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How to make grooming a GOOD experience?

1296 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Groomer5220
Hi there,

I've had my 9 week old Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix since Monday and today I thought I'd give brushing her a try. I bought a Wahl "Puppy Slicker" to use on her. I let her sniff the brush first, then started to brush down her back. She acted sort of nervous at first, but then started yelping and crying as though the brush was trying to kill her.

How do you make brushing a good experience?

So far my opinion of her is that she is pretty timid over all, but once she warms up she loves to cuddle. I think she has some confidence issues, but I'm hoping once shes in some puppy classes she'll loosen up.
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Grooming is an experience you have to work slowly at; and it can take longer for some to 'enjoy' the groom.

I'm not sure how hard the bristles are on the Wahl brushes, so I can't assume that they are too harsh for her delicate skin. Perhaps brush a little lighter next time, and see what happens.

If it doesn't seem to be the brush itself, you just gotta stick it out. Start by sitting her on a high surface (like a washer\dryer) so handling her is easier. Have a treat on hand that she enjoys.

Treat her for sitting calmly on the 'table'. Then set her back on the floor.

Put her on the table again, sit her down, treat. Then bring out the brush, and simply let her sniff. Treat. Set her back on the floor. Gradually start actually touching her with the brush, while treating her. Work until she sits calmly for a brush session. Always stop a session before she gets nervous\anxious.
My dogs have got constantly better at being groomed. I usually tell them I'll give them a treat if they are good. I usually use some small hot dog pieces,ham, bologna,turkey or any lunch meat. Then they focus on the treat and not so much on the operation at large. Sometimes if they are getting a little tired, I give them a couple of pieces before we're done. Try it and see if it works on your pup, David
We went the treat way as well. They know they are going to get one of their special grooming treats after grooming is done. It's a treat they LOVE, but only get on bath day.

I told Sophie the other day it was time for her bath and instead of trying to run away she ran up to me and sat down in her "treat position." It was too cute. I bathe them in my walk in shower and any time I leave the door open Annie is sure to be found in the shower almost like she's hoping it's bath time so she can get her special treat.

The brush makes a difference too. I finally found the prefect brush and it made a world of difference in getting them to stay still when brushing them out.
One thing: cat food.

Okay, not just cat food, but any treat that your dog would die for. For Chloe, this happens to be cat food.

When Chloe was young and I would try to brush her or trim her nails, she would growl and try to bite. I couldn't have any of that. So, I got two handfuls of cat food and went to work. I would brush for a second, treat with some cat food. Brush for another second, treat for some cat food. Trim a nail, treat with some cat food. This worked even better when I had someone else giving out the cat food, so then it would be while I was brushing or trimming, and it kept her attention elsewhere.

Now Chloe is a pro. She'll jump up onto the grooming table all by herself and stay on it until I tell her to get off. She lets me trim her nails, clean her ears, and blow dry her without any fuss. She allows clippers to be placed on her to shave out her feet and give her a potty patch. She will even let me brush out tangles now, which used to be cause of some serious growling and biting.

I still randomly reward her for being a good girl. She had a particularly nasty tangle one day, so as I brushed it out I let her chew on a peice of lunch meat that I held in my other hand. She was very happy.
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I have an Aussie too and what I did was let my dog get used to the brush for a few days by putting it in front of her and just letting her sniff it....eventually get a treat and slowly brush an easy part of fur that isnt delicate!
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