As a loving and caring pet owner, there’s a ton of things you adore about your dog. You love the way they greet you after a long day at work. You love the way your pooch helps get you excited about going for that morning walk. You love the way Fido always seems to know when you’re feeling bad and you probably like the way your pooch always seems to be a good listener, even when you babble on about topics he can’t possibly understand.
One of the things you probably don’t love, however, is when your pooch gets a bit…stinky. Proper grooming isn’t only essential for your enjoyment, it also reduces parasites and discomfort to your dog caused by overgrown nails, bad oral hygiene, and a matted coat. It’s a good thing, then, that dogs can be trained to love and accept grooming by their humans and others.
Hello, my dog is extremely anxious. He hates everything grooming wise except bathing. Taking him to get his nails cut is the most dreadful experience any owner could have. He will bang his head into the pole, jump off the grooming table, bite anyone, and bark violently. Please help.
Hello Samantha, First of all, get Pookie used to wearing a soft, comfortable, silicone, basket muzzle. Do this by giving him a treat whenever you show him the muzzle, touch it to him, and eventually, put it on him. Do this gradually over several weeks, until he is comfortable wearing it. When he is used to the muzzle, then attach one end of a leash to him and the other end to something else nearby while he is standing on the floor. Spend time showing him each grooming tool and every time that he looks at it, give him a treat. When he is comfortable looking at the tools, then gently touch a tool to him without using it, and give him a treat every time that you touch him. When he is comfortable with that, then carefully use the tool on him just a little bit, then give him a treat. Finally, use the tool on him as gently as you can, and after every couple of clipped nails, brushes, or rubs, give him another treat. Do this throughout the entire grooming session. Expect this entire process to take at least a couple of months. If any of the grooming tools make noise or blow air, then spend extra time getting him used to the sound of air by giving him treats while the tool is further away from him. Also be sure that he is not in any pain during grooming from cutting nails too short, using the wrong type of brush or getting out tangles, or being handled roughly. If he has a bad mat, then cut it out rather than brush the tangle over and over again. He needs to learn to tolerate grooming but he also needs to learn to trust his groomer. He gentle but firm. It is not okay for him to bite you, and having the muzzle on him will teach him that biting does not make the grooming stop. If he seems uncomfortable, then go more slowly or be more gentle, but he should believe that his tolerance gets him rewards and eventually freedom, not his aggression. Using a leash when you groom him will keep him from escaping, without risking him falling off of a table. Wait to use the table until he is comfortable with grooming in general at home. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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