Bad vet visit: training sugestions?
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    Starting new thread for this one, since unlike the other bad vet threads, I don't think the vet really did anything wrong. Ajax just had a melt down.

    I dropped Ajax off at the vet yesterday morning on the way to work. He was going in for X-rays. Well when I got there, they had had an emergency case that just came and they weren't sure if they were going to be able to see him, but they said I could drop him off and they would see if they could fit him in. We arrived at the same time as another dog who came wearing a thunder shirt and pre-muzzled who was having a complete melt down in the reception area. Ajax, while not completely relaxed, he had some some hair up but his tail was still up and ears forward, was looking good compared to the other dog.

    He's never had a problem at the vets before (with me or my husband there or the one other time he was dropped off). If fact he seems to like them. But this time, the receptionist reported that he turned into another dog as soon the door closed behind me. That he became very fearful and became aggressive when they tried to put him in the kennel. Then they tried to muzzle him and that didn't go well. He's never been muzzled before and he would not allow them to muzzle him though they did eventually get him in the kennel.

    When I arrived to pick him up, they asked me to retrieve him from the back room kennel myself (apparently he was growling at the receptionist whenever she went into the room). After I got him, while on edge, didn't show any aggression to the receptionist then. I borrowed the muzzle and I put it on him half a dozen times whiles stuffing him full of treats then the reception put it on him with out issue and then he took a treat from her. We had to reschedule the X-rays and they asked that when we bring him back if myself or my husband could stay with him for the appointment or at least until they sedate him (I don' think they were planning on sedating him today).

    Anyway, so I'm going to order a muzzle to condition him with it before the next visit and I had a friend over today and I gave his leash over to her and then walked away while she fed him treats and I am planning to take him to the vet's a few times just to walk around. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
  • Sounds like all the activity at the vets caused him to go well over his threshold. Sorry that happened to you guys!

    The Muzzle Up Project has some great information and training videos on their website: https://muzzleupproject.com/muzzle-training/

    Good luck with him! :)
    Apricity Kennel Hokkaido Ken
    ~ Located in Northern Virginia, USA ~
    www.apricityhokkaido.weebly.com
    www.facebook.com/apricityhokkaido
    apricityhokkaido@gmail.com
  • As far as training & socialization goes from here on out. When out training with him (at the vets office, in crowds, around strangers, etc), it is important to get into the habit of carefully watching his body language. I’ve found that it helps tremendously to write down in a training log exactly how your dog reacts to different stimuli. This way, you will be able to clearly see where your dog is solid, where your dog is not, where you are improving, and where you need more work.

    Below are signs of minor stress signals for dogs. These are the signals which are almost always overlooked… when key stress signals are overlooked by the handler, it can lead to much greater problems.

    • Lip licking when no food is present
    • Yawning when he didn’t just wake up
    • Rapid sniffing of the air or ground
    • Stiff movement or tense muscles
    • Slowed movement or a laggy heel
    • Lowered tail
    • Hyper vigilance (rapidly moving eyes trying to scan the environment)
    • Hardened facial features
    • Dog stops taking treats/food
    • Dog starts taking treats in a more hard/bitey manor
    • Hard eyes (fast/sharp blinking)
    • Weight shift changes
    • Panting when it’s not hot out
    • Slightly roached (curved) back
    • Ears back
    • Not responding to handler’s commands
    • Looking away from handler
    • Whiney and uneasy
    • Nibbling on treats but not actually eating them
    • Leaning on the handler
    • Scratching themselves
    • Now here are some major stress signals for dogs.

    Here are some major stress signals. If your dog is experiencing any of these while out training, it is important you remove him from the situation ASAP, as well as maybe re-think the training plan moving forward. Many of these signals will occur just shortly before a complete panic and/or bite.

    • Tightly tucked tail
    • Whale eye (dog’s eyes go wide and you can see the white rim around them)
    • Pulling towards an exit
    • Pulling away from the handler
    • Spinning on the leash
    • Not responding to the handler’s commands
    • Not responding to the handler’s voice
    • Shaking
    • Urinating
    • Low/tucked body position with a roached (curved) back
    • Sweaty paws
    • Whining
    • Heavy breathing when it’s not hot out
    • Teeth chattering
    • Tense lips and incisors (front teeth) showing while licking at the air
    • Laying down on the ground with their chin down and not wanting to move

    It’s important to understand where his (the dog's) threshold lies in terms of his triggers. A dog who is below his threshold is aware of the trigger, but still remains comfortable, in control of himself, and will still respond readily to your commands. A dog who is at his threshold is very aware of the trigger and she is worried about it. This is were you usually start seeing stress signals, and the dog is becoming less responsive. A dog who is over his threshold is actively responding to the trigger, and she is no longer able to think or function properly. It is important when training to always keep our dogs below their threshold.

    When training, watch the dog carefully and try to answer these questions:
    • What SPECIFICALLY is triggering my dog? (i.e. men with facial hair)
    • What reinforcers does my dog really like, and find high in value? (i.e. chicken, bacon, and pupperoni)
    • What reinforcers does my dog like, but find low in value? (i.e. milk bones, baby carrots, and cheese sticks)
    • What minor stress signs does my dog exhibit when he starts to become nervous and aware of a trigger? (i.e. tail drops, muscles stiffen, ears fold back)
    • What major stress signs does my dog exhibit when forced to interact with a trigger? (i.e. rears up on his back legs trying to get away, growls, doesn’t listen to my commands, may bite)
    • At what distance does the dog first become uncomfortable with the trigger? (i.e. about 40 feet away)
    • At what distance does the dog start to actively react to the trigger? (i.e. about 15 feet away)
    • How can I control trigger exposure? (i.e. controlling our approach to the man, and controlling the man's approach to us)

    This will take work. Especially for a fearful dog with many triggers. However, it is important to understand exactly how he’s thinking and reacting to different situations so you can better create a training plan to help him.

    NOTE: DO NOT DO THIS ALL IN ONE DAY, OR EVEN ONE WEEK! This will take time. Please do not try and rush your dog, or your training plan can backfire.

    Now that you understand details of his triggers, you can begin desensitizing and counter conditioning. You need to break things down into steps… and yes, it will take a while lol.

    For example, your training plan could look like this:

    • Dog sees man with a beard, is asked to sit/touch/down/etc and offered a low value reinforcer. Dog is asked to heel one step forward, and is rewarded with a high value reinforcer.
    • Dog sees man with a beard, is asked to step one step forward and sit/touch/down/etc while offered a low value reinforcer. Dog is asked to heel 6 feet forward, and is rewarded with a high value reinforcer.
    • Dog sees man with a beard, is asked to heel 6 feet forward and sit/touch/down/etc while offered a low value reinforcer.
    • Dog is asked to heel 6 more feet forward and is rewarded with a high value reinforcer.
    • Dog sees man with a beard, is asked to heel 12 feet forward and sit/touch/down/etc while offered a low value reinforcer. Dog is asked to heel 6 more feet forward and is rewarded with a high value reinforcer.

    The man should not call to the dog, try to pet the dog, or even offer the dog food. ("No Touch. No Talk. No Eye Contact." -- about the ONLY phrase I will ever repeat from Caesar Milan lol). Repeat all of these steps at your dog’s own pace until you are able to able to approach the trigger with your dog displaying no stress signals. Do not advance more than 6 feet a time. Otherwise, you run the risk of scaring the dog and having to start over.

    Once the dog is able to approach the man:
    • Man faces dog, dog is given a high value treat
    • Man faces dog, dog is given low value treat. Man walks one step towards dog, dog is given low value treat
    • Man faces dog and takes one step towards dog, dog is given a low value treat. Man reaches hand out slightly towards dog, dog is given high value treat.
    • Man faces dog, takes one step forward, reaches his hand out slightly, dog is given low value treat. Man lets dog sniff his hand, dog is given high value treat.
    • Repeat until he is able to pet the dog, and reward with a high value reinforcer for every new step until the dog is comfortably able to be pet anywhere by the man.
    • Once he's okay with the petting, move in small steps to allowing the man to examine his ears, mouth, paws, etc like a vet would.


    Everything you do should be kept under the dog's threshold at all times :) If you have to move step, by step, by ever-so-slow step, then do that. Repeat steps as necessary, and be prepared to alter the training plan based upon your dog’s individual needs.

    Set a training plan for one trigger at a time. Be patient, be happy, and be positive. Nobody likes to be scared, and as annoying as he may be… your dog certainty isn’t doing this on purpose. And he's relying on you as his handler to help him get though it.

    Good luck!
    Apricity Kennel Hokkaido Ken
    ~ Located in Northern Virginia, USA ~
    www.apricityhokkaido.weebly.com
    www.facebook.com/apricityhokkaido
    apricityhokkaido@gmail.com
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    this sounds more like once you left he became uncomfortable with the situation. i would write it off as a one time thing and accompany him when going to the vet. a lot of nihon ken do not like to be handled by strange people and are very attached to their person.
    image

    Tain, Nare the GSD/Husky, and Tavi the Kaigirl!
  • KajaKaja
    Posts: 207
    this sounds more like once you left he became uncomfortable with the situation. i would write it off as a one time thing and accompany him when going to the vet. a lot of nihon ken do not like to be handled by strange people and are very attached to their person.

    Exactly this. My shikoku is what I like to call "cautiously friendly" with strangers... and I'd prefer to be with her at all appointments just so she is more at ease.

    Also LexterGrace's reply can be useful in so many situations in addition to this one, great post~
  • TRDmomTRDmom
    Posts: 77
    Personally, I don't leave my primitive breed dogs with the vet (or anyone). They are emotionally sensitive and it would only create stress like your pup experienced. As others said, its best to stay with them in potentially stressful situations. I think most primitive breeds need their person or home to feel safe--removed from their person/people and home environment causes stress until they return to them. I've even had non-primitive, highly people-friendly dogs who emotionally shut down at the vet's office (and I wouldn't be there without them).

    I have trained dogs to accept a muzzle by giving treats when the muzzle came out (of the cabinet). I also attribute the "training" to my dog having enough trust in me to not hurt them. I think a good bond goes a long way. Good luck with your future vet visits!
  • SixSix
    Posts: 88
    I am the same as those above with my dogs. Although I've thankfully not had to leave my Hokkaido with the vet yet, my Inuits suffer with separation anxiety and I would rather stay with them than put them through that stress. I have an understanding with my vet that I will stay with any of my dogs until they are completely under and I will take them home as soon as they are awake enough to be released...they are not aggressive with their anxiety, they just stress out, make themselves frantic and make a hell of a lot of noise.

    Is this something you can do with your vet? I also find it helps to make some small visits where nothing bad happens, just so they don't associate the vet with bad things. My female Inuit can be quite nervous, so whenever any of my other dogs has to go to the vet I always take her in as well just so she can refamiliarise herself with the surroundings and the people so it's not all big and scary and people coming to jab her with things all the time...that always works best if you're accompanied by a calm and relaxed dog though.
    image

    Owned by 3 Northern Inuits, 1 GSDx and 1 Hokkaido.
  • GrayJJGrayJJ
    Posts: 271
    I'm sure hearing the other anxious dog just made things worse, in addition to being nervous and alone after you left. Shikoku's can be sensitive, and I don't think Ajax was being aggressive, just acting out due to stress/nerves.

    I echo above, maybe don't leave him alone there again. Definitely swing by the vet and visit, lots of treats, let the staff give him treats as well.

    If they require you to bring a muzzle from this point forward, start with shorter time frames at home, treats, and slowly increase the time until he gets used to it.
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I haven't had time to write an update. So we ended up getting him a basket muzzle and conditioning it with treats.

    That was a good thing since the vet staff would only handle him if he was muzzled. He growled at the staff a few times and was very stiff, but wasn't lashing out. The vet and assisstant had a bit of trouble hitting the vein when putting him under. They each tried one leg before switching legs and then after they got it, it slipped out twice. Ajax wasn't exactly cooperating even with both me and my husband holding him.

    The goods new is that his hips and knees look fine and his growth plates are closed so the vet has cleared him running and jumping. The vet also checked for CCL tears. I was sure the vet was going to find something more with the ridiculous way he runs (even my father commented on it when my parents visited) and the 3 legged swimming. I'll post the pictures if I can get them. I was mostly just happy the Ajax is fine, abet weird.
  • omgtainomgtain
    Posts: 240
    how old is he? who is he out of (would you mind sharing his pedigree)?
    image

    Tain, Nare the GSD/Husky, and Tavi the Kaigirl!
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    He's one year old. I don't mind sharing, but the kanji on his pedigree may be a little much for me to handle. I couldn't find either of his parents on the Shikoku pedigree website. I guess that I might have some work ahead of me when I finally add him in. So do these two look familiar to anyone? I wonder how closely he's related to the dogs in North America.

    Sire
    瑞桜岳号
    Kennel: 酒匂郷
    H23-751

    Dam
    冬美号
    Kennel: Yamabiko (thank god for hiragana)
    H26-383

    The vet said there was looked to be a little extra joint effusion in the knee that could indication a minor sprain. I wish that he would stop hitting his right knee on things (or at least hit his left knee once in a while. His x-rays (both knee and hips) look good. I posted his hip x-rays to Kaiju's Hips thread since they seem to share a lot a similarities.
  • CrispyCrispy
    Posts: 1833
    I think this is sire:
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=64228

    I don’t know that the dam is in there. I think that's read Fuyumi? I dunno. But there are two female "-mi go yamabiko", assuming that is how that second character is being read, and they both share the same parents...
    Akiyama no Roushya || 秋山の狼室 || www.kishu-ken.org
  • PoetikDragonPoetikDragon
    Posts: 2881
    I would also read it as "Fuyumi"
    「怪獣荘秋田犬」Kaiju Kennels Japanese Akita and Hokkaido, Claire Matthews
    http://www.facebook.com/PoetikDragon
    http://www.facebook.com/KaijuKennels
    http://www.kaijukennels.com
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    I think this is sire:
    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=64228

    I don’t know that the dam is in there. I think that's read Fuyumi? I dunno. But there are two female "-mi go yamabiko", assuming that is how that second character is being read, and they both share the same parents...


    Yep that's him. His birthday and registration number matches what it says on the pedigree. Good find.

    As for the females, their parents don't match Ajax's grandparents. I can say that his mother's color is listed as black and his maternal line is a hunting line. TheWalrus has a video on his blog showing his grandmother and uncle working a boar. They are the two in the B/T Shikoku baying boar video. Unfortunately the video ends badly. I believe his grandmother ended up with a broken foot.

    http://nihonken.blogspot.jp/2011/09/training.html





  • aykayk
    Posts: 1979
    Possible littermate to his dam?

    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=64127

    If so, on his mother's side, he has an aunt and an uncle in the U.S. and a black/tan aunt in the Netherlands.

    On Ajax's father's side, his paternal great-grandfather, Kotofusa Go Nidai Iwahori Sou, has two daughters with the Canadian breeder Akashima. They've produced several litters in Canada.
    Post edited by ayk at 2017-03-12 00:54:49
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    But there are two female "-mi go yamabiko", assuming that is how that second character is being read, and they both share the same parents...


    Possible littermate to his dam?

    http://www.shikoku-pedigree.com/details.php?id=64127

    If so, on his mother's side, he has an aunt and an uncle in the U.S. and a black/tan aunt in the Netherlands.


    Crispy and ayk: Thanks! You're right. I missed the registration numbers the first time I looked and my kanji reading sucks. Their parents are his material grandparents. Looks like it's going to be relatively easy to add him to the database. The only new dogs that I have to add are him and his mother. It's neat to see who he's related to.
    Post edited by Ajax at 2017-03-12 04:22:41
  • AjaxAjax
    Posts: 114
    So I may be switching vet offices. Took Ajax in to the local animal hospital because he was having bloody diarrhea and throwing up. (He's fine BTW, fecal test came out neg for everything, got an anti-nausea shot, diarrhea pills, and antibiotic pills. 24 hour stomach bug or ate something weird maybe??) Took the basket muzzle with me. Didn't need it. He was fine! He acted like he did at the vets prior to the last two trips. Thankfully dogs don't generalize well. :)

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

In this Discussion