How to Brush a Dog That Hates Being Brushed

Medium
10 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Having a challenging dog not only brings challenges to your day-to-day life, but also to things you know must be done, such as brushing out your dog. Brushing a dog who hates to be brushed will take a lot of time and patience on your part. Consider doing the things you hate doing, such as going to the dentist or washing dishes. Your dog feels the same way about being brushed. You know it needs to be done. He knows it needs to be done. But that doesn't make the task any easier. Focus your dog on the rewards he can have during brushing rather than the act he hates. 

Dog's Perspective

You know your dog hates being brushed. So, go into the brushing with empathy and understanding--and lots of treats. Take a slow and gentle approach, and don't expect too much until you've had plenty of time to convince your pup brushing is not as horrible as he might think.

The Brush, Treat, Brush Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Towel
Step
1
Prepare
Arrange a towel or soft bed for your dog to stand or lie down on for your brushing session. Also, prepare yourself with lots of treats to keep your dog happy and engaged or distracted.
Step
2
Position
Sit comfortably with your dog. If you have a medium or large breed, get comfortable with him on the floor. If your dog is smaller, you can have him lie on a towel or bed on a table or counter and sit next to him. Create a relaxing environment for your brushing time.
Step
3
Proper brush
Be sure to have a good brush to do the job right. If your dog has longer fur, consider a slicker brush. Also, be sure to have the right size brush.
Step
4
Scissors for mats
If your dog has mats, it might be easier to remove them with scissors than taking time to brush them out. After this initial mat removal, keep up with brushing to avoid large mats.
Step
5
Treats
Start off by giving your pup a treat. You should have lots of treats on hand for your dog who hates being brushed. Giving him a treat now before brushing will reward him just for tolerating being there and show him how he can earn more treats.
Step
6
Brush
Have your dog sniff his brush and then give him another treat. Start in small sections, brushing your dog in these areas one small area at a time. Get your pup comfortable and brush an area you can get to easily. This could mean brushing one side because the dog is lying on the other. As you move the brush through his fur, offer another treat.
Step
7
Continue
Keep brushing in small areas while giving your dog a treat every few strokes with the brush. This will keep him focused on eating treats and worrying less about being brushed. The first few times you are able to brush your brush-hating dog, you may only be able to brush a few small sections at a time.
Step
8
Reposition
To get to the other side of your dog, use a treat to re-position him. If he’s smaller, you may be able to pick him up and turn him around or over or stand him up to be able to brush the other side. If he’s larger, you may need to stand yourself to get him to stand and then use a treat to have him lie down the opposite way. Treat and repeat brushing in small sections.
Recommend grooming method?

The Puzzle Toy Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Step
1
Introduce brush
Pick the perfect brush for your dog. Try to stick with one brush while he is getting used to being brushed on a regular basis. Show your dog the brush and let him sniff it. Each time you bring the brush to his fur, let him sniff it first until he no longer cares.
Step
2
Distract
Distract your pup with a new toy such as a treat puzzle toy or a Kong filled with peanut butter. Let him play with this and then show him the brush again. He shouldn’t be too interested in the brush because, unlike the treat toy, it offers no food.
Step
3
Brush
Brush a small area with the brush. Talk to your dog the entire time you are brushing. Talk about his treat toy or the weather, just keep him focused on the treat and otherwise distracted.
Step
4
Move to reposition
When it is time to brush areas you cannot reach, distract your dog by moving the treat toy. You can take this opportunity to refill it or just reposition the dog to get to the other side.
Step
5
Repeat
Keep brushing as you did before distracting your dog with treats, the puzzle toy, and your soothing voice.
Step
6
Redirect
If your dog takes his attention away from the puzzle toy and is concerned with what you are doing while brushing, give him a different treat. Be sure to let him sniff the brush every so often so he knows it doesn’t offer anything better than the treats in front of him.
Step
7
Patience
It may take time to get your entire dog brushed, especially if he really hates brushing. He might not care too much about the treat toy if he hates brushing even more. But keep practicing with him and eventually, he’ll get that, with repetition and wonderful rewards in the puzzle toy, brushing isn’t so bad.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • One thing to remember with your dog who hates being brushed is that he can't always communicate to you how he feels, such as why he hates to be brushed.
  • The best way to approach a dog who hates being brushed is with love and understanding. This means food for many dogs and patience for others.
  •  Bring lots of treats to your brushing session.
  •  For the first several times you brush your dog who hates to be brushed, brush in small sections at a time.
  • If your dog is matted, work on only the knots and mats until they are all out before you brush your dog from head to tail. Cutting large mats with scissors is faster than brushing. The impatient dog who hates brushing might find cutting mats easier until he allows regular grooming.
  • Working in sections means your dog doesn't have to sit still and be miserable for an entire brushing all at one time.
  • Don't hesitate to give your dog a reward for tolerating a brush in his fur for even just a few seconds at a time. The first several times you commit to brushing your dog, you should plan to go through a lot of treats.
  • Be patient with your dog. He's doing something he does not enjoy. Showing frustration and anger will upset him and set you both back. 

Conclusion

Brushing can put you in the dog house with your pooch. But keep your brushing sessions light and rewarding with fun treats or toys filled with high-value treats. Keeping your dog engaged with rewards rather than focused on the act of brushing will keep him looking fur-tastic.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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