Dog Training World Forums Aggression Problems Fear Aggression A vet appointment that didn’t go well … Reply To: A vet appointment that didn’t go well …

  • Shoko

    February 14, 2022 at 2:03 am

    Just to add/clarify….🙂

    Whatever my dogs do not like to be done to them, I personally prefer to condition them to loving it as much as possible. The only reason why don’t want to just leave the dogs to tolerate is because if the dog only tolerates, I think there is an easier chance for the emotion of the dog to move from tolerate to not tolerate. I think if you condition the dog to really like, their emotion will likely move from love to tolerate and then to not tolerate. So basically you get to have an extra buffer of tolerate before the dog decides to not tolerate. So if your dog loves to have its nails cut by you, the dog will have an easier time tolerating its nails cut by a stranger. If the dog only tolerates their nails being cut by you, the chance of the dog not tolerating the vet cutting its nails and biting the vet out of fear is higher.

    Also, I think it is important to make the dog love as many aspects of the vet visit as much as possible. Even if the dog is good at tolerating many things, if it has to tolerate all of them at once, it can turn out to be too much for the dog, and it might not be able to tolerate the situation as a whole.

    This is based off of my own experience with one of our adult GSDs. Akari is a very tolerant dog. She would tolerate being pet, being handled, vaccinated, poked and prodded by the vet, and anything unpleasant including being picked up and passed on to a total stranger (it’s one of the tests she had to pass to become certified as a search and rescue dog). We knew she secretly doesn’t like people very much, but she was so great at tolerating that we were never worried. Like…if she is so great at tolerating that we are 99.99% sure she will never bite, why bother spend time conditioning her to love what she can already tolerate? How very wrong we were! Because she recently bit the vet on the forehead!

    Like I said, she tolerates being prodded. She tolerates the vet. She tolerates the stethoscope. She tolerates the long handling. She tolerates the blood draw. She tolerates each and every aspect of what the vet did to her that day. However, for her, this time, it was way too many at once and for way too long (and it really was a long visit)! All of the things that she tolerates added up and lead to NOT TOLERATE!😱

    She bit very fast, leaving two holes on the vet’s forehead. The Vet, simply said ” I know GSDs bite…” as he wiped off the blood and continued with his work. For his safety we will be making Akari wear a muzzle next time and keep the visit shorter…

    But basically what I wanted to say is that tolerate can add up to not tolerate. So I think it’s something to keep in mind when conditioning our dogs. If it is possible, I think it is always better to make the dog like the unpleasant things more than just tolerate..

    Btw, I don’t think it would be hard to make Lacy like nail clipping especially since she is only 1 year old. But you have to be very precise when marking the behavior so that she knows she is getting the treat for the actual nail clipping and not for something else that is going on at the same time.

    Also, a thing about muzzles… While it is always good to have the dog be conditioned to muzzles, I am a bit iffy about over using it. This is because I’ve seen and heard quite a few owners/trainers/groomers/vets do things to dogs that they would never do if the dogs did not wear a muzzle. The owner/trainer/vets ends up relying too much on the power of the muzzle instead of actually working on conditioning the dogs. The mentality of…she has a muzzle on, let’s just get this over with…isn’t helpful in the long run. I think it’s always good to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation if your dog is acting uncomfortable in a situation even if she has a muzzle on and can’t bite…

    Anyways, that’s just me with my thoughts…

    But as always, take what you like, leave what you don’t like. 🙂

    Good luck with Lacy!