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Re: fear nipping

Posted by:  Leslie Hemsing
Posted on:  November 13, 2002 at 00:20:32

In Reply to: fear nipping
Posted by:  Kathy Hawley
Posted on:  November 12, 2002 at 10:20:52


: I have a problem with my 3 yr old male jr. He is sweet and loving, until he needs something done to him medically. Then he does this thing, bares his teeth and nips at your fingers, and yips, and then runs away and hides. It 1st started with having his ears checked at the vets office, he could do all other parts of the exam fine, no problem, then came the scope, and Patches flipped out, so of course we muzzled him till he was done. Next visit it was the shot that triggered it. A few weeks ago, it was liquip meds I was trying to give him, and today it was a pill. He is a sweet dog, and we do all the trials with him, a good agility dog, etc. I want to help him get over this, as we won't be able to help him when he is sick if he continues this!
: What can I do for this problem? Any help will be greatly apprectiated.
: Thank you, Kathy


Dear Kathy,

Dogs are capable of associating people/places/things with unpleasant or uncomfortable experiences; JRTs seem to be particularly adept at remembering "bad" things when it only happened once. Teaching Patches to not freak out every time he goes to the vet or every time you have to medicate him will require that you be both patient and creative.

Take him to the vet clinic for no reason. Start these visits before or after hours so he's not stimulated by the other pets/people in the waiting room. Bring some of his favorite treats so the clinic folks can reward him for sitting, etc. Keep the visits short and always reward him for good behavior. Continue the visits during office hours and ask your vet to participate. Five minutes, once a week or so, will help him understand that going to/being at the clinic can be a pleasant experience.

Cheese and peanut butter are effective "pill hiders" but only if Patches gets one or the other WITHOUT the pill first, or after; think random. Same goes with liquid meds though it's a bit more difficult to apply; I've found that offering yogurt or baby applesauce on a spoon can "fool" a dog into lapping up the liquid meds. Again, random offerings seem to work.

Please be advised that some medications shouldn't be taken with food, or a particular type of food. Check with your vet before you try any of the above suggestions for giving your little guy his meds.