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I forgot to add that at one of our early (stressful horrible!!) vet visits, my dog* crouched in a corner of the room growling. He would not allow the vet or her staff to muzzle him. He would wave his head around, growl, and airsnap whenever the muzzle got close. They gave up finally and handed the muzzle to me and asked me to try...with me, he did not growl and after a few tries he gave up and stuck his nose in the muzzle.

They had offered to just knock him out (full sedation) but I really wanted to try muzzling before I resort to that.

*adopted at 5-6 years old*
 

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at first I thought that maybe it wasnt the vet at all but something else in the building=noise but you said you whent to another vet/building-could it be you getting upset and pup taking its cue from you? I always stay with my dog, be it shots, nails, baths and no one will have a problem with that or I would find some one else. try staying with your dog and work with him and the vet.
 

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There's scared and nervous and nippy, and there's terrified and ready to fight for his life. If you haven't seen the latter, maybe you'd think counter-conditioning with treats will work. A dog with a muzzle on can't bite but he can alligator roll, scratch, and be impossible to control.

OP- I hope you can find a vet who is willing to work with you and come to you house for his basic care. If this works, it's your best option by far.

There is a lot of basic OB, proofed that would help. This would allow you to at least get his vaccines without complete sedation. But finding a skilled trainer who has worked with this breed and is open to all methods and experienced with this scenario is your best bet.

Behaviorists, just are a huge no for me. I've seen so much bad advice from veterinary behaviorists and strongly believe, based on the OP description, that this dog will be over their head. They'll try meds, then counter conditioning, and then advise you to euthanize. I agree for the most part with this article: https://www.nitrocanine.com/blog/2017/05/27/veterinary-behaviorists-qualified-work-dogs/

I'm not sure if the OP posted general location, but if you do, hopefully someone can recommend a skilled trainer.
 

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Nitro had a home vet visit yesterday, he was happy and tried to engage the vet in play with one of his toys. So different from visiting a vet practice.
 

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I'm going through this with my German Shepherd mix. She was completely fine with the vet and staff the first couple of times. I don't know if she had a bad experience with a nail trim when I wasn't back there with her or if it was when they did the fecal test on her and she didn't like that, but now she will NOT let any of them come near her. She growls, lunges, hackles go up. We tried the weekly vet visits for over a month where they give her treats and saw no improvement. The vet referred me to a trainer and a vet behaviorist. We tried medications (trazodone, gabapentin, clonidine, and even the dreaded acepromazine). They made her sleepy, but she still was alert and growled at the vet. I've been working with the behaviorist where she is having Bailey focus on treats in my hand while she touches her so eventually (hopefully) she will get to where she can be examined while focusing on me and the treats. Bailey has actually done very well with the behaviorist and her staff with this. I just CANNOT see her doing this for the vet and staff at all, plus it's hard to get the vet and staff to go along with everything exactly.

Just recently, Bailey also needed her vaccinations and heartworm test. The behaviorist wanted me to go ahead and have her sedated so that she could at least get these done since she was a little past due. She had me do a towel restraint on Bailey. I went in the exam room, knelt down next to Bailey, covered her eyes and head with a towel, the vet tech snuck in and gave her the sedation shot. Bailey was sedated and they were able to do blood work, heartworm test, vaccinations, and nail trim. Fortunately, she didn't have any major side effects from the sedation and was back to herself by the next morning. I could not believe this actually worked. I thought that Bailey would end up smelling the tech in there and go crazy, but she didn't.

I hated having to have her sedated, but I feel like I had tried everything. I hate seeing her react the way she does to the vet and staff. I hope this helps. You're definitely not alone!
 

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Discussion Starter #26
We do touch his face, abdomen, feet. I am going to get a stethoscope, to see if we can get him past that. Right now, he is only in the backyard (fenced) and car. We do have foxes,raccoons, etc around.

Talking to a rescue is a great idea! There are several in the area. I am sure their vets deal with all kinds of issues, so fingers crossed on that!
 

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I would also look into the fear free link that Magwart provided. My 1st reply was in response to a sense of needing the Rabies immediately otherwise, as I said I would not have replied as I did. The link may have a vet in your area that also works with rescues. Something to look into or ask if/when you speak to the rescue.

Fwiw, I recently (within the year) changed vets. Although I muzzle him, the vet has been able to do a blood draw and aspirate a lump all in the same visit, all without my guy struggling.

I wish you luck and hope you find a great vet.
 

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Can you get a vet who will give him the vaccination at home? I had a cat that was a rescue, and could be a real S.O.B. at the vet's. Fortunately, I was living on a farm, and when the vet came to look at my neighbour's horses, I asked him to vaccinate my cat. The cat was sleeping on the couch, and before he woke up to know what was happening, the vet had vaccinated him.
 

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Bear had an appointment for vaccines and a check up. We have used the same practice from the start. He always went right in, was easily led to a room, OK with handling, etc .

6 -8 weeks ago, he had a vaccine for kennel cough, and a nail trim. I did not go back with him. I did not hear whining or crying. He happily went with staff. He came out, tail wagging, seemed like nothing happened.

Last week, we headed back for remaining vaccines and a check up. He shook and screeched. Was hysterical like he was going to the death chamber. There was no consoling him. Staff saw he was escalating. Took him to the car. Made a new appt, this time trazodone was added.

He had the meds 1.5 hours before the new appointment as instructed. No affect. No calming or sign of sedation. He ran up to and through the door, realized where we were, and that was it. Attempts to muzzle made him more frantic, he would not take a treat. Just generally hysterical again. Back to the car for him.
I talked to the vet for a bit.

First, although we were told he was fine for the nail trim, turns out his chart says he was muzzled. So, this new behavior is not totally out of nowhere. It makes more sense now, but how do I get him past it at this point?

We cannot go vaccine free. He is 15 mo, due for rabies and distemper, and neuter is coming up as well. Vet believes this will help. My emotions are mixed. Seems behavior after can go either way. Vasectomy is not done here (was an option I was considering. Never knew neuter was so controversial,).

But I cannot even imagine getting him in for that or the behavior we could see after.

I do agree with the vet that an anti-anxiety med may be needed (he was not ready to do that yet), but how do I sort out what's fear snowballing from a bad experience and what's a biochemical imbalance that requires treatment?

I feel I need to try a new vet. I like this one but don't like that I was mislead. I have no issues with a vet using a muzzle when they feel there is a potential threat. They cannot anticipate how every dog might react. But why lie?

Is a new place a reasonable step? Home visit not office? Could that help? Or is there a stronger med, to knock him out 100% to get these critical items taken care of in the short termhere so we can try to resolve the rest? I even offered to do the injections myself but it was a no-go.

Sadly, I just started 1 on 1 work with a trainer. (Group classes only got us so far) But until he is current, that's on hold.

Any ideas, help, similar experiences that owners got turned around and how they did it..needed badly.

Thanks!
I think the first problem is that you reinforced the behavior by teaching the dog if he shows avoidance he gets reinforced by removing him from the stress. He should have been given a correction and a command like sit and then praised. But you would have to have a foundation of obedience on him. Sedating a dog to go to the vet means he either has a significant temperament problem, a lack of training and leadership, or a combination of the two. Try setting up taking him to the vet where he just sits in the waiting area for a little and then go up to the counter and have a staff person offer him a treat if he is calm and then leave so that every time he goes it is not associated with being stuck, trimmed or probed.
 

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Both my dogs LOVE going to the vet! The first thing Eska does is put her paws up on the counter, hoping for a treat.
So, yeah, frequent visits, sit in the waiting room, on and off the weigh scale, and offer high-value treats, whether he takes them or not. He may be too stressed out at first to take them, but hopefully with repeated visits, he'll realize there's nothing to be afraid of.

Meanwhile, see if you can get a vet to vaccinate him at home, because you REALLLY REALLY need to go to those training classes!
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Thank-you for the rescue suggestion! I have an appointment with a vet who works with dogs like this at one of the rescues.

Someone commented that it was a discipline problem. But up until now, the vet has never been a problem. He liked his vet and the staff up to the December visit. He went in, sat down, and happily went in a room. We were not told the nail trim was a struggle. I don't know what happened, but it definitely stuck with him. Panic set in as soon as he was in the door. Nothing we had ever seen before.

Had I known, we could have worked on it in the time ahead of the appt. And nothing came out until the second visit to that vet. Not fair to the dog, or to us.

It is going to take work to get him comfortable again, but we will work on it.
 

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Thank-you for the rescue suggestion! I have an appointment with a vet who works with dogs like this at one of the rescues.

Someone commented that it was a discipline problem. But up until now, the vet has never been a problem. He liked his vet and the staff up to the December visit. He went in, sat down, and happily went in a room. We were not told the nail trim was a struggle. I don't know what happened, but it definitely stuck with him. Panic set in as soon as he was in the door. Nothing we had ever seen before.

Had I known, we could have worked on it in the time ahead of the appt. And nothing came out until the second visit to that vet. Not fair to the dog, or to us.

It is going to take work to get him comfortable again, but we will work on it.



https://www.amazon.com/Cooperative-Care-Seven-Stress-Free-Husbandry/dp/0578423138
 

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That looks like a good book. I've always allow m guy the option to remove his paw or leave his bed during a nail trim session. I think that is why he is willing to get on his bed for a trim in the first place. There is a consequence though if he does leave. I don't say a word or act displeased, but No yummy jackpot. I just put it away as he stands watching. Makes him want to try harder the next time.

My vet does the same during simple physical exams. Love her very calm nature.
@Lynn13, good luck, I hope it goes as well as can be. Please update how he did and how he does going forward.
 

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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. https://www.fenzidogsportsacademy.com/index.php/courses/2392 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.
I checked that link out. Loved the techniques. Using a paper cup to begin the process of muzzle training. No need for a proper muzzle to start the training. She has other short YouTube vids also. The class looks like it would be well worth it.
 
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