conversation with a vet this past weekend

General discussions about Chow Chows.

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Victory
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Postby Victory » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:56 pm

TJordan wrote:How do you get them use to being touched. I was told by trainers that if he doesn't want people touching him I shouldn't allow it. How do you go about doing it without forcing them. Since Butters doesn't want any stranger touching him wouldn't it all be forced??


I don't know, I just do it. I know I have a very dominant personality, it's very natural for me I tend to watch myself because I can take control of a situation with other humans as well, so I try to ease off, (unless of course no one can come up with a decision then I just DO it) I think it counts with my chows as well. I've noticed that people with dominant but kind personalities, (in other words those who are confident enough in themselves to not have to prove it all the time) have no problem being natural alpha's. A natural alpha is a person who simply expects obeidence because the idea of a dog or a child disobeying is really not something we contemplate. You may have to use a few whiles to get it, but my dogs allow me to do what I want because I expect them too.

That's probably the worst explanation ever, but it's the best I've been able to come up with. Judy says, "because you are the mommy person" and that's pretty good too. Most moms expect their children to obey them, and even though they know they will sometimes have to work for that obeidence they will get it eventually. If they have any doubts of that they are careful not to show it.

Patience, Presistence and Consistency. The three rules to handleing any animal, add to that firmness, fairness and faith in yourself, combine those six things with a sense of humor and you'll be able to get them to accept anything. Someone here recently suggested dressing them up, I'd say that would be a good thing. You touch them every where, and it's so silly you can't get tensed up about it. Grooming them yourself, and that includes, eyes, ears, nails, bottoms and tummy's.

Is it always easy? No. Especially when you have multiple dogs or chows, they make each other nervous or want the attention they see the other one getting. But that doesn't mean you should quit or give up, just take it slowly.

I start with paws off the bat here in Minneapols, because the deicing stuff they put on the sidewalks during the winter, it gets between their toes, and then when they step back in the snow hard balls of ice form from the water. It is imperative for their health that I can lift their feet and remove the ice on our walks and they have to do it without getting so nervous they make me fall.

Sometimes I know people are afraid to do something that might harm their dog, like examining ears or cleaning eyes. If you are nervous, ask your vet to show you how. I watched my vets trim toenails to learn how much to do, I bought a GOOD pair of nail clippers and I'm slow when I do it so I don't trim off too much. So far so good.

And as far as getting them to accpet being touched by strangers, (your question) have trusted strangers, (by trusted I mean people you know and trust and who know and are good with dogs), offer him a treat or two, and when he accepts the treat and a pat, both of you praise the crap out of him. I taught Ming to accept interaction with children, simply by praising him when he would allow them to pet him. It got to the point he would seek THEM out, just to get me to tell him what a "good-boy" he was.
Firesong is shy, doesn't really like most strangers, but by me simply allowing people to try and letting her back away when she wants to, she's started going up to some folks on her own.
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Postby Jeff&Peks » Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:27 pm

Consistency is the magic word however most on here that say Oh my Chow loves the vet and we never have a problem have been seeing the same vets from day one some on here especially Pekoe would be lucky if they saw the same Vet for more then one visit. In the past 10 years Pekoe has lived in many differant cities and state's. I always say the vet in SF was the best, what it was is that's the only Vet Pekoe saw with consistency. Pekoe has had to spend most of her life having to visit many Vets never getting use to just one. Some she like's most she didn't but with all Pekoe has had done to her obviously Someone has been able to treat her, If its an aggressive issue or lack of training then why If one Vet can handle her with out a muzzle and sedation then why can't the others, If one vet can stick their hands and face down her throat why can't an eye vet just look at her eye.

Sorry folks, its not the Chow its not the owner Its the Vet/Groomer/person handling them. Maybe the diference with me is I listen to Pekoe, Pekoe is not just a dog to me, when she speaks I listen if she dosn't like a Vet or a situation then fine I move on untill I find one she does like and one that knows what a Chow is. She dosn't want certain people touching her then Fine then I stop the touch. Thats my job as her campanion and provider.

When I say Pekoe I'm refering to the other Chows on here that have a hard time at the Vets or people touching them not just Pekoe.

This is an example of my biggest complaint about all this, when people start thinking there is something wrong with their Chows or they way they are training them. Now some of you have Tjorden thinking she's not training her Chow properly or her Chow is agressive, Its doing the same thing to people that are just getting Chows. Quit blaming the Chows and owners and look at the real issues.
Last edited by Jeff&Peks on Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby TJordan » Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:57 pm

Well I have always groomed him, trimmed his nails and all that stuff myself. Nobody around here would even think about it even when he was little and sweet and cuddly.

I don't think I have trained him wrong or that he is aggressive. In fact I agree with Jeff (Yikes I said it) that the word "aggressive" is used a little to often with the wrong behavior. I don't think that every growl that Butters gives is aggression. I think his growls are quite different when he is being aggressive. I think a growl is a warning that he is not comfortable/happy with the situation. I think most humans growl at will with the same situations.

Butters allows 7 people to touch him happily. Although as a little chowling he loved people to touch him. So now people don't understand what has changed (neither do I really) Espeically around family that he sees I am comfortable with.
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Postby Jeff&Peks » Mon Nov 12, 2007 2:32 pm

"I don't think I have trained him wrong or that he is aggressive. In fact I agree with Jeff (Yikes I said it)"

Actually as long as your not blaming the Chow, any Chow you most likely will always be agreeing with me no matter what the topic. When a Chow attacks someone and kills them your suppose to Think, Hmmm I wonder what the dead person did to cause the Chow to kill him, Poor, Poor Chow, Not oh my that poor dead person
“...There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because conscience tells one that it is right.” MLK

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Postby bama » Mon Nov 12, 2007 3:43 pm

Victory,
What a beautiful memorial banner!!!
Sweetpea certainly has wonderful artisic instincts!

Jeff,
You know I was just having fun with you!!
You're a good sport, and I'm a sucker
for humor!
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**Photo by Sweet Pea.
She has a photogenic memory...really!

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Postby kiwani » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:18 pm

Re: "Although as a little chowling he loved people to touch him. So now people don't understand what has changed (neither do I really)"

Their brains keep being 'wired' at different stages of their development. The first 'fear imprint' phase has been discussed on this forum several times, and there's a second important fear-imprint stage which occurs around puberty. That's when hormones surge and also affect the brain.

I'm almost sure it was Butters we discussed, who had the excess stomach acidity and the domino effect of problems after he was prescribed antacids. We discussed how stress chemistry contributes to excess acidity, and how excess stress chemistry also lowers calming brain chemistry. Behavior is a chemical clockwork - behaviors can change chemistry and chemistry also changes behavior.

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Postby Jeff&Peks » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:54 pm

bama wrote:Jeff,
You know I was just having fun with you!!
You're a good sport, and I'm a sucker
for humor!


Huh? I didn't know you said anything to me except for arm wrestling but I wasn't going to tell you that anyone can beat me arm wrestling. Especially telling a female she can beat me.
“...There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because conscience tells one that it is right.” MLK

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Postby AngelsMom » Mon Nov 12, 2007 5:20 pm

jacqui wrote:I don't believe in putting a muzzle on a dog that doesn't need one.if the owner knows their dog is good.I have refused to muzzle every chow I've had until Kai.as soon as we enter the hospital he won't let anyone near him.he has been having some medical problems and he does not want the vet or vet tech touching him.yesterday more tests and he started his growling and nipping,for the first time in my life I said use the muzzle :(



Hi Jaqui:

What part of Mass are you from? I am from MA as well... Maybe I can recommend a good vet?
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Postby coleywoley » Mon Nov 12, 2007 6:46 pm

We've been doing the bite inhibition since day one and she has gotten better although when she's really wound up she tends to forget completely....she'll get there though.
I also cuddle her, handle her, pick her up, touch her paws, tail, tummy, face, everywhere i can to get her used to it just based on what you guys have said on other posts. The only problem area for us is her mouth. She seems to think if you touch her mouth that means you want to play and are giving her a bone to chew on-we use the bite inhibition techniques there as well but that is the most trying time. Is there anyway to make that easier or is the reflex play biting just part of her being a puppy?
I think we need to be a lot more active in socializing her with people than what we are. We just don't run into a lot of people on our walks. We might have to start driving for our walks to new areas. Does it matter if she has contact with them or if she is just around them?
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Postby TJordan » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:43 pm

Yes kiwani it was Butters that had all those issues. We are working on them per your advice. Keeping our fingers crossed that it will help. But I do have to say that last two visits from my brother were very promising. Butters couldn't get enough of my brother petting him. Ususally it is a love/hate relationship. So far it is looking better, but I haven't experimented on any other brave soles!!
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Postby IliamnasQuest » Mon Nov 12, 2007 11:20 pm

Victory, those were great posts - very explanatory.

Chows can have a natural hesitance toward being handled and that attitude may never completely change, but they should accept being handled by someone when their person says it's okay. It's not like I would expect all chows to run up to a perfect stranger with tail wagging, wanting to be petted. But it's completely realistic and reasonable for a chow to accept the touch of a stranger with no growling or snarling or signs of aggression when their person tells them they're to accept it.

I have no doubt that dogs - chows or otherwise - who have been taught to calmly accept handling and who understand bite inhibition and that they aren't to act aggressive are happier overall. They don't get as upset, they don't have those stress hormones released at such a high rate, because they've been given the tools to understand that they don't need to be aggressive. Most aggressive behaviors (regardless of cause) are seen in dogs with a lack of leadership, often because the human just doesn't know how to properly provide leadership. Some choose to be that way, sadly. But most are just not knowledgeable or don't have the natural alpha attitude. Providing leadership has nothing to do with forcing your dog into a submissive role. It has to do with consistency and rules and accepting responsibility.

http://www.kippsdogs.com/pack.html
http://www.kippsdogs.com/desensitization.html

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Postby chowgrl » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:08 am

IMHO When a chow has the responsibility of deciding who is and is not OK, then their stress increases and that in turn increases the stress hormones which can cause them to be less tolerant and this interaction can escalate the behaviours. You are doing your chow a favour by not putting them in the position of being the one to decide these matters. It is kinder to them and decreases their stress and I believe Mel is right in that it makes them happier. I think it also makes them healthier. Because I believe unchecked stress in chows, just as in people can put them at risk for a variety of diseases.

My 2 cents.
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Postby Victory » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:39 am

Mel and Chowgrl you are both right. I read something once, "no animal wants to really be alpha, it's a lot of work and responsiblity." Now it was being applied to horses, but I think it applies to any animal that has been domesticated by humans for over a thousand or so years, and how long have we surmised the chow has been domesticated, close to 10,000 or so years?

Being alpha means the dog has to look out not only for itself, but the entire pack, it has to seek out food, water, shelter, make the decisions, and generally take care of itself and everyone else. Even if it really doesn't have to do all that, it thinks it does, dogs don't get delegation, it's all or nothing. It is far less stressful for them to take a beta role. Humans aren't doing the dogs any favor by allowing them to take the alpha role and may in fact as Chowgrl pointed out be shortening their lives.

And I'm sorry but growling is an aggressive behavior, it's a warning. And even if the dog does it at first as only a warning with no intention of going further, it can cause an escalation in seconds. Here's how, a person, (vet, groomer, neighbor, or stranger) the dog growls, the person has a fear reaction even if the person doesn't outwardly show it, I am convinced that a dog can sense the fear, wether through smell or hearing, (though it's probably a combination of both). Fear and anger reactions in humans have a lot in common as regards to physical changes, both involve adreline surges, (which I think dogs can smell) and increased heart-rates, (which dogs can hear), but because the reactions are so similar, the dog really can't tell the difference, and reacts to fear as if it were anger. In other words they growl again and more loudly or aggressively, maybe they take a step or two forward.

The human reacts with more fear, if the human is a bit more knowledgable or maybe a very submissive person they will drop their eyes or make some other physical movement that shows submissiveness, if they do at this point the dog may back down, some dogs though, (in particular intact males) will try to assert their dominance by trying to force a more submissive posture, which could lead to a bite or a corning of the human.

However, most times humans use body language more suited to a confrontation between two humans, the eyes remain fixed on the object, the hands come up in what between humans is a placating gesture, they try to speak in a low non-threatening voice. But dogs know to watch our hands it is from our hands that punishment or rewards are given, the raising of a hand in this situation can and sometimes does trigger an attack. The locked eyes keep the situation tense, and a low voice sounds like a growl, submissive vocalizations between canines are high in pitch.

Some people will say I'm exaggerating here, but this same scenerio is repeated daily across the country. It is the result of two things, a lack of basic understanding by humans of how dogs think and what they react to, and a lack of proper training by dog owners.

Bite situations are alwawys caused by a human in the long run, through leaving a dog on a chain for too many hours, to aggressively approaching a dog with intent to harm, (some very stupid young males are the most prone to this one), to a lack of proper training on the part of the owner to teach the dog that growling in response to being approached is not acceptable.

And no my chows don't have to like everyone or even go up to everyone for petting. When Firesong backs away from a person, I simply tell the person that she's shy and sometimes doesn't want to be touched, most people are okay with that, and if they aren't I pull her close to me, where they have to touch me to touch her, they generally won't go that far, besides there's Dreamdancer in their face demanding to be petted. Sometimes my chows just ignore people or other dogs and that's okay too, what I want from them are chows who will not cause a nasty incidence through any behaviour of theirs. I think anyone who has a chow, akita, rottie, dobey, pit, GSD, or any of the breeds with a reputation should have their dogs trained this way.

My neighbor has two rotties, both intact males. The older one is 105lbs, he's a sweety, he's a bit aloof, but he does like certain people. The younger one is 125lbs, he's not as sweet, a lot more intense and independent. My neighbor is a small guy probely weighs only about 150lbs himself. His dogs together, (and they're usually together) weigh 225lbs. If they were to decide to go after someone, there is no way in the world he could stop them with just his body, even if he weighed 300lbs himself he couldn't stop them. Yet, he stop them with a word, just their names. That's all it takes, he says their names and they focus their attention on him and away from whatever has them worried. Why does he have them trained this way? Because he cares for them and for the breed as a whole, he doesn't want either of them to bite someone and add to the reputation of Rotties as mean, vicious and uncontrolable.

He doesn't force them to go up to everyone with wagging tails begging to be petted. He knows they are rotties and they are allowed a certain independence on who they approach, they are however NOT allowed that independence when it comes to HOW they approach.

And that's the point, a dog should accept being cared for by a vet or groomer, (and yes you should be a bit particular about such people, if my vet ever was rough with my chows, that's the last time we'd go there). They should only approach people in friendliness, or they should ignore them, and they should accept being approached without growling or snarling.

I think what Melanie has been trying to say is that growling is an act of dominance, it's the dog saying, "I out rank you." to a human. And that is never acceptable, one of the reasons that chows have the reputation they have is that in the 40s-50s when they were so popular, they were allowed to do that too many times to even their owners and one day they had to back that growl up with a bite and a lot of them did, thereby earning the breed the reputation of being unpredictable animals who would turn on their owners. Was it the chows fault? No, it was the fault of the owners who refused to place and keep the chow in their proper place within the pack, which is below that of any human.
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Postby TJordan » Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:50 am

OK, I see what you are saying. But some of it is not relating to a real life situation. Butters when we go out for walks will ignore everyone. Sometimes he will stop and look at someone but for the most part he is unaware that there is anything else in the park other than trees and squirrels.

Now you speak of the vet experience. Have yours had bad experiences at the vet? Major surgeries etc??

It is not that he can't be handled at all, he is not some wild animal. I can handle him all I want. But when he goes into the vet he is scared that they will 1. be keeping him, if they try and take him to the back he goes berserk and tries to run for the door. 2. He doesn't know what they are going to do to him.

So how do you take his exeperiences at the vet and make him ok with being handled by them. Don't get me wrong, the vet and staff are pretty good with him. They have tried many things as have I. I want to hear your suggestion for this particular situation.
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Postby kiwani » Tue Nov 13, 2007 8:57 am

Re: "But when he goes into the vet he is scared that they will 1. be keeping him, if they try and take him to the back he goes berserk and tries to run for the door. 2. He doesn't know what they are going to do to him."

That's part of his overall low-serotonin chemistry. Low serotonin dogs lack the chemistry for confidence and a sense of well being. They tend to use their human as a source of external confidence.
Separating such a dog from their human causes stress chemistry to *soar* which plunges any calming chemistry available. The dog goes into fight or flight mode, the thinking part of the brain gets disengaged, and the dog just reacts to a *flood* of adrenaline.

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Postby TJordan » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:09 am

So essentially his behavior is not a reflection of his training or lack there of. It is his natural instince because of other forces at work. Actually when we get his chemisty in sync we may find that he is a perfectly behaved chow. But unitl that happens the reality is that no amount of training is going to change that vet behavior and I am not saying that his training will stop I am just saying that it isn't always black and white. So saying I won't allow him to act that way is not a way to fix it or change it. I currently do the best I can to keep his stress down and outside of this I am not sure what else can be done immediatly.
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Postby Victory » Tue Nov 13, 2007 9:16 am

TJordan wrote:OK, I see what you are saying. But some of it is not relating to a real life situation. Butters when we go out for walks will ignore everyone. Sometimes he will stop and look at someone but for the most part he is unaware that there is anything else in the park other than trees and squirrels.

Now you speak of the vet experience. Have yours had bad experiences at the vet? Major surgeries etc??

It is not that he can't be handled at all, he is not some wild animal. I can handle him all I want. But when he goes into the vet he is scared that they will 1. be keeping him, if they try and take him to the back he goes berserk and tries to run for the door. 2. He doesn't know what they are going to do to him.

So how do you take his exeperiences at the vet and make him ok with being handled by them. Don't get me wrong, the vet and staff are pretty good with him. They have tried many things as have I. I want to hear your suggestion for this particular situation.


Firesong had been spayed of course, which is pretty intensive surgery, and had her teeth cleaned, again, she was given general anthesia and can cause pain afterward if pain meds aren't given right afterward, (they scrabe the teeth below the gum lines so the gums can be sore).

What I would do with Butters, is I wouldn't let them take him to the back for drawing blood etc, I'd have them do it there with me, I'd hold him, talk to him, rub him as much as possible while holding him. I would do this for every routine thing, shots, blood draws. If they had to take him back for x-rays or something, I'd take him back myself. He needs to know that what they are doing or might do is okay and for that he needs to know that his alpha approves, that's you, you show by your presence and calm acceptance that it's okay. Yes this is teaching him to accept a bit of pain, but you'd do the same with a human child wouldn't you? A dog is a non-(language of your choice)-speaking 2-3 year-old child in some ways.

Of course this is dependent on how comfortable with whatever is being done. If you get upset and fearful you'll do him more harm than good.
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Postby kiwani » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:29 am

Re: "So essentially his behavior is not a reflection of his training or lack there of. It is his natural instince because of other forces at work."

Behavior is also based on hormonal balances and what he inherited in that department, how his brain was wired during important phases of development, what he experienced, nutrition, exercise levels, overall health, etc. It's not unlike some people being more vulnerable to stress than others. You have to look at the overall picture of him when training.


His brain has already permanently filed away emotional memories of that vet's office, including the scent of the whole place. A survival *alarm* goes off in his brain as soon as he's reminded of his past experiences there. There would have to be some *very* good memories of that vet's office placed alongside the bad memories to help lower the alarm in his brain. Part of that depends on how much time your vet wants to take to work on 'happy visits' for Butters.

I also don't like the idea of them casually taking away Butters to another room either, just because it makes things easier for them.

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Postby TJordan » Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:37 am

Well they only did that once. The next time I said no because I was so worried about his breathing and his state of mind when he came back. I could tell he was terrified. I allowed them to try it once because they thought that his behavior was him protecting me. I told them that it wasn't that. Now they believe me I go everywhere with him it helps a little but not enough to keep him totally calm. So we are learning. I will have to ask about happy visits I think that would do him a ton of good.
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Postby Jeff&Peks » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:34 pm

The day people stop thinking dog and start treating and training a breed with respect to its breed the trouble will stop.

I don't need to train Pekoe to look at me when I say her name she does it anyway, I don't need to pull Pekoe to me when people approach or she is in an uncomfortable situation she comes to me anyway. When Pekoe is approached the first thing she does is look at me if I don't stop the approach she will do it herself with a growl then walk around me placing me between the person and herself avoiding the problem. Natural instinct not Alpha training.

Some of you are taking a natural bond between a Chow and its owner and the Chows natural instincts and taking credit for it then saying its because of your training and Alpha leadership When your Chows are not acting any differently then the Chows that have never had training or Alpha leadership are acting.

Dog fighters and gang members Use Alpha training they teach their dogs to respond to commands and words to attack and fight. They don't use Chows because their alpha training won't work on a Chow, A chow will not fight or attack on command and will do anything to avoid the problem only fighting if it has to protect itself or has no other choice.

I know K9 police officers that bring their dogs home, the dogs are allowed on the furniture, the dogs sleep on the beds and the dogs walk out the doors in front of them, Yeah right I can see a police dog telling the cop "no you go first the dog book says so". I see a couple of K9 officers in my neighborhood walking their dogs at night we stop and talk now all of a sudden I see their police trained dogs walking the owner just like Pekoe does. Pekoe hates GSD's for some reason so stopping for Chit chat is kind of hard.

I was K9 patrol in the Military I never heard of any of these alpha training methods, granted I was much more lenient with dogs then the others but I never had a problems with a dog of any breed responding to me, I never had to use dog talk or who is the boss tactics, its a natural bond between owner and dog. Most on here don't have the time to spend 24 hours aday to teach thier Chows to jump through hoops even though the Chow could probably do it anyway, they jump 5 foot fences for a cat I'm sure a hoop would be no problem.

Anyone of us will take ours Chows to another Vet if there is a problem but I doubt the Chow is going to welcome the next vet with open arms and licks, its going to take time and visiting the same vet before your Chow will ever allow anther Vet to ever touch it so the next Vet, not the owner better know how to handle the situation or your going to have the same problems.

Again, there is not one Chow on this site that is acting any differently then any other Chow on here regardless of Training or the owners Alpha or leadership abilities the only difference is what the Chow has been subjected to in its life and even with that the owners have delt with the situation the best they can. Not one Chow on this site has ever gone out of its way to ever attack or bit anyone,

TJorden, you or anyone else dosn't have to go on the defense and make excuses for Butters everytime Butters dosn't act the way a trainer or the book says she is supposed to act. There is nothing wrong with Butters. She fits your life style, she does what is expected of her in your home so who the hell cares what trainers have to say or what strangers think becouse they can't pet her.
Last edited by Jeff&Peks on Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby sit_by_the_beach » Tue Nov 13, 2007 12:35 pm

There was no reasoning with my first chow Luna. She squirmed on the examining table, tried to jump off, anything to get out of the animal clinic.

I slowly used different tactics. I groomed her by placing her on my kitchen table. She hated it, I handled her toes, brushed her, checked her ears while on that table.

To make the vet visits less stressful, we'd walk over to the vet's office to pick up the fish oil, pay an outstanding bill or just walked in to pick up a treat.

She huffed and puffed less when we went to see the vet for a 'real' visit.

I now have a new vet, she does home visits. She put Luna to sleep when the time came. I call the vet and she examins my two cats and the new chow Mikki at home, a lot less stress for all involved, cats, chow and me.

Maybe you could find a vet (Butters) who does home visits? It's worth paying the extra money,
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Postby Grab » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:18 pm

I don't do 'alpha' training with my dogs. They can walk out the door in front of me, walk wherever they please on walks (as long as they aren't pulling on the leash, and I don't expect split second sits. (in fact, I have one dog who I adopted as an older dog, who has no idea what sit means. Her behavior is fine, though, so it doesn't matter to me if she puts her butt on the ground)
That said, they are expected to accept general handling at the vets with minimal fuss. They're fine with vets looking in their mouths, their eyes, their ears, feeling their joints, etc. Two hate nail trimming and, while they are never aggressive about it, you'd think they were being slaughtered with all of the flailing they do. Growling at a vet would never cross any of their minds, but it's also not allowed..any more than growling at someone on a daily walk, or someone coming into our home, would be.

Legend loves it at the vet (he did even before I started working as a tech). He's shown the same happiness towards each of his vets (we've lived in two states, so he's had to switch) It doesn't matter to him that sometimes they do things that are uncomfortable to him (poking in ears and eyes) He runs in and flops himself in a cage for a nap. He shows the same enjoyment of the other techs, even when they've had to put IV catheters in. He always greets them with a wag. I've taken him tons of places since he was young, and strangers handled him. He's also always had vets who were pleasant with him, even if what they had to do was not. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, or it he's just an accepting guy.

All breeds have instincts, but all are just plain dogs underneath, and the same general rule should apply to all. There are always breeds that aren't prone to being accepting of 'snap to attention' type training...Bulldogs are one, many of the terriers, etc. But deep down they're all dogs.
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Postby Jeff&Peks » Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:44 pm

Its funny how the breed of a dog is only looked at when the specific breed has done something wrong or it is on the dangerous dog list, Chows, Pit, Rotts are all mean and dangerous so breed selection plays a role but when it comes to training methods then all breeds become dogs, this is the way all dogs are supposed to act, a dog is a dog, No thought is given to the breed, the history or the characteristics of the breed. If the Dog doesn't respond to the Dog is a Dog method of training then it is labeled as aggressive or untrainable, only then does it become a Chow, Rott, GSD and the breed that it is.
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Postby IliamnasQuest » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:14 pm

TJordan -

Butters may never be completely calm and accepting at the vets due to previous experience, but that doesn't mean that training wouldn't help. Just like already mentioned, if you made the time to provide him with good experiences at the vets then you can help balance some of his reactions. I'm sure that right now you expect him to be upset and your actions and breathing and tension are part of what encourages him to be afraid. So for both of your sakes, going to the vet office a couple of times a week, taking very special treats, starting off by only sitting in the waiting room and rewarding him for calm behaviors (or maybe initially out in the parking lot) is going to help him relax. But the key is not to just stuff treats in his face or pet him incessantly - the key is to understand his body language and to see his level of stress, and to NOT reward him during times when he's really tense. He needs to be reinforced for calm behaviors or at least a lower level of stress, which is why I said you may have to start in the parking lot.

And as he learns to relax a bit more - that may take several visits - then you move a bit closer in until that becomes accepted - which may take several more visits - and continue on until you can take him into an exam room, the vet can come in a talk to you for a couple of minutes, and Butters accepts it calmly.

There are always things we can do, and it DOES boil down to training most of the time. Our dogs learn to be scared, they can learn not to be scared too. It's easy to make excuses for our dog's behaviors but the bottom line is that we ARE responsible for how they act and what they do - and if they bite someone, we're the ones that have to deal with the moral and legal ramifications of it all. And the dog may have to be destroyed (legally) and none of us even want to think about that.

I hope that you can work through this. I've seen dogs that were unrestrainable wild things at the vets turn completely around with time and patience and consistency on the part of the owner. It's not hopeless.

Melanie and the gang

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Postby Judy Fox » Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:14 pm

I have just ploughed through this entire thread and there are so many ideas and opinions.

If I was a newcomer to the site or new to owning a chow chow, I must say my head would be spinning now.

Our vets are excellent. They love Milly and Mabel and what is more, M & M love them - especially one. Milly thinks he is gorgeous and she watches him as he moves round the surgery. When he is examining her, she licks under his chin! It makes me so jealous because she very seldom licks me.

I don't know why Milly and Mabel are so pleasant with people. I think probably a lot of it is their blood line. The other chows at their sire's home, when we went to bring Mabel home were all very friendly and good mannered.

I also think that as soon as we were able to take Milly out when she was a baby i.e. after she had had all her injections - and encouraged people in town to pet her and talk to her and then when Mabel arrived, we took both of them out to be socialised - I think that helped and we still take them into town and if anybody shows an interest in them, we always stop and are willing to talk and tell them about M & M and people then pet them and talk to them.

We do not allow them to hurt of frightened - if they are in the front garden and anybody rowdy passes by, we always keep a watchful eye and one or both of us will go out and be with M & M.

If anybody rushes at them when we are out we stop that immediately, even to the extent of telling unruly children how to behave towards them and if they don't, tell them to bugger off!

At the vets, we stay with them all the time, but that seems to be how it is on The Island. We talk to M & M all the time but so do the vets and the vet nurses.

I don't actually know what we have done right to bring up two calm and pleasant girls but we must have done something right. That and their blood line I think.

That and maybe a bit of common sense and straightforward attitude - like - "I am the Mummy person and you are the chow chow! I have the last word, ok!"

What I do think though is there is far too much arty-farty conjecture about training methods etc. etc. I think it makes every thing so complicated. I personally believe that when you take a little baby chowling into your home and your life, you have to protect it, love it and start raising it starting with making it feel secure, safe and loved.

You only have to take a look at Lou's video of little "bugger-lugs" Tigger the shoe chomper sitting there like a good boy simply 'cos his Momma does not allow him to rush at his food! She won't tolerate it - so he doesn't!

Same as M & M and Hector and the new little Border-Bad-Lad have to sit and say "How d'ya do!" for their dinner and give a paw.

Doesn't matter what sort of routine you instigate - it is the same difference but the end product is there.

My problem is the other human in our house! How do I stop him giving tit-bits to them? He does not respond to the "I am the Mummy person, you are the husband - I say - you do" angle and I do worry about too many bits of cake and so on. :lol:
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