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Terrified of the vets

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Cleo38, May 7, 2010.


  1. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Toby had to go to the vets last night as he's been scratching his ears a lot the past couple of days & he HATES going there.
    He's fine in the waiting room, really well behaved, gets lots of treats & praise & we have no probs.
    He only starts to get scared when we go in to the consulting room & he sees the vet (doesn't matter which vet it is, we've seen a few) & he suddenly becomes really scared, if they go near him then he starts to growl & backs away. It's horrible to see him like that as he's such a lovely, friendly dog usually.
    The vets at my practice are lovely & very patient but it usually ends up with him having to be muzzled before being examined & even then it's never a thorough enough examintation as he is too stressed at this point.
    His notes from the rescue centre all point towards fear at the vets to the point where he had to be sedated before examination.
    I want to work towards calming him down as visits to the vets will be (unfortunately) part of his life. I'm going to give them a ring today to maybe book some appointments where we literally just go in to see the vet, get a treat & come home to build his confidence. Just wondered if anyone else had this problem & if your dog has managed to overcome his/her fear of the vets?
     
  2. ArwenLune

    ArwenLune PetForums Senior

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    Going in for 'fake' visits seems like a good idea. Does the vet wear a white coat? I wonder if you could do a little desensitizing at home with a white coat, maybe a towel that smells like the vet practice, that sort of thing? It might disarm another aspect of the whole experience...
     
  3. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    They do all wear a green tunic, so it might be that. I hate seeing him so upset as he's so calm usually.
    He is fine with me or my OH looking in his ears, his mouth, checking for flea, etc but obviously we're not vets so can only look for so much.
    Even when the vet offered him a treat last night he hid behind me & usually he will do ANYTHING for a treat!! :D
    The one good thing though is that we met a black lab in the waiting room then went for a walk with him & his owner afterwards & Toby had a brilliant time - I'm hoping that the positive experience will be associated with the vets .... but then again I may be just hoping too much!!!
     
  4. paddyjulie

    paddyjulie PetForums VIP

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    MAvis is terrified of the vets... i have to lift her out of the car to begin with as she knows where she is going...you can hear her toe nails shaking on the floor.....it is very stresfull for her
     
  5. rona

    rona Guest

    Have you ever seen a woman vet?
    My boy is so chilled with a woman but squashes against the door with men
     
  6. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Yes, we've seen men & women & he hates them all equally!!!
    Despite losing weight Toby still weighs just over 32kgs so there's no way I can lift him or restrain him too much.
    We had a double appt booked for last night to try & not stress him too much & take time getting him calm but it didn't work.
     
  7. Nellybelly

    Nellybelly PetForums VIP

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    I am so lucky. Well, after changing vets 6 times we finally found one we are entirely happy with. There is a man vet and woman vet at the surgery, but we see the man.
    My Nelson was really sick the last year of his life and the fact that he adored our vet made the whole thing less stressful and traumatic for the boy. He had been unbelievably stressed at some of the previous male and female nvets we had been to, so clearly the vet we settled with has a way with animals.

    I went to our current vet today along with a friend, for her dog, but I took Bella with for the ride. She was itching to see our vet. We went into the consult room and I had to hold her back so that the dog that actually needed to be seen could be . After the dog had been examined the vet gave a very jealous lots of cuddles and she was finally satisfied:)

    So I think the vet you go to makes a huge difference. But you have said your vets are very patient. I'm not sure what to advise. Maybe "fake" visits are a good idea, as has been suggested, to desensitise your dog to the vets..
     
  8. shutterspeed

    shutterspeed PetForums Senior

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    My lab is the same. Then again, she panics when she notices it's Frontline time:D
    She never had anything but some little problems so she really can't have had a traumatic experience. When we arrive at vet's, we need unnatural powers to get her out of the car, instead of 30 kg, she suddenly weighs 300!:D
    We have to drag her in and she is forever shaking.
    Maybe some rescue remedy will help, I will try it myself next time.
     
  9. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    I juct rang up, the vet is going to call back to arrange some appts where we just go in & Toby gets a treat.
    It's stange as he's fine going in to the surgery, no probs at all. he almost gets excited as he knows he's going to see other dogs which is always good with him. It's literally as soon as we go in to the consulting room.
    Just thinking, he's fine when we've been to see the nurse when he goes in for his monthly weigh in - no probs at all. The room we go in to though is different, no table or anything - just trying to think what it is that sets him off. It might just be when he is examined that he gets scared. As he's a rescue dog I really don't know much at all about his past. His notes read that he's been like this for years (he was in Wood Green as a puppy then again 6 yrs later before we re-homed him).
     
  10. rona

    rona Guest

    Have you got anyone that you know with a dog that is calm in the vets that could go with you on your short visits
     
  11. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    That's a really good idea. One of my neighbours who I have recently gotten talking to has a staff that is friendly & has a bad leg at the moment so is constantly in & out of the vets. I will pop round & ask her if she wants some company on her next visit. Thanks for that!
     
  12. kazschow

    kazschow PetForums VIP

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    Have a good long chat to your vet, see if they can put something on over thier tunic when he comes in, also see if they will let you pop in fairly regularly, just to go into the consulting room with him, let him get a nice treat in their then leave.. Keep repeating, adding in, the vet touching him, in a non threatening way etc... Make the consulting room the best place in the worl eventually, the only place he gets his favourite treats etc.

    I did this with my boy as he would literally stand shaking in fear, now he trots in quite the thing.... it's slow but worth it for both your dog, you and the vet ;)
     
  13. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Really? That's brilliant that he managed to overcome his fear. Toby is very quick to learn, we've worked on barking at the door, sitting down whilst in the car & stuff like that quite easily but to see him so scared is horrible & I would do anything to stop him feeling like that.
    I think the next visit will be with another dog then pop in once or twice a week on our own just for a treat. Luckily there's a really nice common just opposite the vets where we can go for a nice walk afterwards which I will start to do every time so he associates the vets with fun & treats!
     
  14. dodigna

    dodigna PetForums VIP

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    These days I make sure I give Ray a nice bit of Dorwest Herbs valerian Compound a little before we go in and also some rescue remedy, he had a bad experience at the vet and become really terrified of them. We have switched consulting rooms and vets since, but he just knows... Lukily the last 4 monthly visits have had very minimal contact (xcept for an injection) and he is gradullay getting less panicky... I bring a ball along with me and we play a few tricks when we wait between the student and the consultant or whenever they leave the room and also during the time we are there and just talking, it helps him switch the nerves a little, he already knows after the injection it is all over and as soon as I take the muzzle off he trots to the vets with a waggy tail... long job, but Toby has been like that for a long time, good on you for trying to help him :)
     
  15. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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  16. Cleo38

    Cleo38 PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for all the tips & advice. I've spoken to the head vet & he's fine with us popping in twice a week in the evenings just literally to go in to the consulting room, give Toby a treat then go. He suggested to see how it goes then after a few sessions just look in an ear or what ever he/I feel is appropriate for being more hands on with Toby.
    When I iinitially contacted the surgery & spoke to the nurse on the phone earlier she said that she was suprised at the change in Toby as he seems so relaxed in the waiting room & is (generally) one of the better behaved dogs
    Hopefully he will beome a bit more relaxed when entering the dreaded consulting room in the future!!
     
  17. babycham2002

    babycham2002 PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like a great plan,good luck.
    I bet youll get their in no time.
     
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