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Hard to control at vet's

February 4th, 2004, 10:48 PM
Hi, my dog is due for his annual booster vaccination shortly, and I'm more scared of it than he is! Every year his behaviour inside the surgery gets worse. He's just fine in the waiting room. It's only when he sees a vet that he starts it. It's impossible to hold him still and the vet has to vaccinate him on the floor as he jumps right off the table and growls and snaps. Last year I muzzled him for fear he would bite the vet, but he's recently learned how to take the muzzle off with his paws. Because he's only a Jack Russell, I don't think the vet worries enough about having his arm ripped off. This dog has teeth and I know he's not afraid to use them. Please, what can I do to ensure the vet's safety?

Lucky Rescue
February 4th, 2004, 11:51 PM
Your dog needs to be desensitized to the vet office.

You can try taking your dog to the vet for little visits when he doesn't need any treatments. Just in the door, sit a moment and if he is good, praise, give him a treat then leave.

I still do this with my dog, and now she pulls me up the vet's driveway when we pass!

Slowly start taking him closer to the exam room, but always stop before he starts making a fuss. Sit in the waiting room and let him see the vet passing by. Having the vet just toss him a treat, and walk away. Hopefully, he will learn to associate the vet's clinic with good things.

This might take quite a bit of time,and must be done very slowly.

Get a well fitting muzzle and bring it with you when you finally do have an appointment. Hopefully by then you won't need it.

February 5th, 2004, 12:28 AM
Your dog is quite adept at reading your body language also. The more worried about this trip you are, the more worried, scared and stressed out your dog is going to be.

LR has a great suggestion too.

February 5th, 2004, 05:55 AM
I had a big dog who was not good at the vets. She would start shaking the minute we walked in the door, and was so defensive she would bite if provoked enough. I always had to muzzle her; those nylon muzzles are very difficult for a dog to remove & most vets have them on hand.

Towards the end of her life, I moved & found another wonderful vet who is very savvy about dogs. We were doing regular acupuncture with her; and I was amazed that Dr K could stick about 30 tiny needles in her with nothing more than a low growl, no muzzle!

Do what LR suggests.
And PS, dogs don't need annual vaccinations; every vet school in the US recommends a 3 year protocol now. But they should have a wellness check annually. :)

February 5th, 2004, 09:15 AM
Lucky Rescue is right. Desensitizing is a really great idea

I can sympathize with you. My 80lb dog seriously is crazy about getting her nails cut. My husband had to help restrain her at the vet, they muzzled her and she actually defecated and you could smell her anal gland.that is how frightened of it she was! Same at home 2 people had to restrain her, one to cut.

Good luck, if you are persistent with desensitizing her though it will pay off.

I used the clicker when I had the clippers out and rewarded her for just being around and then for giving me a paw (small steps)
She is getting better and we try not to get into a wrestling even if it means not cutting them all.

(we no longer bring her to the vet for the nail clipping, we figure if we end up getting in the wrestling match why pay for it, we can do that at home)

Lucky Rescue
February 5th, 2004, 09:52 AM
Great suggestion about the clicker method, Dee!! This really works - in fact I just used it to help a feral cat get used to being touched!

February 5th, 2004, 06:31 PM
NICE replies!!

call up u'r vet & let them know u'r gonna be desensitizing the dog... lol. so they won't give you weird looks when u come in to sit down for 10min every monday morning!

;) :p

February 6th, 2004, 09:28 AM
That is a big problem if the only reason your dog has ever been to the vet is for shots or worse. So taking him in for nothing is a great way to get him to adjust. My dad has a doberman and lab that love going into the vets cause they get to visit with everyone! The doberman loves to go back to the vet because he hasn't had to have much done, but the poor lab had an allergic reaction, that wasn't noticed for a while, due to the thick winter coat he was carrying. So he had to be shaved, and that irritated it more. So he likes to sit int he waiting room, but we now have to coax him slowly into the vets office.