Advice re. Muzzling(9 Posts)
Hi, my rescue dog is wonderful in all aspects but absolutely loathes going to the vet. The first time we went I had no idea she would be so terrified so didn't prepare at all, she just went berzerk in the vet's office, tried to bite her etc and had to be muzzled. She weed in her distress and it took me ages to get near her to get the muzzle off again (which by this time was dangling around her neck). I have no idea about her background, she doesn't display aggression towards anyone other than the vet. To try and get over this I have taken her to the vets on several occasions when she needs nothing done, just so she gets used to the place and doesn't associate it with fear - the staff try to give her biscuits etc but she has a long memory and hides under the chairs. The vet said she would probably need to be tranquilised if she needs treatment. Luckily she has never been ill but she is due for her jabs in March, so I have been trying to get her used to the muzzle for a couple of weeks. It's a basket type and I have been smearing pate over the front. Initially she did really well, she progressed from sniffing to licking, and then to putting her nose in it and actually allowing me to fasten the strap. However I made the mistake of keeping it loose and when I tried to leave it on for more than a couple of seconds she panicked and got herself in a right tangle (and managed to get the muzzle off). Back to hiding under table whenever she sees it now. She hasn't actually bitten me but she makes it very clear that she is distressed and tempted to do so! Do you think I should persevere or get some sort of sedative from the vet the night before? Really not sure what to do for the best. Hoping someone with more experience will give me some advice.
Would the vet be prepared to do a home visit? Sorry, no other ideas...
I don't think so, not just for a vaccination . I've still got a bit of time left, will keep on trying. I wondered if the "Baskerville" muzzles are better than the bog standard little plastic cage one I got from the vet...
We had a GSD who only liked being touched/ fussed over/stroked etc by immediate family members and she had a muzzle for the vets, it was one on the nylon fabric ones.
Our male boxer has a made to measure muzzle from a company called K9 muzzles (it came from America I think)
Baskerville's are better, but, really if it's only for vet's visits - any muzzle at all is fine as it's only for short periods of time.
Please do not use the nylon muzzles especially on a reactive nervous dog. They do not allow the dogs to open their mouths and so hinder breathing and panting. Imagine the scenario you are anxious and frightened and then you are finding it hard to breathe you are getting all hot as you cannot pant and you will feel 100 times more anxious.
What you need to do is to go slowly with the muzzle - the following video show a dog that was just the same as your dog but over time has learnt to love placing his head into the muzzle.
The training here was more than just getting used to the muzzle it was introducing a calm emotion when being near the muzzle.
So get a new muzzle and just place in the room with the dog feed treats and treats. Then remove muzzle and stop feeding treats. If the dog is happy with the muzzle in the room do this several times a day, Gradually and I mean gradually move the muzzle nearer, not close to the dog at any time. This will take months.
In the mean time teach the dog to put his head onto your hand or a chin rest
chin rest They very action of a chin rest is relaxing.
Over time you will be able to put the chin rest into the muzzle BUT you are looking at this being months and months away.
I would actually not take my dogs for his injections for several months until he is happier with the vets.
When you get the dog to the stage of the dog in the first video you must then associate the muzzle with great times so wear the muzzle and maybe get the dog to push footballs, or to go for a walk - something it loves, the muzzle must be used in positive situations more than it is used in negative situation by about 50 fold.
Brilliant, thanks for all the advice. I will persevere, but unfortunately can't put off the vaccinations for months, so perhaps will ask if she can have a mild sedative just for this year and then keep on working on the muzzle. I tried again this evening and did manage to get her to eat cheese out of it - didn't try strapping it on at all - will do another week of cheese/pate eating and then try again. Slow but sure!
Is it the vet clinic she objects to rather than the vet? I've vaccinated dogs in car boots before if they get very stressed in the clinic. Also check with your surgery but if it's a standard booster vacc you should be able to delay it by 1-2 months
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