How to Groom a Protective Dog

Medium
15 - 30 Minutes
1 Week

Introduction

Does your dog tend to be a bit on the protective side? Does he growl or try to bite when someone tries to approach him? While this type of behavior is not uncommon in dogs, it is one that can make grooming exceptionally challenging. There are many reasons why your pup might have become protective, from being bullied while still with his mother, to being teased. It could also just be his nature to protect himself and "his" things. Understanding the reason behind your dog's behavior can help in all areas, including grooming. 

Dog's Perspective

Dogs have great memories and personalities as varied as the people who bring them into their families. If at some point time your dog was mistreated by a someone, he may have become very protective of himself and his stuff. Bad experiences at the groomers' can be particularly hard to shake. But, before you reach for the muzzle and restraining harnesses, try these grooming methods first. 

The Distraction Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Step
1
Chose the right place in your home
Choose a room with a floor that is easy to clean, in a quiet part of your home. Preferably one with a window so your dog can look outside while you are grooming him. Add a radio with relaxing music playing on it or at TV with a show playing that will keep his interest. Use anything that is likely to take his mind off the fact you are grooming him.
Step
2
Potty break and hike
Take your dog on a nice long hike, give him plenty of time to pee and burn off some of that protective energy. A tired pooch is going to be a lot easier to work with and far less likely to get out of hand.
Step
3
Keep an eye on him
During the grooming process, you need to keep a close eye on your dog's behavior. As long as he keeps calm and is behaving, give him a treat here and there, along with plenty of calm, soothing praise. If his attention starts to wander and he starts to act protectively, take a break and redirect his attention with a toy or by changing the channel on the TV. Giving him something new to focus his attention on will help him to remain calmer.
Step
4
Have a chat
Chances are good that your pup really likes the sound of your voice. Keeping up a running conversation with him is a great way to keep him settled while you work. Just remember, he might not answer you.
Step
5
Keep the fun going
Keep the fun going from the first brush stroke on his head to the last one on his paws. Use lots of treats, keep something fun and distracting on the TV, and give him a cool toy to play with. Keep the sessions short at first and work your way up. In time the two of you will enjoy this bonding time with each other.
Recommend grooming method?

The Desensitization Method

Effective
0 Votes
Slicker Brush
Scissors
Pin Brush
Nail Clipper
Step
1
It's all in the setup
Start by letting your dog get to know the tools you plan to use to groom him. Lay them out on the floor where he can see them, sniff around them, paw at them, and yes if he really wants to, lick them. Pick up each of the tools and let your pup see them in your hands, this should help him to be more relaxed around them. Be sure to give him a treat and let him know everything it okay.
Step
2
Start out slow
If your pup is a little older and has already become overly protective, you need to start out nice and slowly with short grooming sessions. Use a treat to get him to calm down. Pick up the brush slowly and let him get used to it in your hand. If he balks or twists aggressively in your direction, stop and then try slowly again. When he accepts the brush, be sure to give him a treat.
Step
3
Brush on pup
Place the brush gently on the dog's head and start with short gentle strokes. Work around his ears, eyes, face, chin, and work your way down his chest and neck. Perfect time for a treat break.
Step
4
Make it last
Slowly brush the rest of his back, sides, and rump. Take your time, since you've just gotten him used to being brushed. Take plenty of treat breaks and let him tell you when he is ready for you to move on to the next part of his body.
Step
5
Good to the end
Once you have groomed his rump, tail, and the outside of his legs, have him lie down. This will let you finish up by brushing the rest of his chest, his belly, and the insides of his legs. Brush his toes, clip the hair between them and his pads, then trim his nails and you are all done!
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • If you want your dog to remain calm and behave himself, you need to be calm and relaxed yourself. Remember, he can pick up on your mood and vibes very quickly.

  • If he is overly protective, it may pay to find out why. This may help you to help him get over his anxieties.
  • Take as much time as your dog needs to get used to the tools before you try to use them on him. This will make things go more smoothly for both of you.
  • It can take weeks or even months for a protective dog to feel completely comfortable with being groomed. 

Conclusion

The simple fact is that training a protective dog to remain calm during grooming can be a challenge. But keep working at it and the two of you will soon be enjoying the whole process and mark it as your weekly bonding session. What are you waiting for? Get out there and make grooming fun for both of you!

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

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