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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone know of a vet in northeastern Ohio or western PA that specializes in GS? We had CJ's 1st vet appt last night and we have some concerns about what the vet said about CJ's behaviors and how to correct them.
 

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What did the vet say? I find that I often have to go to a lot of vets before I find one I feel comfortable with. I don't feel comfortable with a vet telling me what I should feed, how I should train my dog or trying to intimidate me into getting vaccinations that I do not want for my dog. I think it's important to figure out exactly what you want/expect from a vet first. Now I actually call first and ask to speak with the vet!
 

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I'm a bit confused what you're looking for.

Vets are about the LAST people I would go to for training/behavioral advice. That is not their specialty... not by a long shot. Behavior is given only a cursory lesson in Vet school, and vets don't practice training or behavioral modification, they practice medicine. Most are pretty clueless about training and behavior issues.

Sounds like you'd be better off finding a *trainer* who specializes in GSDs, not a vet.
 

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Aah, vets and behavioral/training/nutritional advice! Gotta love it don't you? I can't help with a vet in OH or PA, but we can all help with the advice. If you want to post what happened we can give you our input.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
We went to the vet for CJ's initial check (not specifically for behavioral advice) and we were told that all biting and mouthing is aggression and not just puppy play and that instead of yelping we should pick him up an give him a wrist flick (which is a gentle shake). Being a mom, gentle or not, shaking is not something I would ever do. We are signing up for the basic puppy class at Youngstown All Breed Training Center which starts May 7th. We are also taking the behavior advice from this board very seriously because this is what you all do, love and train GS children.
 

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Originally Posted By: CJ's MomWe went to the vet for CJ's initial check (not specifically for behavioral advice) and we were told that all biting and mouthing is aggression and not just puppy play and that instead of yelping we should pick him up an give him a wrist flick (which is a gentle shake).
As is true of most vets when it comes to behavior/training, he's full of BS. Young puppies aren't "aggressive", they are mouthy, playful, obnoxious youngsters who's inclination is to play with us the same way they'd play with their littermates and other dogs... wrestling, chasing, mouthing. Perfectly normal. For anyone to call this aggression just shows their total ignorance on canine behavior.
 

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Ditto on the trainer specializing in GSDs or similar breeds. My vet has lived with several shepherds himself *but* he has never offered me a word of advice on training mine. There was something I asked him about years ago and was told 'That's not my speciality so I wouldn't know what to tell you' (while I'm thinking right answer, I think I shall be keeping you. except he's getting old...)
 

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Originally Posted By: CJ's MomWe went to the vet for CJ's initial check (not specifically for behavioral advice) and we were told that all biting and mouthing is aggression and not just puppy play and that instead of yelping we should pick him up an give him a wrist flick (which is a gentle shake).
Unreal. If you're overweight, you can exercise. If you're ugly, there's cosmetic surgery. They can operate to fix virtually any medical issue now, and there's a pill to help deal with many mental illnesses... but you just can't fix stupid. Puppies of that age do not EVER act out of aggression.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That was are thinking also. We are planning on not using this Vet again but using the Vet that had origionally seen Michael's origional shepherd. The phrase "stupid is as stupid does" comes to mind.
 

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Wow...I am stunned! How on earth does the Vet interpret all that gnawing and snapping puppy energy as aggression? That makes me wonder how many outgoing puppies of ANY breed, he has had his hands on?

Geez, my puppy is a snipping, snapping little alligator and I KNOW she is not aggressive! She loves absolutely everyone! She will jump out of her skin to greet a complete stranger and then proceed to happily gnaw on their hands! I will warn people that she is young and is in the "chewing stage" as dorky as that sounds...most people understand that and want to pet and pat her anyway. I have never seen a puppy that didn't outgrow this behavior. Sometimes they need a little encouragement, but they all seem to get it right in time. Patience grasshopper!

I am glad you are looking for a new Vet.
 

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Just my 2c

When looking for a vet, I couldn't care less about that person's skill with regards to training and behavior. That is what trainers are for, not what a vet is for.

I would judge whether or not to continue to use a vet based upon their medical expertise and ability to diagnose and deal with medical issues. Other factors, such as price, willingness to say when the do *not* know something and refer to another vet or specialist, location, availability of 24hr emergency service, etc.. would also factor into the decision.

If the vet met all of my criteria with regards to why I'm seeing a vet to begin with (medical), I would not let their opinions on training significantly influence my use of the vet for purposes of medical issues.

I think you will be sorely disappointed and frustrated if you place priority on finding a vet who in addition to being a good vet is also well versed in training and behavior. This just isn't what vets do, and it has no bearing on their ability to be a good vet. It's like picking a pediatrician for the kids not based on their medical ability, but on their knowledge of early childhood education.

Find one who is a good VET and that you feel comfortable with in that regard. If they're clueless about training and behavior, as most vets are, ignore them. Training and behavior issues aren't why you're seeing a vet, and searching for one who is well versed in those areas means your probably going to be walking away from an excellent vet.

I'd rather use a vet who spends his free time keeping up on the latest medical research about dogs, not one who spends his free time learning about behavior and training. That's what trainers and behaviorsits are for.
 

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You know...I'll tell you.

I brought my kids to this one pediatrician for several years. She was super nice and the kids loved her. I guess I should have, but I didn't "interview" her....she was the only lady ped. in town, and my daughter wanted a lady .

Well, when my 3rd. child was an infant, this doctor got pregnant. At my baby's well-checks, the doc started quizzing me on baby care (yep, the same lady who was giving ME child-care advice for several years) asked me about using cloth diapers, how I liked breastfeeding, when I introduced solid foods, etc...

Granted, my kids are very healthy and they're not in there once a month with ear-infections like many of the kids. I can see why she asked me questions....but I was well disturbed by the fact that for many years, she was giving groundless advice to parents who probably believed her.

What I learned from this was to not take advice from people who only have book knowledge....or to take the advice with a grain of salt.

I know for myself, reading about dog behavior (or kid behavior!)...understanding the principles and concepts is way different than doing it yourself on an individual that doesn't follow the textbook behaviors.

In my experience...vets are busy people who rarely have time or opportunity to get out and spend a significant amount of time training dogs.

I asked my vet questions about Corgi behavior (when my son came home with one) and body structure and she told me to call the AKC because she didn't know. I appreciated her honesty..but it shows that Vet school probably doesn't address this kind of thing.

So, yeah...if you have a toothache, call a dentist, not a mechanic.


It WOULD be nice to have breed-specific vets, though, wouldn't it!!!
 
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