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How To Groom A Difficult Dog

Author: Chris Chamberlin

Advice on grooming a difficult dog "I don't know how you do it," my grooming clients say. "He just yelps and carries on like I am going to kill him!" Over the past twenty plus years as a groomer I have heard over and over again from my customers that they can't get Fido to sit still long enough to brush him, never mind put up with a bath.

Guess what, the majority of the time they do it for me too. The reason I can get the lil' darlin' to mind is simple. Dogs, and especially spoiled dogs, are no different than children. They tend to test the babysitter and if they can get away with their antics, they will do everything to do so. In my shop they can't. It is not because I use drugs to knock them out; however, I have had clients who have had the vet sedate their dog before coming to me.

(Generally, I find them even more difficult when sedated and harder to guess when they might snap as their reactions come without warning.)

The dogs discover that with gentle handling and a firm commanding voice, there is no choice for them but to behave.

Specialized equipment is essential.

Without a grooming arm attached to the grooming table, I would require an extra set of hands. Most dogs don't like company while being groomed and become even more agitated when there is more than one person handling them. Sometimes a Velcro muzzle will actually calm down a dog who is prone to nipping your fingers while you are detangling his coat or clipping his nails. When they realize that their teeth are rendered ineffectual they are forced to sit and watch.

Be Patient Trying to Groom a Difficult Dog!

Patience is key. Consistency will train him readily. Reward him with praise for good behavior and don't allow bad behavior to go unchecked. If his struggles become a full blown war of wits between you both, then no one wins. Put him in a crate so you can cool off and he can calm down, but make certain you go right back and end with you accomplishing even the smallest victory. So today he sat through a half hour of brushing and you told him what a good boy he was; tomorrow you can stretch it out and maybe trim two nails. The most important part of training him for grooming is for him to relax so you can do the job. Once he can trust, it won't hurt, and that, in fact, he even likes the attention, and then you can get the same results as you would by sending him to the groomer ( well almost, read previous articles on styling etc. for perfection).

Our devoted canine companions want nothing more out of life than to be with you and for you to be happy with them. They live to please us no matter if we pull tangles out of a matted coat or not. Not getting tangles out is more of a disservice to out four-legged friends that you can imagine, from skin problems to an even more nasty temperament due to being uncomfortable. So if you wouldn't let your kids go without combing their hair, brushing their teeth or having a bath, Don't let your dog get away with it either.

Happy grooming! Chris