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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This may be long, but I really need some advice.
I have a Pomeranian/Poodle mix. He's my only pet, and I took him in 4 years ago (he was about 2 years old then) when a friend of a friend was leaving an abusive relationship and couldn't take him with her. When he got here, he was extremely attached to his previous owner and wouldn't let anyone near her. Now, he is extremely attached to me. He doesn't like play fighting (if the kids are tickle fighting), hands clapping, etc. He is very protective over his toys and food, and he will growl and chase after whatever is stressing him (but not actually bite anyone). He hates strangers. He freaks, barks, whines, growls...at people, bicycles, motorcycles, and of course other dogs and squirrels. He is super lovable and has never bit anyone. He is a sweetheart, you can just tell that he was put through the ringer and saw some awful things happen to his previous owner, so I keep that in mind. Once he knows you, he will make you play fetch with him until your arm cramps and will cuddle all day, but until then, he acts aggressive. Walking him is exhausting because of how much he freaks out and barks whenever someone walks by. I haven't been able to afford professional dog training, and I just have not seen any results with what I try to do by myself.

He is house trained and always has been, but he absolutely obsessed with marking his territory. He urinates on no less than 6 different places each time I let him out. He occasionally urinates in the house on select items (plastic bags, my kid's notebook, a hat that was left on the floor, etc.), but lately he has been doing it more and more. I was told that getting him neutered would probably help with the issue of marking his territory, and I know I need to get him neutered anyway. The issue is that he is so aggressive with strangers. I have attempted to take him to 2 different vets, but because he won't allow them to touch him without growling and snapping, they won't see him. For his shots, I have to hold him and hold his head away..they can't touch him. I have been looking into low cost neuter clinics, but they all say that they will turn away any dog that cannot easily be handled by the vet (obviously). I just don't know what to do.

I have two separate issues: how do I help him get over his anxiety/aggression, and how do I get him neutered if a vet can't handle him?
 

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Sounds like PTSD. Maybe a vet would give you a sedative to give to him so that he will be calm when he goes in for his appointment? That's about all I can think of. God bless you for taking him in and for giving him the love, affection and time he needs to trust again.
 

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My parents had a dog named Joey he came from an abused woman who could not keep him as well. Very similar situation but he was a small dog maybe a bischon nobody really knew we would have to have him muzzled before vets would see him is that a possibility for the vets you are seeing?
 

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Most pets act up when owners are with them at the vets. We have had many an aggressive dog, but we found that if we ask the owner to wait outside the dogs 99% are more calm . But also muzzles help too, vets are trained to help owners with aggressive dogs. As @McCourt suggested perhaps the vet can give you a sedative to give at home , that way by the time you get to the vet the pet is somewhat more sedate and calm.
 

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Here's what would happen if he came in to our animal hospital. We would have you set up an initial consult with the vet. If he was manageable on that first visit we would have him stay and be neutered that day so he wouldn't have to deal with the stress of coming back a second time for the surgery. If he showed signs of aggression we would take him out of the room away from you and asses his aggression away from the owner. If we are unable to take him from you we would ask you to put the muzzle on him first and try taking him away after he's muzzled. If he's absolutely untouchable by anyone then we would send you home with sedatives to try giving at home before he comes back in. We have a very rare amount of patients that are 100% untouchable, in those cases we attempt to teach the owner how to restrain their pet for us to give injections and if they're pet needs to stay for the day we have the owner come to the back with us to verify the pets weight and then we give an injectable sedative and have the owner place the dog in the cage, once the sedative kicks in those pets are calm enough to at least allow minimal handling so we can do what we need to do or give them additional sedatives or anesthetic for more involved procedures. In our thousands of patients that we see we've only had 2 animals that could not be managed in any form, one was a 50/50 wolf dog hybrid that they got from the zoo and ended up sending to one of those wolf dog sanctuaries because they couldn't manage the animal, the other is a shar pei mix of some sort that the owner is in complete denial about its aggression despite the fact that it has bit her multiple times and we've been unable to treat multiple times due to its explosive aggression.

Your options on vet care may be limited due to his aggression, as you're finding out. What I would do is call around to your local vets, explain the behavior issues with your dog and ask what services they can provide so he can get the medical care he needs. A good vet should be able to find a way to work with you and your pet. Unfortunately low cost clinics do not have the time and/or skill set to handle aggresive animals, so for everyone's safety, including your pets, it's often best if they just turn away unmanageable dogs. Once you do find a vet willing to work with you be mindful of how the vet assistants and techs act towards him since they are likely going to be the ones handling him, there's a good possiblity that the vet may completely ignore him when they first come into the room because they don't want to upset or rile him up before he acutaly has to be handled.
 

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Have you tried a muzzle?

I just took my reactive very fearful dog to the vet and had a muzzle for him. Get him used to the muzzle first.

But the vets were awesome and very understanding. I would shop around and explain the situation to the vets and see what they suggest.
 

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Just a heads up - neutering may not fix the marking issue. My parents adopted an older Westie and immediately had him neutered. He still marked everything. But he never marked in the house. My spayed female dog marks, too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I really appreciate all of the help! I think that you are right, animalcraker, that the issue that I am trying to have him treated at low-cost clinics, and they simply decline any aggressive animal. I did try to take him to an actual vet right after I got him for his vaccines and general health check-up since he was not well cared for and covered in fleas, and they turned me away because he was growling and snapped when the vet got close. In all fairness, he was even this way with me in the beginning, so I think it was the drastic change and trauma. I am sure that he would not be so bad now that he has been smothered in love for 4 years. I think I am going to save up my money for a real vet and ask about a sedative beforehand.
I don't know how to put this in dog terms, but it seems like he has super testosterone coursing through his veins, especially for a 12 pound dog! Humps his blanket almost every night (had to throw out his bed that he humped, tore up, and never slept in), doesn't like other animals walking down the street or near our yard (sees a dog out the window, and he will whine at the door for 30 minutes because he wants to go bark at them and pee on everything), feels the need to mark everywhere outside with every potty break or walk, becomes unbearable if there is a dog in heat somewhere in the neighborhood, and of course marking inside. He also obsessively chews up his toys. He never ever chews up any of our belongings, he knows what toys are his and what are not toys. But he will get a a squeaky toy and will not stop biting and chewing until it stops squeaking..even if it takes 4 hours. He destroys tennis balls and plastic frisbees. The only thing that he can play fetch with (and he loves fetch) are kong toys. I think he does have anxiety or PTSD, and his anxiety doesn't come out in the form of hiding or shaking...he acts out in rage and domination..if that makes sense. If having him neutered could even tone down even some of this behavior, it would be a huge improvement.
Thanks everyone!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also think a muzzle would be a good idea! He would probably hate it at first, but he also hated his harness at first. Now he gets super excited to see the harness because it means he's going on a walk. I bet if I make the muzzle part of a daily walk, he would get used to it quickly. Thanks!
 

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I also think a muzzle would be a good idea! He would probably hate it at first, but he also hated his harness at first. Now he gets super excited to see the harness because it means he's going on a walk. I bet if I make the muzzle part of a daily walk, he would get used to it quickly. Thanks!
If you are going to muzzle train him this site has some good instructions on how to go about it https://muzzleupproject.com/muzzle-training/
 
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