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Getting puppies to enjoy grooming sessions

June 9th, 2006, 07:53 AM
We are having a hard time with Princess settling in order to allow us to groom her properly. She is an extremely playful puppy and she always wants to play with the brush and bite it. As soon as she sees us reach for it she drops whatever it is that she is doing and tries to bite the brush and play with it. This makes it very difficult to groom her. She doesn't sit/stand still for a second! We have been trying to get her used to the grooming process since we've brought her home a few months ago. She is brushed every day or every other day. Now that her hair is much longer, she is more prone to tangles and we don't want that. We don't want to clip her hair short either. Any suggestions on how we can make this whole thing a little easier? She is going to have to let us do this as she is starting to look more and more like her Bichon father. Her hair is now a few inches long.

We are also having issues with Cookie, the pomeranian that just recently joined the gang. She is only 14 months old and hates the whole grooming thing too. She runs away from the brush and doesn't like it when you try to touch her with it. I believe her previous owner did groom her on occasion but I'm not too sure about her experiences with grooming, from what I can tell she hates it! Any suggestions?

I've never had problems with grooming dogs before. All my dogs have enjoyed their grooming sessions and actually looked forward to them. Misty loves her brushing! She lies there and allows me to brush her belly and she will stand and allow me to get her in all the other places. She loves the whole process, including the belly rubs and massages! She even enjoys ear cleaning and loves tooth brushing! All my previous long haired dogs loved the grooming sessions as well. How can I get Princess to realize it is not time to play and Cookie to realize that the brush is not a monster?

June 9th, 2006, 08:08 AM
I will be looking for replies too. I didn't realize that "Bite the Doggie Brush" was such a serious game ... but I do now. It's exhausting trying to groom Beau. :o

June 9th, 2006, 08:21 AM
It's exhausting trying to groom Beau.

I completely sympathize, it is exhausting. I'm hoping some members will have some great advice to offer us!

June 9th, 2006, 08:57 AM
Before you start, get your supplies together - brush, comb, etc and a supply of treats. Peanut butter or baby food is good here, as it takes time to lick and swallow - use this treat ONLY for grooming sessions.

Leash her, or tether her, so that she cannot run away. You may want to consider using a grooming table to teach her that 'this surface is for staying still and being groomed'. (Doesn't have to be one you buy, an end table or stable TV tray will do) Put her on the table, hold her in a standing position, brush ONE stroke, reward with a treat and then take her down for a game.

30 minutes later, repeat. ONE stroke, treat, leave. Once she is standing still and not fussing for one stroke, increase to two. And so on. Going slow in the initial stage will build a solid foundation for her whole life.

June 9th, 2006, 09:04 AM
How can I get Princess to realize it is not time to play and Cookie to realize that the brush is not a monster?

Princess - I'd utilize any training she knows, such as STAY & LEAVE IT. when she goes for the brush, instruct LEAVE IT, and reward when she does.

Cookie - instead of trying to brush her, let her get comfortable with the brush first. reward her for not being scared of it. My dog used to be PETRIFIED of the nail, I left them out on the coffee table in plain view for a while. Then, I put the clippers near him, gave him a treat for not running away. Gradually worked up to him smelling the clippers.. then just touching his paw w/ them (no actual clipping yet), then worked on one nail at a time. now, I can easily get quite a few done at once, no fuss.

I only brush my dog occassionally, since he has VERY short hair, but he tried biting the brush a couple times, I gave a firm LEAVE IT, and a few "AHT! AHT!" and he left it alone and let me finish the brushing.

June 16th, 2006, 08:46 PM
Thank you all for the great suggestions. We have been working on them. My mom put Princess on a table and tried grooming her. She did seem a little calmer and actually allowed to be brushed without attacking the brush in play. She is extremely playful and just thinks that the brush is another toy just like everything else! I know with time, work and patience she will learn to enjoy it.

Cookie is getting a little better with her grooming fears. Cookie is a special case though and we are going to go extremely slow with her as to not lose her trust. When she first came to us just a little while ago, she was afraid of everything and everyone. She wouldn't even eat and would not allow us to pet her much, only allowing us to touch her head and only for as long as she was comfortable with before darting off. It took a little while but now she is the most loving dog. We don't want to break her trust now so we will be going slow with her. We will be trying to desensitize her to the grooming tools as suggested.

June 17th, 2006, 07:24 AM
Your second post confirmed my thought that Cookie has trust issues, a simple exercise to help build trust, if you can lay down on the floor with her so you are in a non - threatening position, or put in a soft chair like a living room chair where she can lay down stretched out( you put a bath towel of the chair if is is fabric) with you sitting on the floor and without looking in her eyes and do gentle circular massages all over her body , for her legs hold the leg in your hand loosely using your thumb to do the massage, it does not have to be long 5 or 10 minute sessions a couple times a day, you should notice her becoming very relaxed and comfortable with this, after a few sessions you can try introducing a brush doing short gentle strokes if she become agitated set the brush aside and do more massages, you don't want to push too hard you want this to be a comfortable bonding time for both of you, where she will come to enjoy and look forward to these sessions, so at first a complete grooming done but with 14 sessions a week and working on different areas you can keep her coat manageable in time you will be able to complete more of her coat in one session and make it an enjoyable experience at the same time.

June 17th, 2006, 09:44 AM
Plan B - The Groomers! I expect Cookie has a double coat - did Princess inherit that trait has well? El will sit for us in the tub through the bathing process but that is it. We do not even attempt to trim his fur - he would look anything but like an Eskimo when we were through. Even his toe nails are like steel. I couldn't use a hair dryer on him - am dryer challenged, plus am concerned about burning his oh so delicate skin. He does not enjoy the process at the Groomer's - and with the double coat and not blowing his coat mats can develop and he is very sensitive to his own pain. But he sure does enjoy the finished result as he struts his stuff. Maybe you could get the babes professionally groomed from time to time and bathe them in between. Misty being short haired would be a dream compared to our "fluffies". Our Beagle - and of course the 10 lb. Dachshunds were so easy to groom - in and out of the sink.

June 23rd, 2006, 07:38 PM
OntarioGreys, we will definitely be working on massages. All our dogs love their massages. Massages help Misty with her arthritis. Cookie is very frightened of the brush. Just picking it up she takes off. There is no way she lets people near her with a brush. We are working on desensitizing her to it. We have managed to give her quick brushing though so that she doesn't get tangled.

SnowDancer, Cookie doesn't quite have the double coat of a Pom, she doesn't really even look like the purebred Pom. Her hair lies flat against her skin. If her previous owners hadn't told us she was a "purebred" pom, I would have sworn she is a mix, which I still believe she is. Doesn't matter though, she is just as beautiful! She does have the yappyness of a pom and much of the other traits. Getting her to be quiet is quite a task when she gets all hyped up! I will eventually upload some pictures of her.

Princess doesn't resemble a pom at all. Even the vet says that you can't see much pom in her. Most people whom she meets ask if she is a poodle due to her colouring and coat. I believe she is going to look much more like her father (Bichon) but in a cream/apricot colouring instead of the white. That's what it's looking like.

I've thought about taking them to the groomers. Misty is just so easy to groom. The only thing I really have to worry about for Misty is her undercoat and how it seems to just keep coming after I removed it, so I thought! Good thing Cookie and Misty don't require any scissoring! Princess on the other hand may need some eventually. We want to trim some of the hair around her eyes, but she doesn't sit still! We are terrified of blinding her accidently with the scissors so we are just washing the hair around her eyes everyday with a face cloth. At first she hated it, now she is getting more used to it. We will also have to scissor the hair from her bum area as we don't want anything getting stuck!