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Old 03-25-2013, 08:07 PM
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Default Dogs that are scared of the vet?

Do any of you guys have dogs that are scared of the vet (or just in general, people?)?

Simi is very freaked out by people. Most of the time, she handles it by just staying away from them and watching from afar. Which is fine by me. She will sometimes go up to a person if they let her do it on her own terms, but she is usually happy to just hang back.

That said, if they're carrying something strange, or are reaching for her/me, she will often react with fear aggression. So as you can guess, vet visits aren't exactly a good time for us. We don't have one specific vet, but 3 or 4 different ones in one office, so Simi has seen probably 3 different vets since I've had her. She was fine as a small small puppy, no issues, but about 8 months old she started to get iffy about them and didn't like them reaching for her/touching her unless she asked for it.

Today she went to the vet and we muzzled her, just to be safe. She happily greeted the vet, sniffed her, let the vet pat her, and even let the vet get very close to listen to her heart and look her all over. Came time to look at her ears, I reached down to unfold them (she was VERY stressed and had them laid back) and when I had it open, and the vet reached forward, she snapped. When I took a step back and let the vet try alone, she was fine. She freaked out a little when the vet picked her paws up to look at them (she hates it when *I* pick her paws up). But besides that did pretty well. I did warn all techs and vets to not reach for her.. muzzle helps a lot from stopping common pet owners from trying!

Anyway. I was just wondering if anyone else has had any experience with this, and what they did? I took her to petsmart a while ago and she did so good with people, until one lady stuck her hand right in her face (as I was holding her back, trying to avoid the lady and her kids (the kids asked to pet all dogs, lady just tried to pat Simi!)) and Simi made grumpy faces but didn't snap... I had her at her breeders a few weeks back and she was fine with her until she raised her voice to tell her own dogs to stop barking, and then Simi was kinda freaked out, but breeder just calming scooted up beside me and took Simi's leash and took her to walk away from me until Simi calmed down, after that they were friends... Wondering what anyone thinks?

Just tips and suggestions and sympathies if maybe your dog is the same way?
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:22 PM
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Pan has major stranger danger going on. We haven't been to the vet's in a while, but I brought her in as a pup a lot just to weigh her and give her treats. In her vet appointments, I would bring tons of awesome treats (liver or bacon) and stuff her face/do easy tricks pretty much the whole time.

For people in general, I just accept who she is and tell people not to touch her or try to make friends with her. I tried to get to her to be okay with people when she was younger and it backfired and only made things worse. I started teaching her to just ignore people, giving her confidence that she would be okay and I wouldn't make her interact with strangers, and she improved a lot.

Now, we can be in tight quarters with strangers at fun matches and she doesn't react at all, but I am always watching and ready to tell people to back off.

It sucks though, if you want to do a sport where they have to be touched by strangers......I gave up on comp obed because of that.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:53 PM
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Jackson is extremely scared at the vet. He often shakes, sulks, tries to get away, the minute we walk in there. When he's up on the table, he leans into me as hard as he possibly can, lol. But he's never shown any aggression of any sorts, so honestly, we just deal with it. If I wanted to really work on it, I could stop in there once a week, and then just leave or something, to try and show that it's not always "that place where people poke and prod at me". But I dunno, it's not worth it to me, since it's kind of a rare thing for him to go, and it's something we just get through.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:09 PM
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Honestly, I don't know which is worse.

I have a dog that hates the vet (though isn't afraid) and has to be muzzled, though listens great and will let them do anything while I'm telling him what position to be in, all while growling... then I have a dog who LOVES every person he meets and is a wiggle butt and won't hold still or calm down and just wants to hug everyone.

Then there's Sir... who is the greatest dog I think I've owned, yet... and has a fantastic obedience towards me and knows that he should only make friends in certain situations... IE the vet's office is for business and he gets treats for behaving and not being a good or afraid, the pet store is for calmly getting pet, and people over to our house or going to other houses to visit is for climbing in laps and showering with kisses unless told otherwise.

So I feel ya, I have an aggressive one and a too friendly one and they're BOTH hard to deal with and annoying at the vet. Ironically, Frag is actually easier, but he's an adult too and listens to what I say... and has no wiggles going on since he is mad. :P
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:29 PM
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Mia is afraid of the vet's but she doesn't snap or growl. She's just uncomfortable with people touching her and just... the vet isn't/hasn't been a good experience for her. i don't do much with her since she's not dangerous at all. Just make it quick as possible and bring rewards/cookies for the vet to give her. The worst she's done so far is pee on the floor. She's generally ok until we get to the exam room.

It's much easier with Summer, who thinks the vet is awesome (because... well, people hold her and pet her!). I swear she never even realizes it if the vet has to draw blood or give her a shot or anything.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:34 PM
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My dogs love being at the vet, so I don't have to deal with this, but some dogs actually do better when they're away from the owner, so if you feel you can trust your vet & staff, you might want to try letting them take Simi away from you.

When I was working for a vet, we had a pair of GSD guard dogs that we saw who were like that. The people that brought them in were always convinced the dogs were absolutely unhandleable, we'd get them in back, and they were fine. I'd do nail trim, brush out undercoat, and baths by myself. Just to be safe, I'd put a muzzle on for the nails/brush/lift into the tub, but the dogs never tried anything. I'd make a little fuss over them while I worked on them, and they were fine.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:45 PM
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My rottie mix, Emily, was afraid of people but okay with close friends and family. She had been shy as a puppy and even though she'd been to puppy and basic obedience class and went everywhere I could take a dog, as she got older, she became more and more leery of strangers.

I wound up changing vets because of one doctor (similar situation where there were multiple vets at the place where we went). This particular vet slapped a muzzle on her first thing and it scared the bejesus out of her. She shut down and didn't do anything, but afterward she began growling at strangers approaching her.

I found a different vet and he was great, taking the time to sit on the floor (Emily was 110 lbs so no way she was going up on the exam table), talk to her and toss treats at her until she was willing to take them from his hand. He was never, ever in a hurry with her and never pushed her over threshold, even though it was a repeat performance for every single visit.

Emily, I think, was a lot more defensive and fearful than your Simi so I never put her in a situation where she felt trapped, even to the point of body blocking an obnoxious child who refused to listen to 'no, sorry, you can't pet her'. I always carried treats, and would reward Emily for ignoring people (rather than growling at them). Luckily for us, tracking was her favorite activity so we rarely had to deal with strangers.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:54 PM
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My three are all great at the vet. Skye is kind of 'limp dog' if you do something she doesn't like, but she's still good. They are also friendly towards all people.

My past HA guy, he was so so bad at the vet. He would have killed someone if he wasn't muzzled. He stressed so bad he poo'd all over himself, it was horrible. There was no making friends at all.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:37 PM
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Juno is just scared of people, period, so that transfers to the vet as well. Although the last time she was at the vet, it was to get a prescription for Prozac... and she has made lots of progress while on that, so I'm curious how she would handle a vet trip these days.

But, she's still a piece of cake at the vet. They can do what they want to her and she's still as a statue for it - I was encouraged to sign her up to be a blood donor because she's so tolerant and easy - but you can tell she's not exactly loving the process. Her anxiety doesn't really come out unless they have to take her in back for a blood draw or x-rays or something. Then she's not so keen to follow them out of the exam room. But for sure, she is not the type of dog that needs to be wrestled or muzzled. If anything, her fear just immobilizes her a bit and makes her even easier to work with.

It's not really something I've ever stressed about because she reverts to flight mode... if she were growly or snappy I'd be more concerned. It helps too if the staff can understand the dog's issues, and introduce things to them slowly and not push them unnecessarily.

We have quite a few dogs at work though that behave leaps and bounds better when they are away from their owners.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:42 PM
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Gavroche doesn't mind being AT the vet, since I take him with me to work fairly regularly. He doesn't like THE vet, however. Last week I took the dogs with me just because I can. I was taking a nap in the lounge during my lunch break, and the vet walked in to put something in the fridge, and Gavroche expressed his anal glands on me

Gavroche LOVES the relief vet that comes in a couple times a year. I do, too, so I try to schedule his stuff for when she's around.
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