How to Calm a Wolf-Dog Mix Before Grooming

Hard
10 - 20 Minutes
1 Day

Introduction

Wolves and wolf-hybrids are among the most difficult dogs in the world to groom. How hard depends in part on how much of your pup is wolf and how much is dog. The higher the percentage of wolf, the more wolf-like your pup's behavior is likely to be. This is simply because wolves are very sensitive animals who live in the wild. They have not yet adapted to living with humans and this often comes out as anxiety, especially at times when an activity requires being touched, such as grooming. 

Dog's Perspective

Being a wolf-dog, your pup still has a lot of the "call of the wild" in his genetic makeup. It takes a special person to take on the challenge of caring for this type of dog. Even if you have been handling your pup since the day he was born, he still has a natural instinct to avoid human contact. 

The Get Used to My Touch Method

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Slicker Brush
Step
1
Walkies time
The first step in calming you wolf-dog down, is to take him out for a nice long walk. This is a great way for him to burn off the bulk of his excess energy and tire him out. A tired pup is a calmer pup.
Step
2
Touch first
Start out by gently touching your pup. Rub his ears, rub his belly, touch his paws, basically touch every inch of his body. Repeat this for several days until your pup no longer flinches when you touch him.
Step
3
Go deeper
Take the touch phase one step further by giving your pup daily massages. This differs from simple touches in that your hands are touching him for longer periods of time. You may find your pup truly learns to enjoy getting a daily massage.
Step
4
Try the brush
Once you think your pup has reached the point at which he is no longer anxious about being touched, try introducing him to a slicker brush. Take your time, let him see the brush, smell it, and get used to its presence.
Step
5
Patience pays off
It could take some time for your pup to finally calm down enough for you to successfully groom him. Be patient, go at his pace, and in time grooming should no longer be a problem.
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The Touch and Treat Method

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Step
1
Too pooped to care
Anxiety takes a lot of energy and can leave your pup too wound up to calm down. Take him for a nice long walk to tire him out. This will help him calm down and be more relaxed when it comes time to groom him.
Step
2
A calm grooming room
Create a nice calm space to groom your pup in. Turn on some soothing music. Everyone knows "music soothes the savage beast."
Step
3
Add aromatherapy
Consider adding a diffuser with a good quality lavender oil. Lavender is well-know for its calming effects.
Step
4
Use your words
Bring your pup into the room and give him plenty of time to settle down. Start gently touching different areas of his body and naming them. This will help your pup get used to being touched and the gentle tone in your voice will help calm him down further. Provide treats to reward calm behavior.
Step
5
Go slowly
Take all the time your pup needs, you should never be in a hurry. After all, you are trying to teach your pup to remain calm before and during grooming. Keep working with him and he should eventually figure it out.
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Caution & Considerations

  • Most wolf-dogs still have a very high percentage of wolf in them, which means they have a very wild streak.
  • If you think your pup might try to bite you while grooming, consider using a muzzle until he is properly trained.
  • Go slow. Rushing your pup into being groomed will only make him more anxious instead of less.
  • Grooming should always be done in a nice quiet room in the house. This will help to calm your pup down.
  • Let your pup have plenty of time to get used to the tools you plan to use.
  • If you must use shears to trim his coat or cut out mats, be sure they are sharp and have rounded safety tips. 

Conclusion

Wolf-dogs can be very challenging to groom. They are naturally nervous around humans as it is. But, with a little hard work on your part and plenty of patience, you can teach your pup to relax and at least tolerate or even enjoy the whole grooming process. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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