a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Problem Dog Children's Visit to the Vet

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Problem Dog Children's Visit to the Vet

SUMMARY: Chip was mostly good, then bad, then a little good. Luke was mostly ok, then scared, then crazy, then good.

Both dogs were perfectly happy to walk from the car into the vet's office and put their feet up onto the receptionist's wall to get some treats.  Luke was a bit nervous, leaping from floor to bench to floor to another bench (yes, pet-proof seating of course).  Chip seemed fine.

Both dogs were perfectly happy to greet the vet and get treats.

Chip wasn't thrilled about getting onto the exam table, but did it with a little collar tugging, and stood there quite calmly during the whole exam. Although you could tell that inner turmoil existed from the size of his pupils.

Luke became agitated and a bit fearful when the table for Chip raised and then later lowered.

When it was his turn, I had to lift him onto the table and hold him there firmly while he went into full "this is a slippery surface on a scary thing that I don't understand" mode.  He did put up with the exam and shots once we convinced him to stand up on his own (rather than leaning or the toes-extended, legs-askew thing).

Vet said that Chip's heartbeat, despite his adrenaline factor, was 90/minute, which is nicely healthy for a stressed dog.  Luke, however quietly he was standing, shook all through the short exam, and his heart raced at 150ish, so  he was, as usual, wayyyy overstimulated by what he was experiencing.

The vet takes the dog "into the back" for the blood draws for heartworm tests. He said that both dogs sat, not the first time, but when he used his big, commanding, deep voice.  Other than that, Luke was apparently a wild thing but entertaining to some degree back there.  Chip, however, snarled and showed his teeth when they tried to hold him for the draw, so he had to wear a muzzle briefly.

I take a long time to figure things out.  Chip is very sensitive about his personal space being invaded.  He loves to be petted, but if I move slightly into where any part of his body is resting, he jumps up and moves away.  If Luke does so, Chip jumps up with a low-key snarl and open mouth towards Luke, sometimes putting his mouth on him.  No bites.

But the one time we tried to do a restrained recall with him at the few agility-basics classes that we attended, as I walked away, he turned and snapped at the trainer holding him.  She didn't say anything else, just that he was clearly scared and worried and we'd find some other way to do the same thing.

So now he's threatened to do the same thing with the vet, so ugh another thing to figure out how to work on.  So odd from a dog who'll lie there and let you pet him all over.

Still--successful checkup and shots for everyone and hopefully we won't have to go in again until the next bordetella shot.

Then we all went for a short stroll around a nearby park.

Camera batter expired, so no photos at all, darnit!


  1. Well...at least it's over for a bit. They always tell me Katie was very good when they take her back for the blood draw. Now I wonder if they muzzle her. I hope not. I guess I should ask.

    1. As far as I know, of all my dogs, these are the first that the vet has felt that he needed some protection from. I might go get a muzzle and just do a lot of rewarding for them having it around their face, and touching, and almost on, and them moving towards it themselves, etc. etc.

    2. Oh, I still have the Gentle Leaders; that might do the job for practice.