German Shepherd Dog > German Shepherd fearful at Vets (30 replies)
German Shepherd fearful at Vets
by Flamethower on 06 December 2011 - 02:12
my guys are 14 month old German Shepherd. He's reasonably well trained, just young and strong willed.
I took him to the Vet today for his vaccination updates and the Vet had to muzzle him. My dog was scared and hard to control. I was very surprised, he's not like this, usually very friendly with others when I'm around (ofcourse people don't normally poke and prode him!).
Should I be concerned, I have heard from other Shepherd owners that they normally muzzle to go to the Vet. I have taken my animals to this Vet for awhile but to be truthful I've never been happy with him. Maybe I should have changed Vets awhile ago.
Any similar issues out there?
by trixx on 06 December 2011 - 02:36
|my dogs are great at the vet never had any problems, how much socailizing has he had?|
by GSDguy08 on 06 December 2011 - 03:22
|I think for some dogs, fear at the vet goes back to nervousness towards other dogs......When you think about how many smells from however many thousands of dogs go into that vet..... Some dogs get really nervous by it, and react differently towards people, when normally they're buddy buddy with people. I've seen a difference from my dogs though at youth, and now as adults..... Somewhat nervous there when they were around your dogs age, but now totally confident, care free, and outgoing. I took Buck in today to get his rabies, (he turns 3 in less than a month) and he was glad to shake everyones hand (seriously). The only thing bad he did there was give a cat a stare down. Our vets have a bad habit of letting cats sleep on the counters or walk all over the place. And there was a new woman working there, who had a very, very young cat who was on my side of the counter. Well, it was walking towards us, and I told them to pick it up before it ends up dead. |
I'm curious as to how much daily exercise your dog gets too though? The more anxious they are, and the more energy built up, can affect how the dog is there as well. You might consider going for a long bike ride right before your next vet visit. I've worked with dogs who were so fearful of men......Took them on a long, long run along side a "gator" and they could actually sit around men that normally they were scared to death of. It was a good way to start in the dogs rehabilitation in getting him to not be fearful of men.
by phrannie on 06 December 2011 - 03:32
|MoJo has been terrified at the Vets from the first time he ever went (well, I didn't take him when he was still with him mom)...and I always had a feeling that something very scary "to HIM" happened at that time. The Vet had to muzzle him at 9 weeks old. I did everything I could think of to make a Vet visit less traumatic. We'd go and spend time there, sit in the waiting room...let the ladies give him treats...then leave. Go back day after day doing this...all was well, until the day we actually had an appointment, and went into the back...no way was he going to let them touch him.|
Skip ahead to now....he's 8 years old, is loving and kind to his family....wonderfully social with people who come to visit....great with little animals....I mean he's a GREAT dog....but take him to the Vet, and he red zones....SO SO fearful we have muzzle him and knock him out just for a check up.
All I can tell ya, is to try the spending time at the Vets without an appointment.....going in, sitting around....getting treats from office staff....and leaving....and repeating this....it didn't work for MoJo, but I hear it does work for many dogs.
by amysavesjacks on 06 December 2011 - 04:03
|I work at two different Veterinarians... I take my dogs (I own three shepherds) to both... And took them to work with me when they were pups (so you think they would be used to things).|
The seven year old female... she was always great... would jump right on the table... until we did an A.I. with her... now she get on... but whines the whole time (and its been 3 years since she had that done!).
The two year old... no problem whatsoever. However, she gets VERY nervous if standing on the stainless steel table. If we put a pad down she's fine.
Now... I have a pup... who is almost 16 weeks old. And though he is friendly and outgoing. I KNOW I will have a problem with him when he is an adult. I am already having issues putting my fingers in his ears/mouth and picking him up. (He is very dominant and he fights it).
We have WAY MORE THAN 10 German Shepherds that come into our offices collectively that are overly anxious and require muzzling (though if at all possible we try to avoid that).
We tell owners that have fearful dogs to bring them in periodically for a HAPPY VISIT... we ask them to come in... put the dog in the room, and possibly on the table... give it a treat... and leave. No stress... just a happy visit. The more often they come in... the easier it is on the dog... especially if they know the outcome (that super special treat you saved just for that occasion).
by Judy P on 06 December 2011 - 04:11
|I have both GSD's and Malinois - I take them both to te vet and never have any problems. I can put my male Mal in a sit and he will allow the vet to draw blood, give shots or anything. However we never put them on the table once they get past puppy size, my vet gets on the floor with them.|
by Flamethower on 06 December 2011 - 04:22
|Thanks for your replies guys.|
I will definatly take your advice re Vet visits and exercise. I have also found a Vet who see's most of the dogs at the local GSD Club. Hate to see my fella scared, its not like him.
by Two Moons on 06 December 2011 - 05:22
Why did the vet muzzle your dog?
Did the vet put it on, or did you?
Do you, did you, and can you handle your dog?
Or does a vet tech do it?
If you don't like the vet your dog probably doesn't like him either, if it's a him.
He will remember the incident by the way so perhaps switching vets would be a good idea.
by Rass on 06 December 2011 - 13:29
|My dogs AND my cats are good at the vets. That being said, with 5 cats (two are on meds) and two dogs, I go to the vet frequently. I take the dog with me to pick up stuff for the other animals. I put the dog on the scale and update her weight (either dog) and hand out really high value treats. I even have the VET give them treats and normally NO ONE gives my dogs any food. |
My vets are skilled surgeons. I care about them and I surely care about their hands. No dog bites and no cat bites is my philosophy.
Two months ago my young dog twisted a toe and it was VERY painful.. apparently she jammed it and dislocated it and it went back on its own. Normally I would not have gone to the vet but she was due to be in a show in 3 weeks.. so off to the vet we went. Because she had raised a lip at me at home when I checked her lameness I told them to muzzle her. She was fine.. but why risk it. The vet took her muzzle off and then they had a little happy dog party with treats. All was forgiven.
My older dog goes to the vet with me too and she LOOKS for her vet. She will seak him out to say Hi and get petted.
Even the cats are good. They walk on leash and allow the vets and techs to handle them. They sit and stay or lay down on the table and stay and never offer to do anything cat evil, even through blood draws and needle sticks.
Maybe I have special animals. I don't know. All my pet animals have always been good with the vet. The livestock (when I had them) not always so much.. but that was altogether differnt.
If a dog or cat seemed at all unreliable we just muzzled and life went on. My last dog was routinely muzzled because she could be a bit sharp.. but she was never fearful. She happily went into the vet's office. We used to go and get the mulitiple animal discount. One dog (off leash.. Kazi never work a collar of a leash and was always under control) and 4 cats on leash. Walked over to the scale and one by one would "hop on" and then "have a seat" to get weighed, and then go in the room and lie down and stay to wait for everyone to be weighed in. door open. Even with the cats. door closed after all were present and we waited for the vet. Each would be examined and so forth in turn and then wait for the rest to be examined. No growling, No running away, no fear. The techs used to come out and watch.
I always thought that was how everyone's animals behaved.. because that was how mine behaved.
I think I would take your 14 month old dog to a LOT of different places and set up food association with new situations. Different places should INCLUDE your vet's office. Just go in, Feed Feed Feed, and walk out and leave. Go back and repeat another day. Act like it is nothing except an opportunity to give the dog lots of happy and great treats. Use very high value treats like bits of cooked beef, bits of cooked liver, and so forth.
by GSDguy08 on 06 December 2011 - 13:50
|Rass post reminded me........ I did take Buck, very often to the vet just to weigh him........Nothing else. There would be many times I'd just walk in, say I'm coming to weigh him, and I'd go back and weigh him on the scale. Then I'd just talk to the vet for a minute, or one of the vet techs. I'm sure that helped Buck as well through his youth. (I did that just to help him get more and more use to going there since that was his only nervous place) Yesterday after his rabies, the tech held out her hand for him to shake "hands" and then she gave him a treat afterwards as well. Buck would have been fine without that, but it's still a good positive experience after getting a needle in you. My youngest pup, Little Dude is slightly fearful at the vet as of now, but honestly.....I don't worry about it. He seems to be right where Buck was at that age when it comes to the vet......Buck now is fantastic. Not to mention I can always take Buck with me and Little Dude acts just like Buck, it's funny. He forgets everything when big brother is there with him.|
by Bhall on 06 December 2011 - 18:00
|Well that is why I LOVE my vet and his wife. He has never had a problem with any of my dogs. Even the ones I thought might not do so well. He is very patient and makes everything positive.|
by SitasMom on 07 December 2011 - 03:14
I've been in your situation......and it sucks!
I have plenty of time......so I could do the following
pick 4 vets
spend 30 minutes with each vet twice a week
give dog treats and positive rewards when relaxing in waiting area
then give the same when relaxing in exam room
then give the same when vet was present
then give the same when tech's touched dog
i spent about 3 months working with my dog and now its good with minor stuff at vet. i still muzzle for vaccinations....just in case.
i have a vet that will come to my home and this dog is completely accepting......but the same vet at the clinic and she's spastic....... gotta wonder what goes thru her pea brain....LOL
by GSDguy08 on 07 December 2011 - 03:53
| have a vet that will come to my home and this dog is completely accepting......but the same vet at the clinic and she's spastic....... gotta wonder what goes thru her pea brain....LOL|
That has to be "dog related" with all of the smells of different dogs and cats that are there throughout the day, every day. I honestly think it's just overwhelming for some dogs and it makes them somewhat fearful of the surroundings there...... When worked on by a person, they react in a way that they wouldn't if that exact same person was to do the exact same thing.....in a location that did not have much dog scent.
by hunger4justice on 07 December 2011 - 04:19
|I would absolutely CHANGE vets. I would also take your dog to the new vet when he does not have an appointment and just let him look and give him a treat, let them offer a treat (even if he is too nervous to eat it, he will remember thy offered) and leave. I would do this several times so he associates something positive with the new vet. Never let anyone else muzzle or manhandle your dog.|
Edited as just read Sita's Mom's comment and it is wonderful advice.
by Two Moons on 07 December 2011 - 05:57
where did you go...LOL
by alboe2009 on 07 December 2011 - 06:40
|All my dogs have no problems at the vets and I just changed vets @ 6 mos. ago. My service dog wears a muzzle, stipulation in our countract. My latest, Arabella stood her ground at the new vets and initially did some barking at the tech just as she was coming towards her. It was a bold bark, catching me off guard. The tech asked "are we going to have to muzzle her?" Bella, being a year old, I said "she's never done that" and then "no." No problems whatsoever from then on. Reiker my @ 10 yr. old, does not like his toenails cut, Maybe the tech got his quick one time, don't know. But I rember one time, and there were a few persons in the lobby with me. They had taken Reiker back and I heard some screaming and what sounded like a grizzly bear. Everyone was looking at each other in the lobby with a little fear. I wasn't paying attention. Then we heard it again louder and meaner. I asked myself "was that my boy?" and got up and opened the door and looked in. Reiker is only @ 75# but his long hair makes him look a little bigger, I don't think he's that big but he does have some big canines. When I looked in, two techs, young girls had a scared look on their faces and I asked "was that my boy?" and they're like "yes." Reiker is not usually like that so I think they just hit his quick. Told them they could continue or stop, didn't matter.|
What no one has said here, (but I think it lies within your dog), is maybe he smells death. And it could be something happened before your time? I would ask.
by Mindhunt on 08 December 2011 - 03:14
|I have a great vet, she and I worked with my dogs from day one by bringing them into the office without doing anything to them, just sitting, letting them smell and giving them lovies without over stimulating them. She is also a working dog breeder. The techs and my vet gave them treats and lots of lovies when they remained calm and pretty much ignored the one that got ansy until she calmed down. I did this a few times and then brought them in for their first vaccinations. We always tried to end on a good note.|
by mucktao on 08 December 2011 - 16:27
|My GSD loves the vet. But, then he is very friendly and confident. He always opens the vets cupboard and gets into the treats.|
by windwalker18 on 09 December 2011 - 07:43
|I find that as often as not the issue with treating dogs at the Vets is that they are not used to being forcibly restrained to the degree that a blood draw would take. So much depends on the vet working with you. Ikon went in for his hip x-rays this week. He was politely social with both Vet and assistants, who took the time to say hello before we began anything requiring his trust. The Vet then palpated both front legs, range of motion in both front and rear legs, checked a small cyst on his ribs... all before any needles were introduced. I then requested that I be allowed to restrain him. The assistant stood behind me in case their help was required (it wasn't) and the anesthesia was given IV. He calmly drooped as we patted him and talked in quiet voices. Nobody put any confrontational situations before him. With a well socialized dog that's all that is generally required for a pleasant Vet visit. (BTW, x-rays looked good, just waiting for OFA now)|
by GSDguy08 on 09 December 2011 - 12:03
|windwalker I have to slightly disagree. As others have stated, and as I've even seen, dogs who are normally totally stable and social....Act totally different at certain vets. I think it is both "dog related" with the literal thousands of smells of dogs that go there each day (Which possibly could come down to nervousness around other dogs....Which could make the dog nervous of any of it's surroundings, people included at that time), and at times a vet you shouldn't trust. I don't think it always has to do with not being used to being restrained for blood drawing......Considering most who react this way do it before being restrained. Of course some dogs react when being restrained, but many dogs act this way before this. I've seen friends dogs who were 100% normal anywhere else, friendly to all, no environmental issues, could be examined in a neutral environment by a stranger (literally) act out barking at the vet when at the vet office itself, when normally....they wouldn't do that. Could be a sign the person should pick another vet as well. I personally think I will be picking a new vet soon. The waiting room is a small cramped, confined area, and if it's busy every dog known to man is right up close and personal. They even let their cats wander around, one the other day was on the floor walking towards Buck!! Buck would've killed it if it came up to him. I kept him in a sit/stay on leash, but still. The new vet tech that was there got really snarky with me and told me to go outside, when they shouldn't have cats roaming on that side anyway. I found another vet close to here that is nice, much bigger/more open waiting room, nicer staff as well, and they really seem to care about the dogs. That's where I will probably take the new pup I have coming soon, and also my pack as well from now on. The vet I go to now has been shady in the past, and not the nicest. With that said, my dogs don't like the actual "Vet" himself, but they don't react towards him in anyway. They like some of the techs/assistants, but the new ones that are there now....I don't like.|