it is totally gone. They also agreed to take him back overnight when I have to be out of town, so Yay! Definitely not the ideal, but for his sake, I think it's best option at this point.
Have any of you used these medications either together or separately for you GSD, and can you share what they were treating. My plan is to let the vet know he didn't finish his course, and I expect they will add a few more days' worth to make it a complete treatment, but it still doesn't really identify the problem. Not looking forward to that ever happening again as this wasn't a little puppy-size amount :surprise:
I'm so appreciating this support that I'm starting another thread to hopefully pick your brains on how to stop the scary-looking bark and pawing at the window when anyone comes to the door . . .
 
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