I should have known better when he never pet Dakota or talked to him.
Definitely! It only takes a few minutes to pet a dog, give him a little treat and get to know him a bit before doing anything. If the vet is in too much of a rush to do this, or appears to not like animals - time for a change!
To get your dog over his fear, this is what I suggest. Start taking him to the vet. The first time, just walk him to the door then turn around and leave immediately and give him a little treat.
The next time open the door and step inside, and before your dog has time to react, leave/give treat.
Keep doing this until you get further inside each time, always making sure to leave before any fear is apparent.
When you finally get inside, just sit in the waiting room for about 30 seconds before leaving, making sure to keep praising Dakota and giving him VERY special treats (ones he gets ONLY at the vet) for not showing fear.
If during any of these steps, Dakota shows great fear, then back up a step.
Hopefully by this time, he will enter the office with no problem, and you can give the receptionist and techs a treat to toss at Dakota.
The result should be a dog who is eager to go to the vet, since he knows it can mean fun and treats, and not just needles and fear.
Hope this helps!