Major anxiety over upcoming vet visit...

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Postby amazincc » January 3rd, 2010, 11:05 pm

Ugh... I'm turning into one of "those" people. :oops: :nono:

Anyway - over the past couple of months Sepp has become more and more "territorial" over our yard, especially towards other male dogs. His obedience is just about zilch when he spots one (even on a long lead), and he'll race up and down the fence, hackles up/growling/barking until the offender is out of sight. Zero recall at those times.
On walks it's the same thing... he'll get very tense and start posturing/staring, hackles up, ears back, low growling. I usually switch to the other side of the street and continue walking, or I make him sit at a fair distance until the other dog has gone out of sight. He will barely focus on me, and he will refuse any treats during those encounters. We do work on it almost daily (trying to "ignore" other dogs, at least), but it's veeeeery slow progress, and he won't be *obedient* close to one anytime soon.
Sepp has one female doggy friend whom he sees sporadically, and he gets along well w/her. He's also recently started humping Daisy and Faust, but I can easily redirect him.
So, that - in and of itself - is not a huge concern to me, because as long as we have no aggression issues within our family and/or towards the cats I'm okay w/having a "less than sociable" dog.
I have no concerns w/his behavior towards people either, and I just want to state that very clearly.

The problem is his upcoming vet visit to get his rabies. I'm almost at the point of skipping it altogether, but I know it's the law... :neutral:

My vet has her practice in a converted 1-family house, and it's tiny. Especially the waiting room/reception area. There are two benches, and it's literally two steps to the reception desk.
Always crowded... and a lot of times dogs are off-lead, despite the signs all over the place to "please keep your dog leashed at all times".
Small-town living, I guess, but it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine... :rolleyes2:

At Fausts last visit I mentioned needing an appointment for Sepp, and I commented on the very small waiting room. I also asked how the staff might handle a potentially dog-aggressive dog, or if there is another entrance. There isn't. And I got:" In my seven years here we only ever had ONE serious dog fight... why??? Does your other dog BITE???" from the receptionist. While she raised her eye brows at me.
I didn't say much else at the time because I most definitely don't want Sepp to have a reputation before they even meet him, and because they all LOVE Faust to pieces... but since then I've envisioned all sorts of "maybe-scenarios" and disasters, and I can't snap out of it.
Even if we get the first or the last appointment of the day, I've been there often enough to know that there are always people w/off-leash dogs popping in - to pick up food or prescriptions, to drop stuff off... it's very unpredictable. They also do boarding, so there are dogs coming and going constantly.
There is no way around going through the waiting room, and there is literally no way to avoid other dogs... a yorkie will make the reception area look crowded.
I *think* that Sepp will not be easily managed in a situation like that. He is very strong as well, and I envision a wrestling match complete w/loud vocalization on his part... and, frankly, it's making me apprehensive and majorly anxious.
I have complete faith in him when it comes to the staff/vet - but the thought of meeting other dogs horrifies me already - and I KNOW that I am going to communicate that to Sepp who will pick up on it immediately... and act accordingly. I have noticed that Sepp is very, very sensitive to how I feel in any given situation - and he definitely mirrors my anxieties and misgivings.

Even w/Mick I didn't feel that apprehensive, because we always dealt w/big waiting rooms, seperate entrances, or at least more space.

So, crap... we have an appointment in about two months and it's giving me nightmares. How do I best approach the staff and vet, and voice my concerns without making Sepp sound like an out-of-control blood-thirsty menace to the rest of their clients???
I want them to like him, of course, and not think they have to be afraid or tip-toe around him, but I also know that an outburst towards another dog is going to look very ugly and/or dangerous even.

Short of showing up there drunk (but *relaxed*)... what do I do? :( :?
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Postby katiek0417 » January 3rd, 2010, 11:35 pm

Well, first, calm down :hug3:

Next,let's talk about what you can do in the next couple of months...Work on getting him to focus on you, and work on getting him to heel next to you...Just like you did with Mick - because I know how much you did with him!

Now, the vet...I would go there about a week or so before and ask to speak to the vet directly...tell her that Sepp has been showing some DA issues, and, while you have been working on your obedience and such, you are very concerned about your upcoming visit. Don't tell her you're concerned about her small waiting area...I would ask if there's a better time for you to come when it might be less busy (so he'd be less likely to run into other dogs) or if it might be okay to wait outside until your appointment, and call to let them know you've arrived, then have someone come to get you when it's your turn...or some combination of the two of those things...

Many vets are very willing to work with you if they know you're aware of the situation and are planning ahead...

Alternatively, if you really want to work with him, you could call the vet now, and explain the situation, and ask if she has times that are less busy, then go with Sepp several times prior to the appointment to work on his obedience...
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 3rd, 2010, 11:59 pm

good stuff, Katrina. :)

I'd be working on impulse control with him...a good thing for him to learn anyway. It's fine to not like other dogs, or whatever...but it's not fine to act on EVERY little impulse that comes through his little pea head. :D Do you have a copy of Control Unleashed? Working on Look At That would be good...and "There's a Dog in Your Face" if you can find some help.

I know you can do it too...you obviously made HUGE strides with Mick, so just chill and start working. If it's too soon, and he's not ready...just postpone the appt. for a few more weeks if needed. :| I'm sure they're not going to come rushing your door if you're a bit late with the vax.
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 12:04 am

I know, Katrina... thanks. :hug3:

The whole prospect of the appointment is literally making me sick to my stomach, and for no good reason at all... I don't understand it.
But, since it is in my head, it'll set the whole tone for the visit, and that's what I'm afraid of as well.
I'll make the dog a nervous wreck, no doubt about it.

I'm going to call tomorrow and approach them like you suggested... and then Sepp has two months to practice and whip me into shape. *Sigh* :crazy2:
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 12:17 am

TheRedQueen wrote:
I'd be working on impulse control with him...a good thing for him to learn anyway. It's fine to not like other dogs, or whatever...but it's not fine to act on EVERY little impulse that comes through his little pea head. :D Do you have a copy of Control Unleashed? Working on Look At That would be good...and "There's a Dog in Your Face" if you can find some help.



I DO have that book, and I will be digging it out and re-reading it. :D
Yeah... impulse control is a biggie w/him, in just about every waking moment of his life. He really does "live in the moment", and he has such a hard time focusing when he gets stimulated. I try not to get frustrated, but... sometimes... grrrrr. :cuss: lol

Lol@ little pea head - that's my boy! :heartbeat: :mrgreen:
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Postby delilahsmommy » January 4th, 2010, 12:49 am

well from what i know of you if you put your mind at ease and work towards the goals you have set things will work out stop stressing relax...deep breaths.... i know you can handle this i think everyone has given great advice but mostly its up to you mostly the way you feel about it as you said he reacts very well off of you as most our dogs do....what i do to get Delilah in the zone is completly ignore everything around me none else is around but me and her and i think it works good:)
plus i know you have some cool jedi skills and can pull anything off...
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 1:01 am

delilahsmommy wrote:what i do to get Delilah in the zone is completly ignore everything around me none else is around but me and her and i think it works good:)



You are absolutely right - I will definitely make an effort to do just that. :)
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Postby hugapitbull » January 4th, 2010, 9:29 am

Duke acts exactly as you describe Sepp when we are home. He's starting to improve, but it is little bitty steps. That said, he is perfectly reliable to go out in public. He sits peacefully at the vet, and I use a vet where there is high traffic all the time. I have no doubt I could take him into a pet store with no problem, just haven't had the opportunity to try. He just has some uber territorial thing going on at home. Is there somewhere else you could take him, where the space isn't so confined, where he might see another dog, but not be in his home territory just to see how he reacts?
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Postby maberi » January 4th, 2010, 10:14 am

Great advice all around!!

Another thing I like to do when I get to the vet is keep my guys in the car, go inside, and put our name down and scout out the place a bit. If there are too many dogs in the waiting room I notify the receptionist of this and ask that when it is his time to come in (this was Yoda), that they ask people to move to one side of the room so that there is no possibility for something to happen.

I also think Erin's suggestion of digging out your Control Unleashed book and working on the Look At That game is an awesome idea. That concept goes against what most trainers would tell you to do, but it is honestly a god send for reactive dogs. I've just starting working on it with Kayden and have seen huge improvements. Just remember to take things slow and keep him under threshold as you work on the exercise.
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 4:14 pm

maberi wrote:Great advice all around!!

Another thing I like to do when I get to the vet is keep my guys in the car, go inside, and put our name down and scout out the place a bit. If there are too many dogs in the waiting room I notify the receptionist of this and ask that when it is his time to come in (this was Yoda), that they ask people to move to one side of the room so that there is no possibility for something to happen.

I also think Erin's suggestion of digging out your Control Unleashed book and working on the Look At That game is an awesome idea. That concept goes against what most trainers would tell you to do, but it is honestly a god send for reactive dogs. I've just starting working on it with Kayden and have seen huge improvements. Just remember to take things slow and keep him under threshold as you work on the exercise.


Yeah... no car, Matt... lol

We walked past the building today, on the other side of the street, several times. I'm thinking of doing that for about a week and then switching to the other side to see how he'll react to being closer. He'll be able to see and smell a ton of dogs.
It's probably just my nerves more than anything, and that evaluation really didn't help... making my dog sound like an unpredictable time-bomb because he was skittish around a wheel chair... :rolleyes2:
We also do "look at that" from our porch steps right now - Sepp managed to sit and contain himself today, while a strange male dog peed on our fence. :shock:
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Postby mnp13 » January 4th, 2010, 4:22 pm

I don't have time to read this whole thing right now, but in New York it's illegal to have any building that has only one entry/exit door if you do any sort of business that serves the public.

In other words - there IS a back door. :wink:
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 4th, 2010, 4:23 pm

mnp13 wrote:I don't have time to read this whole thing right now, but in New York it's illegal to have any building that has only one entry/exit door if you do any sort of business that serves the public.

In other words - there IS a back door. :wink:


Having been out the back door of many vet clinics, it might be worse, since they often have the cages back there by the back doors...so he might see MORE dogs that way. :|
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 4:33 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:
Having been out the back door of many vet clinics, it might be worse, since they often have the cages back there by the back doors...so he might see MORE dogs that way. :|


Yup... that's where the boarded dogs stay, and play... lol

I am mad at myself for being so "suspicious" of Sepp now, after that stupid eval. :nono:
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Postby maberi » January 4th, 2010, 4:47 pm

amazincc wrote:I am mad at myself for being so "suspicious" of Sepp now, after that stupid eval. :nono:


Don't be

There is a huge misconception from most people (myself included a few years back) that anyone with the dog trainer/behaviorist title automatically knows what the hell they are talking about.

I've found that actually finding a good trainer that I trust and would work with, is often much harder than fixing the actual problem
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Postby Pit♥bull » January 4th, 2010, 4:49 pm

maberi wrote:I've found that actually finding a good trainer that I trust and would work with, is often much harder than fixing the actual problem
I can vouch for that :)
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 4:58 pm

Well... as long as I'm in good company then... :wink: :dance:

I'm gonna stop stressing so much. Sepp is still the sweet boy he has always been, and I can handle a DA dog! At least that's what I'll tell myself ad nauseum... lol
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Postby LMM » January 4th, 2010, 5:16 pm

I was also going to suggest finding out if there is a time that is less busy or waiting outside until you guys can go into the exam room. You've gotten some great suggestions here!
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 5:24 pm

LMM wrote: You've gotten some great suggestions here!


I know it. That's why I'm never afraid to make an ass out of myself by posting weird stuff. :oops: :giggle:
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Postby Ino » January 4th, 2010, 6:34 pm

I had an issue at a vets office the other day that was less than pleasant. Ino went up to a young boy who was near the front counter when we first walked in and smelled him and all was fine. A few min later, we sat down and the kid was playing with a strange toy and Ino started barking and growling and pulling on the leash really hard. I honestly do not think his behavior was directed at the kid- I strongly believe it was the toy; however, the kid went into their dogs room and the mom shut the door- they were horrified and because of his breed, it was not well recieved. My vets techs did not get upset about it but I did because I saw the look the family members gave us. The one good thing is they have an area with a barrier so we went behind that so he could not see everything that was going on. Our holistic vet on the other hand knows her waiting room is small and I have never spent time in a waiting room. They gap appointments out appropriately so that your pet's room is available so you go straight in there. I think trying to get them to set you up with an appointment where a room is open when you get there will be beneficial for both your stress and his. I agree with the comment about the fact that not all dog trainers know what they are doing/talking about. I got a job working for a trainer who had a lot of "certifications" and ran a doggy boot camp. Honestly, by day 2, I was horrified and quit. People were not getting results based on good training- they paid a lot of money to have their dogs mistreated and the dogs had very few sessions, which might have been a good thing(he did 2 sessions over the 2 days I worked there instead of the 15 a day he guranteed). After one session went too long on a dog he had me work with, the dog became defiant and totally refused to sit. The "trainer" took over and the dog refused to sit for him also, so he spun the dog around by the leash (totally airborne) with a choker on 3 times to "redirect" him. The dog spent most of the day (aside from a few rushed potty breaks) in a crate that was like a fire safe with a few holes drilled in it).Between that and him telling me I had to use his techniques on Ino because if I did not then I dont believe in what we do- I quit. I can not knee my boy for coming up to me when I did not ask him to and I won't kick him if he is in my way when I walk. He had certifications, but I doubt a lot of his methods are what they teach in the schools he went to. Needless to say, it taught me that I will never send my dog off to a camp to be trained by someone else- I will be there with him and I will not trust just anyone to watch my dog for me. Also, not every trainer is the same. Most of what he did was not in his brochure!
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Postby amazincc » January 4th, 2010, 6:52 pm

Ino wrote: I can not knee my boy for coming up to me when I did not ask him to and I won't kick him if he is in my way when I walk.


Good Lord... seriously??? :shock: :bs:

That is just sad. :(
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