How to Train Your Dog to like Grooming
Dogs think whenever you get him to a groomer, “What is my hooman up to? Is he going to kill me? Nah. Maybe he will torture me with those things because I tore up his books today and knocked down the dustbin?” This seems to be true. I’ve heard many pet parents say their dogs hate being groomed.
There is a reason why a whole industry exists around grooming animals, especially pets. The thought of using unfamiliar tools to groom your pet on sensitive body parts makes you leave this task to professionals.
Well, a dog doesn’t like to be groomed, but you can certainly make him like it or at least tolerate it and make him believe that there’s nothing to worry. I have mentioned steps for introducing your pooch to brushing, nail clipping, and tooth brushing so that your canine buddy will love being groomed when you go to the professionals.
Train Your Dog to Get Brushed
Not all dogs love to be brushed. If your pooch as a pup doesn’t have much practice with brushing, he may be suspicious when you introduce him to the brush for the first time. The key to making grooming a smooth experience is brushing slowly, with positive and non-threatening interactions.
The first thing to do is make familiar your dog with the tool, let him make friends with it. Introduce it as his new toy. Place it on the ground and put some high value treats around and top of it. This way you will encourage him to investigate this new object at their comfort and speed.
Go slow when you’re starting with it. Some dogs get scared by even a simple act of reaching for him with the brush. So next time, work on reaching out with the brush to touch your pooch’s skin with the tips of the bristles very lightly. Keep practicing it unless your dog stops reacting and ok with it. And yes, don’t forget to give him a treat followed by each of your effort to touch him with the brush.
After you master the previous step, you can now gently start with an easy light brush stroke. Follow every alternative stroke with treats. Over the course of time, your dog will get accustomed to it. Now take 5-6 strokes in a row followed by a treat and slowly stop treats.
Edwin from Petlovesbest has a piece of good advice on this: “Touch sense is important for dogs to socialize with his pack and other canine friends, and therefore, touching his sensitive areas with brush bristles can make them anxious, so go slow with it.”
Introducing Your Dog to Nail Clipping and Grinding
The technique remains the same with nail clipper: make him friends with the tool before you approach your dog with it to cut his nails. This can be a gamechanger whether your pooch will tolerate having his nails clipped or not. So making him familiar with the tool is really important here.
You should be concerned with what can go wrong while clipping. A dog’s nails are very easy to cut too close to the quick causing pain and even bleeding. If you have never clipped a dog’s nail, you should keep a close eye on the other people clipping their dogs’ nails. And if you’re still not sure, you can use electric dog nail grinder, which works like a turbo-charged, motor-driven nail file.
Place a grinder or clipper on the ground and throw some high-value treats around and top of it. If it’s a grinder, turn it on so that it will give a hint of its sound and your dog can relate it with the treats. But make sure you’re holding the grinder keeping it steady.
Like we discussed in the previous section the desensitizing process of brush, do the same desensitization for reaching out to her toes with nail clipper/grinder.
Gently touch clipper to his nails followed by rewards. And in the case, you’re using a grinder, keep it turned “off,” and after some regular practice of nail-touching, you can turn the grinder on.
Next, move to nail clipping or grinding process. The process sometimes requires a distraction. If your pooch wants to eat something, try to paste some peanut butter or baby food on a fridge door or a tile on the front wall. It will be a good distraction, and he will get something to focus on while you do the job. A puzzle toy with delicious treats will also work.
Training Your Dog to Accept Tooth Brushing
Brushing teeth is important for dogs! It keeps their mouth clean and fresh which helps them avoid a diseased mouth later in life, and also keep their overall health well. However, although a vet’s advice about brushing your dog’s teeth, many of you don’t do it often. Here is how you can make a good habit of it.
In this case, you don’t have to desensitize the toothbrush first.
Put a dab of peanut butter or baby food on your finger and let your doggie have a smell of it. Make him open his mouth and place your finger inside and rub his teeth, one or two at a time.
As your dog gets accustomed to it, try to cover a larger section of his teeth with the food.
After repeating this procedure for long enough, you can switch to toothpaste and use a dog toothbrush. However, you should never use ‘human toothpaste’ as it contains harmful contents to dogs.
This was how you should make your dog familiar to the grooming devices. Here are some more tips.
Choose a time when your doggie is a little weary and a little hungry. The thing is you want your dog to stand still for a while and to accept food and treats from you when you initiate grooming procedure. However, make sure your dog is not exhausted because he shouldn’t fall asleep while a grooming session.
Seek a quiet and calm space around your house where you can spend some alone time with him. The room where you are going to groom your dog should be isolated enough that there is no other distraction for you and your pooch.
Keep grooming sessions short. When you and your dog are just beginning with grooming, the total time taken to groom is more important than the frequency of it. That said, you should increase the no. of grooming sessions instead of doing it for a longer time. A session should not last more than 1-2 minutes when your pooch is new to grooming.
Dogs thriving in the wild had never been groomed. Considering that, each of your grooming device or tool makes them think they are vulnerable to unknown threats that touch sensitive parts of their body. Follow the tips and instructions to make your dog familiar to the tools and for smooth grooming experience.
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