Big-dog-little-handler: who’s afraid of the big bad vets

Duke is a big, strong looking dog. But he is an inconsolable wimp from time to time. We have built his exposure to new things and have got him very much use to things he once found terrifying. We are getting there. But there is one big bad fear Duke can’t conquer… the Vets.

In general Duke it’s a fan of people he doesn’t know touching him and when we are at the vets he is even less of a fan.

When he hurt his paw 5 months ago the vet couldn’t even look at him let alone his paw without Duke howling at the top of voice. What a silly hound I know! But as much as we giggle and joke the Vets is a truly terrifying experience for our poor pup. Why? Objects. He doesn’t like people putting objects near him; we don’t know his full history so we aren’t really sure where this fear comes from but he doesn’t like objects in people’s hands and likes it even less if they are moving towards him.

The object Duke was afraid of Monday ? His booster vaccination. So the vet and I ended up having to pin my poor hound down…. cue epic battle. Duke ended up having to be muzzled which in the struggle he knocked it off….the poor pup really did have an awful time of it. He head butted me, the vet and everything in the consulting room. He howled, cried and whinnied. But the vet was great and eventually managed to jab him .

I’ve never seen my pup so terrified. It was actually a pretty heart breaking experience so we want to get him a little bit more comfortable with the vet. I also don’t want him to be sedated every time he needs some treatment.

So what’s the plan to reduce Dukes vet anxiety: weekly vet visits. Make the vets a place of treats and hopefully a place he can associate with good things not with strangers stabbing him. Hopefully the vet will end up not being a stranger so he will be a bit more trusting. As things go he isn’t the most trusting of hounds he’s naturally suspicious so I don’t think he will ever like the vet but if he can be unsuspecting of the vaccination he’s about to receive I’ll be grateful!

Any tips for making the vets less traumatic???

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