How to Groom a Large, Demanding Dog

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Dealing with a demanding dog, especially a large breed, can be challenging on a day to day basis. But when it comes to the weekly grooming session, it can make the whole process a nightmare. Consider this, every time you start to brush "Tiny", he turns his head and nudges your hand, insisting you pay attention to him. How on earth are you supposed to groom Tiny if he won't leave you alone? Getting him to stop this behavior can be particularly difficult since it is a learned behavior in the first place.

Dog's Perspective

No dog is born demanding, but the more you respond to actions like using his nose to push your hand off the keyboard while you are working, constantly pressing against your leg, whining and barking, the more the behavior is encouraged. Tiny will do anything to get your attention, that's what will make him happy. 

The Start Early Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Step
1
Tiny needs to learn
Tiny is going to work hard as a pup to get your attention from the moment you bring him home. While this might seem like fun at first, if you let him get away with it, you are setting yourself up for problems later. The sooner you start teaching him this is not acceptable, the better.
Step
2
Ignorance is bliss
Ignoring Tiny when he gets demanding lets him know he is not behaving you and sets a new stage. He should only get attention when you want to give it to him. Having him understand this will make grooming go much easier.
Step
3
Tired dogs are less demanding
The more tired Tiny is, the less demanding he is likely to be. Take him for a long walk before grooming. This will tire him out and at the same time give him time to go potty.
Step
4
Grooming from the top
Take Tiny into your grooming room and give him a treat. Play with him and fuss over him before you get started brushing him. Then start at his head, doing his face, chin, chest, ears, and neck. Stop here, give Tiny a little love and a treat.
Step
5
From back to bottom
Follow this up with grooming his back and rump. Extra care is needed here as this area is very sensitive. Again, take a break and give him a treat and a little love. Then finish up by having him lie down and let you brush his belly and legs. Finish up with lots of praise and a treat or two. The idea behind this is that you are giving him attention when you want to give it to him, not when he is demanding it from you.
Recommend grooming method?

The Diversion Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Spend some time together
Pick a time and place of your choice and spend some time playing with Tiny and fussing over him. This sets the stage and lets him know he is only going to get attention from you when you want to give it to him, not when he demands it. When he tries to demand it, you should ignore him until he stops. Use this time to bond with Tiny and assume your role as Alpha in the pack, which will also make things easier.
Step
2
Time to get started
Bring Tiny into the room where you plan to groom him and make sure he has plenty of toys to distract him. The idea is that every time Tiny turns to get your attention, you redirect his attention using a toy.
Step
3
A touch off the top
Take brush in hand and start brushing Tiny's head, ears, muzzle, and chin. If he tries to turn to you and get your attention, reach down and give him a toy to chew on. You can also use chew bones.
Step
4
Back to tail
Continue on grooming his back, sides, and rump. If he turns to get your attention, gently redirect his attention back to the toys, do NOT fuss over him or make him feel like he is succeeding in getting your attention. If he has behaved and not tried to get your attention, stop and give him a treat under your terms and fuss over him a little.
Step
5
The underbelly
Have Tiny lay down on the floor and brush his belly and legs. If he tries to get you to rub his belly, redirect his attention to the toys again. When you are done is the time to give him a belly rub, but because you want to, not because he is "making" you do it. Then give him a treat and praise before letting him go.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • Never yell at your dog or punish him for his demanding behavior.
  • Keep plenty of treats and toys on hand to help refocus your dog's attention.
  • Never give in to your dog's demanding behavior. Once you do, he has won.
  • Walking your dog to tire him out is a good idea, but don't exhaust him this is not good for his health and could make him grumpy with being handled.
  • Consistency is the key to success with a demanding dog.
  • Never force your pup to behave by using brute strength.
  • Be sure to use lots of praise and treats the less demanding he gets to let him know he is doing a good job. 

Conclusion

Working with a demanding dog can be particularly challenging. The sooner you start working to control this behavior, the easier it will be for Tiny to figure out it is not acceptable. Once he understands this, the rest of his grooming sessions will go smoothly. Use this time to bond with Tiny and make the whole process as enjoyable as possible. 

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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