My 9 month old Rottweiler recently started limping on his front leg, and has no outward signs of injury, so we took him to a vet. Now, this is the first time we've taken him since he got his last set of shots until he's a year old, so he was pretty excited. He was panting a lot, and pacing around, but not acting aggressive toward anyone. And then when the veterinarian wanted to listen to his heartbeat, she asked her assistant to hold his mouth shut. Now normally, Aries doesn't show any signs of aggression. I mean, if he squeaks a squeaky toy he'll let go because he thinks he hurt it. But when the vet tech tried to hold his mouth shut, he lifted his lip and growled at her. Immediately the vet said to get a muzzle, and started berating us, telling us that our dog "thinks he's boss" and could turn on us when he gets older. But I can't help but think that he just couldn't breathe! He was panting extremely hard when this all took place. So I was just wondering if anyone else had a similar experience? We're going to get a head harness and a muzzle to get him used to have things around his mouth, but any other advice would be appreciated.
Well you shouldn't let the vet berate you in any form. You are there for a service, not a lecture. I would look for a new vet. Growling and lip curling, i wouldn't stress over it. The dog didn't want his mouth held shut.
Of course on the surface it sounds bad and doesn't reflect well on your vet... however, to be honest, a muzzle is a good idea with a vet. If a dog is nervous and upset and responds aggressively, the result is a lesson in aggression and a black mark on your dog's record with the vet and with the state if the vet reports the dog bite. (I think in some states with 2 reported bites they put the dogs down regardless of circumstance.) If a dog is wearing a muzzle you avoid that possibility and so if a dog growls I would go that route... better safe than sorry. Speaking about the vet - some vets should just treat small pets, they don't have the confidence to handle larger animals and that is the factor that influences how a dog reacts to them. If she had the dog's mouth held from the beginning of the examination it's a negative statement about her confidence.
Our rescue girl Rosie has been through a lot of training to work on her fears. She is now pretty calm unless the person is tense or stressed. I think she picks up on their energy and gets scared and growls. Our last vet visit she was very relaxed in the waiting room and went up to the tech for treats and petting. Then the behind schedule vet (stressed about her previous patient) came in and she growled. Even I could feel the negative energy the vet was giving off. We always take a muzzle and at first signs of staring, tense mouth or growl(sometimes happens very fast) we put on the muzzle and then stay at her head petting and talking softly. She will just stare into our eyes like we are her lifeline and lets them examine her. We practice with the muzzle occasionally to make sure she is comfortable with it. I do not see it as a dog thinking they are boss. I see it as a dog that is not comfortable and is trying to let us know in the only way they can. Watch next time for earlier signs like a fixed stare or a tightening of the mouth and maybe you can intervene before the growl. We try,but not always able to do that Many vets and techs are just not comfortable with the breed - our vet was bitten by a rottweiler but luckily does not seem to hold it against the breed and is usually very good with ours.
Few weeks ago i experienced something similar. My boy had a little cut on his leg and had a lot of discharge coming from his eyes...and apart from that one of his eye was little bit red. I took him to the vet (the vet we usually visit) and i had the muzzle on my boy before we got to the vet.
Before the vet even examined he asked me if my dog is aggressive now since he 13 months old. When he started examining, he started with a torch on his face. And my dog had the same reaction he growled at the vet. I scolded my boy and he laid back for a while. And after we were done i told my boy to apologise the vet by shaking hand...which he complied straight away.