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Author Topic: Preparing Dogs for Vet Appts?  (Read 4932 times)
OpenHands
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« Topic Start: May 19, 2011, 09:26:11 pm »

My two rescue dogs (hubby and I too, really) had a horrible experience at the vet's office this week when I took them in for their yearly visit.  My husband was furious with the vet when we left and we've decided to transfer them to a different office next year.  I was hoping for some suggestions on things we can do to help better prepare the dogs and hopefully have a visit that doesn't resemble a three ring circus as much. 

Some context: We have an 80lb black lab named Sadie who is very friendly, but also excitable and needs time to calm down when she's encountering new people or situations.  We also have a 110lb shepherd mix named Teddy who has a lot of issues from being starved and abused at his previous home.  He's sweet natured, but also extremely jumpy and nervous. 

They both listen to basic commands, walk on a leash well, and will let us handle their heads and feet when they're relaxed, but they turn into a pair of crazies when we go to the vet, who is...odd, really, with animals.  He refers to people's animals as "the dog" or "the cat", I've never heard him use their names with ours or anyone else's.  He doesn't talk to the animals or touch them save for administering medication.  He has no vet techs so we have to do everything and he gets very impatient when our dogs are frightened and struggling- no treats or pets or praise, he just wants them restrained or sedated so he can move on to the next patient. 

If you have a calm pet I'm sure he's an OK vet, but our dogs get more upset with each appointment and it's physically difficult to handle almost 200lbs of dog when they're worked up into a panic.  I've tried to explain that Teddy in particular is fearful of strangers and after three years of living with us still startles if you stand up too fast or make a loud noise.  He can't be tied to anything because he'll scream and thrash to the point of hurting himself.  He's not a typical dog and I don't think it's realistic to expect him to act like one, especially if you're not using a very soft hand with him.  The vet just looks at me like I'm retarded when I tell him this and repeats that if we just trained him better, he'd be fine.   Angry

That said, I know that as far as we've come there is still plenty of room for improvement.  If anyone has tips on exercises we can do with them or suggestions for what to look for in a vet while we shop around that'd be great.  I don't mind muzzling for safety reasons and we've tried sedatives out of desperation, but I'd love to get them better prepared for their check-ups.  Someone suggested trips to a local groomer with a good reputation for being patient with nervous dogs as practice, what do you think? 
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- OpenHands

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