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Discussion Starter #1
Prior to the pandemic, I would often take Noodle to the vet just for treats and cuddles. He loved it there. But right when this all happened, he got an ear infection, an eye infection, and needed a nail trim. He had a couple vet appointments without me present pursuant to the new protocols. Our vets are great. But he is still terrified.
I’ve trying to walk by and give him treats outside of the vet but he won’t even take chicken.
Should I start treating a block away? Something else? And how do I keep it all from being undone when he has to have his nails trimmed again. I have been trying to desensitize him at home but it is not going that well.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right now he just cowers when we are near the vet. I think he would eventually start being nippy to the poor vet tech trying to cut his nails.
I did just take him to the vet for a drive by (walk by) we watched a happy dog go in. Maybe when it isn’t raining we can do more of that.
 

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Since you're able, I think your idea to treat him from a distance, while he's still under threshold, is a good idea. If he refuses treats for more than 30 seconds or so, or snatches them frantically, you'll know you've gone too far. You could also try just happily walking by sometimes, treating and keeping your forward momentum. But I worry that all this will be undone as soon as he has another negative experience. :(

Have you been working on desensitizing him to nail clipping at home? You don't need to actually clip his nails, just examine them, maybe tap them with something. Keep it low pressure, almost like an extension of petting, and offer up lots of treats. I try to do this with Peggy when we're relaxing on the couch, but as she gets older, I can sense her reluctance growing.
 

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I would work on fear of nail trimmings instead of fear of vet. It's hard to counter condition against bad regular experiences.

We clip all our dogs nails at home. I would hate to have a vet or groomer do it, as they have to cut more than I do at a time(since it's meant to last weeks rather than a week), and likely cutting a bit uncomfortably close on a nail or two.

The first time with a dog who dislikes it, we have someone with a handful of treats in one hand petting the dog/holding with the other. Then the other person does a tiny (1 mm or two) snip. Immediate treat the moment of the snip.

Then the next nail. If it's really stressful, maybe only one or two nails at a time then stop, and try again the next day. Or one or two nails per foot, per day.

Over time, the dog expects the treat, and I can do it by myself, with a handful of treats next to the dog, and a slight delay. Overtime, you can work to one treat per foot. My dog and our old dog I can clip with her lying down on the couch, relaxed. Moms dog I still need to put on the table. I prefer to do a few mm at a time every 3 days instead of cutting close to the quick, as even getting near the quick is uncomfortable.
 

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I second working on nail trimming at home. Are you sure the vets didn't actually quick his nails? Black nails are hard and vet techs frequently do not know how to do them properly. It is much easier to do 2 mm off every week. If he has been hurt it would do more to explain his fear.
 

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You could try clipping nails at home with some peanut butter on the wall while you clip a couple nail. Maybe in the bathtub for easy cleanup.


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