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Nanuq is a very fearful dog in general. We got her in October from a rescue. We really don't have any history on her but based on behavior we suspect abuse. She is terrified of being brushed. When we got her her coat was thin and had been shaved down a bit to remove mats. Her coat now is thick and amazing. Unfortunately she is now blowing her undercoat and desperately needs a good brushing. I am at my wits end. If you pick up a brush she runs into her crate and hides. I have tried sitting on the floor and petting her with the brush just sitting next to her. I have even tried "brushing" her gently
with the smooth back side of the brush. She does ok with that but the minute I turn the brush over and actually brush she starts trying to bite me. I have tried different kinds of brushes and always try them on my arm first to make sure I am not hurting her in any way.

I have a soft grooming muzzle and have thought of just putting it on her and getting the brushing over with. I hate to think of doing that everyday. I also hate the idea of putting it off until it gets badly matted. She isn't matted at this point but if she won't let me brush her soon it will turn into a nightmare. Any ideas?
 

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Actually, blowing a dog's coat out is the best way to get the undercoat out. If you can give her a bath and use a blow dryer for dogs, that would be pretty good. Having her groomed by a professional would be ideal.

Is there any kind of food she just loves? I've heard of spreading peanut butter on a pie pan and letting the dog lick it while clipping its nails. If you can give her a bully stick or something while trying to expose her to the brushing, that might help.
 

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Teach her that whenever the brush comes out, she will get a treat. Just show her the brush, then pop something tasty in her mouth.

Once you see her expecting food just by seeing the brush, move it close to her and maybe touch her with it. Don't actually brush her, just give her a treat and praise when she tolerates being touched. Then just gently press the bristle end to her side without brushing her, then give her a treat each time you do.

Move up slowly step by step like this. Eventually she should associate the brush with tons of love and food, and good things. But you'll have to go very slow, if she's so afraid of it that she's biting right now.

In the meanwhile, perhaps a muzzle+trip to the groomer's to be buzzed short is required.
 

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If you have taken the brush out, shown it to her, she has run away, etc, she has learnt by now that the brush IS actually something to be feared.

You need to start from square one, and Pai has given you some really good advice to start with.

For the immediate shedding issue, I strongly advise you to find a groomer who is experienced with difficult dogs (ask for references, if you want to). Get rid of all that undercoat, or atleast alot of it, so that you can basically start fresh at home. ;)
 

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Ruby is a very fearful dog -- she has been previously abused, so lots of things we've had to start over.

Brushing -- she was very nervous and upset at first. I got her a new brush, actually we use a comb now that has soft ends.

Also, I act very nonchalant about the whole thing. I don't give into her fear -- I model confident behavior. Over-soothing a dog confirms to them that they should be afraid. I'm businesslike, but also give her praise occassionally, but not too much.

We've been doing Dremel desensitizing and I put a treat on it from day one. She is a very fearful dog, but loves the Dremel and its noise because she associates it with treats.

You might want to get a new brush and put a favorite treat on it. I've been using hotdogs. Put lots of treats on it the first time but don't put the brush to her coat. The next time do this but add moving it in the air, treating generously. Then touch her a couple times, don't brush, and treat. This approach has worked so well with Ruby and the Dremel.

Also, I groom Ruby every other day. I brush her teeth, clean her face/beard, brush her with grooming spray and put on her cologne. I just have a routine, and she's learned that at the end she'll get a treat. She's tolerating it very well. It's taken her about a month to get used to it, but she knows what to expect and is fine.

Good luck, I know it can be really hard!!
 

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some good advice with the training aspect has been given to yuo, i would def. try all that stuff. i had a couple other suggestions.

before you even try brushing or anything, take her for a long walk/jog. basically get her tired. you have no idea what a difference it makes when the dog is too tired to fight with you.

what best in show said about not giving into the fear is spot on. every time you flinch, move away, over sooth, all you are doing is training your dog to be fearful. if she makes a fight and then you stop, she learns that that is what she has to do to make the brushing stop. be completely confident, and almost indifferent to the protests. remember, brushing does not hurt her, so there is no reason to feel bad or coddle. im actually SHOCKED at how many dogs come to me, the owner says they are awful and refuse to be groomed, but they give me no problem. the reason being, i dont expect bad behavior and i dont put up with it. dogs know real quick what they can and cant get away with.

i highly recommend calling around to some groomers and explaining the issue. most will have no problem trying to groom the dog, and then telling you want to do from then on. it would probably be a lot easier for you. the groomer can blow out the undercoat. you do not want to wait until the dog is matted, b/c then the grooming will not be a good experiance.

once the dog is groomed, it is the owners responsibility to keep up with it. with a dog as fearful as yours, there is no such thing as too much grooming. brushing the dog everyday wouldnt be a bad idea, just so she can get used to it and realize nothing bad wil happen when being brushed.
 

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I agree with a previous post. You just need to be patient and teach her that the brush is not to be feared. Have a treat in hand when you get the brush. Tell her she's a good girl when you brush her with the backside of it. Then flip it around and barely, just barely brush the top of the coat. Still praising her and giving her a treat. Slowly add pressure. When she turns to bite, correct her. When she calms down praise her again.

Also, have you tried a comb, or just a brush?
 
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