Grooming the dog who doesn't want to be groomed.

                                 So much grooming with a full coated poodle puppy and the beach.

With brush in hand you approach your dog; they in turn and head for the hills.  Another fight is about to begin as you embark on the grooming that must be done.  Does your dog hate grooming?  Many dogs do for many different reasons.  Some hate the pulling and tugging that goes on; others may not like the idea of being made to stay in one spot and then some just hate anything to do with the whole touch thing.  So what are you to do?  It has to be done. 

Elsa hates to be brushed; she doesn't mind nails, ears or trimming but pull out the brush and she makes herself scarce.  I believe it is due to the fact that she had such a huge coat when she was young.  Lots and lots of brushing and mats, oh those wonderfully unavoidable mats.  Many nights were spent watching t.v. and combing mats.  The big hair was short lived and we are both much happier about it.  I hate spending our time together working on mats when we could just be having fun; and she is much happier not being tugged on. 

If you have a dog that hates all or a particular part of the grooming regime then you have work to do.  Of course you cannot make them love it; but you can most definitely create a tolerable scenario.  Treats, yummy, yummy treats is the way to happy grooming.  That and a calm, relaxed and enjoyable environment in which the grooming is done.  By starting over, breaking it all down to very small pieces of enjoyable grooming you can then build a new feeling around grooming.  Take the yummiest treats that you can think of, steak, chicken, jerky, cheese and break it into lots of pieces.  The pieces can be very small, just enough for your dog to know that they are eating something great. 

If your dog is really bad about grooming then start with just having the brush or nail clippers in hand and treat.  Then work on clipping one nail or brushing only once and treat.  Stay calm, this is suppose to be enjoyable.  Keep that "zen" thought in your head while you approach your task of creating a positive experience.  One brush, one treat, another brush, another treat, you get the idea.  Only move onto more brushing between treats once you have success.  When your dog is relaxing, then you can build.  Baby steps is the only way to undo what is already engrained as a negative.  If the negative is all about nail clipping then just work on holding your dog's paw and treating.  Once they are okay with that, then move onto touching a nail with the clippers, treats.  It could take weeks or months to get to their.  That's okay, take the time, it is worth it. 

Force a groom with physical restraint and you are going to create a big dislike for the activity.  The more a dog fights, the more you hold on which causes more fight in a dog.  It is a vicious circle of dread.  You hate it, your dog hates it, it's a lose, lose. 

Elsa still gets treats throughout a groom, although very few.  Both Luke and Elsa get a treat after having their nails done, why not?   Knowing they will get a treat creates a happy aura around something that they do not enjoy.  It's a win, win and that's what we are striving for.