Dogs bite out fear. And, I suspect the fear builds from the moment you get the dog in the car. If the only time the dog rides in the car is to go to the vet then he will associate car rides with going to the vet. Most vets know how to approach and talk to dogs to put them at ease and decrease the trauma. But how can we help our dogs with this issue?
First of all, if you are familiar with TTouch work then you know that various touches and wraps can be useful in bringing the dog to some awareness of his body. This calms and grounds the dog mentally. If you know these methods, this is a perfect time to use them. If you are not familiar with TTouch please invest in a Thundershirt to help calm the dog prior to going to the vet until such time as you get the TTouch training you need.
Secondly, take your dog for car rides that don’t include visiting the vet. This will diminish the trigger for anxiety for the dog. The more rides the dog experiences where there are no adverse consequences the less anxiety that will occur when you do have to go to the vet.
After the vet visit, praise and treat.
Third, if you have a highly reactive dog or one that is very fearful and anxious you should consider introducing him to a muzzle. Don’t just use the muzzle for vet visits or you will simply create a new trigger. Introduce a muzzle over days or weeks. In the beginning have him wear a muzzle for just a few minutes, extending the time gradually, eventually having him wear the muzzle randomly. You will be using lots of praise and treats during the training period.
Biting behaviors are complicated. I urge you to find an experienced trainer or behaviorist who can help you develop training exercises for your dog based on his level stress and anxiety. Without adequate training you may find yourself facing a lawsuit or worse. Don’t expect that he will grow out of it and corporal punishment and isolation will only exacerbate the problem.