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Dog hates being brushed etc

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by lovemyspaniel, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. lovemyspaniel

    lovemyspaniel New Member Partner Registered

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    Hi

    My cocker spaniel hates being brushed. We gently brushed her since a puppy but she has just always hated it. She also hates her paws being touched and it's incredibly difficult (virtually impossible) to trim them to keep them neat etc.

    She is approaching 2 years old, any tips please?
     
  2. The Dog House - Watford

    The Dog House - Watford New Member Registered

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    The Two Keys to Great Grooming

    No matter what age, size, sex or type of dog you have, you can make grooming a pleasant part of your dog’s life if you:

    1. Teach your dog to associate grooming with things she loves.

    2. Take it slow and easy.

    Associate Grooming with Great Rewards

    Many dogs find grooming unpleasant—and who can blame them? It can involve hair pulling, uncomfortable restraint, getting soaked with water (which some dogs dislike), and other kinds of poking and prodding. However, you can help your dog learn to tolerate—and maybe even enjoy—grooming.

    If your dog learns that things like brushing, bathing, ear cleaning and nail trimming reliably predict wonderful stuff for her—like special treats, brand-new chew toys, the start of a favorite game, a walk in the park or dinnertime—she’ll soon learn to love “spa time.” So whenever you groom your dog, be sure to immediately follow the activity with things she loves. For example, if you’re trimming your dog’s nails, clip a nail and then feed your dog a delicious treat. Clip another nail or two and feed another treat. With repetition and a little time, your dog will probably decide that getting her nails done is fun, not frightening.

    Take It Slow and Easy

    If your dog isn’t used to getting inspected, restrained, handled, brushed and thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis, the last thing you want to do is frighten and overwhelm her when you start teaching her to tolerate grooming. Take time to slowly introduce new tools, like brushes and clippers, as well as new sensations. For example, before giving your dog a bath, spend a few days just taking her into the bathroom, putting her in the tub, giving her a few tasty treats and then taking her out again. When introducing a brush, start with just a few strokes. If you haven’t clipped your dog’s nails before, try clipping only a nail or two the first time you use the clippers.

    It will also help to pay attention to your own voice and body language. When it’s grooming time, approach your dog calmly and speak in quiet, soothing tones. If you want your dog to relax while you’re grooming her, you want to be relaxed, too.

    The collar

    Some dogs try to run away, snap, bite or just get nervous when you touch or take hold of their collars. To reduce the likelihood that your dog will develop these problems, gently take your dog’s collar in your hand and then, right afterward (not at the same time), give her a tasty treat. Repeat this sequence and your dog will probably learn to love it when you take hold of her collar.

    The hug

    Unbeknownst to their pet parents, many dogs dislike being hugged. Dogs don’t hug each other, and most dogs react to being hugged as if it were restraint. In dog language, it’s not natural or polite to restrain your canine buddies. To help your dog learn to feel better about restraint, put your hands on her body and hold her still for just a second or two. If she holds still, say “Good!” Then release her and give her a treat. If she tries to move away, calmly hold her. (Try not to squeeze. You don’t want to scare or hurt her.) The instant she stops moving—even for just a second—say, “Good!” Then release her and give her a tasty treat. Gradually, over a couple of weeks, increase the amount of time that your dog must hold still before getting released. If she ever struggles or tries to get away, don’t scold her. In fact, don’t say anything at all. Just firmly but gently continue to restrain her until she relaxes for a few seconds. Then immediately say “Good,” release her and give her a treat. If, at any time, your dog seems to panic, yelps, starts to pant heavily, seems fearful of you, growls, snaps or bites, STOP. Do not continue the exercise.

    Brushing

    Different coat types need different kinds of combs and brushes. There’s a vast array of tools to choose from! To find out which ones you’ll need to use and how often you should use them, speak with your veterinarian or a reputable professional groomer. Most dogs don’t need to be brushed more often than once every few days. If you have a short-haired dog, such as a Doberman pinscher, you might not need to brush her as often. If you have a German shepherd or a border collie, you might need to brush her more frequently to avoid excessive shedding and matting of the fur.

    Some dogs seem to naturally enjoy the feeling of being brushed. Others, however, find it uncomfortable. If your dog likes it when you brush or comb her, excellent! Make sure she continues to feel that way by avoiding causing her discomfort as best as you can. Be gentle and brush her often enough to prevent tangles that might make brushing hurt. Give your dog great rewards right after brushing. You can deliver goodies or toss a ball after every few brush strokes, as well as at the end of your brushing session.

    If your dog doesn’t seem to like it when you brush her—if she tries to hide when she sees the brush, attempts to get away while you’re brushing her or jerks her head around when she feels the brush touch her fur—you may need to help her change the way she feels about brushing so that she can tolerate it better and even begin to enjoy it.

    Start by going to a quiet area with your dog, a place where you’ve petted her before and where she feels happy and relaxed. Bring the brush and a handful of tasty treats. (Use something delicious, like small pieces of chicken, cheese or hot dog.) It might help to bring a soft bed or blanket with you as well. While speaking softly to your dog, slowly and gently stroke her with the brush. Start with the area that she seems least sensitive about. For instance, if your dog flinches when you try to brush her back but seems more relaxed when you brush her chest, start with her chest. If she tries to move away when your start brushing, you can gently restrain her by holding her collar or leash. After each short brush stroke, feed your dog a treat. If she reacts by turning her head around toward your brushing hand or struggling when you stroke her, simply stop the movement of the brush—but don’t take it away. With the brush still touching your dog, calmly wait until she stops reacting or struggling and holds still for just a second or two. The instant she stops reacting, praise her and remove the brush. Then you can feed her a tasty treat. Spend several minutes brushing and giving your dog treats. Then call it quits for the day. Try to have two or more short brushing sessions a week, and continue to feed your dog a treat after every brush stroke. When your dog no longer struggles or reacts to the touch of the brush at all, spend two or three weeks gradually increasing the length and pressure of your brush strokes, as well as the time you spend brushing your dog. You can also start brushing different parts of her body, slowly working up to the most sensitive spots.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 7, 2015
  3. lovemyspaniel

    lovemyspaniel New Member Partner Registered

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    Many thanks, lots of great tips :)
     
  4. The Dog House - Watford

    The Dog House - Watford New Member Registered

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    Hi there,

    I hope you found some of the advice useful. Let us know if any of the tips The Dog House Title.png have worked for you.

    www.tdhwatford.com
     

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