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Discussion Starter #1
I've been working for MONTHS to get Caeda desensitized to the hair drier and it doesn't seem to be working. The best I've got so far is that she gets this "cautious" look if it is pointed at her from about 2 feet away, and I'm not kidding, this took months. If I get overzealous and get it a teeny bit closer she'll skitter away, and if I persist during the session (even by backing up a bit) she'll start barking at it and take off.
So basically two questions: at what point do I just give up and not use a hair drier? Is air-drying (after some towel drying of course) bad for the skin/coat?

This problem desensitizing her to the hair drier is also a problem with a dremmel (I wanted to use it for her nails) and the vacuum, whether it is pointed at her or not (I SO wish I could get a pet vacuum attachment!).

Thoughts anyone? She seems to be blowing her coat and brushing just isn't keeping up, so I was hoping a bath would help a little....but I'm not sure about the drying part. I've let her air dry in the past, but its pretty cool out these days!
 

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If air drying was bad for dogs, I think there would be a whole lot more sick dogs out there! I don't imagine it matters at all and I suspect the vast majority of home-bathed dogs are air-dried to no ill effect. Just towel dry thoroughly (we go through about three towels, but Biscuit has long, absorbent fur) and then keep her warm inside until she dries off. No big deal.
 

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Get a grooming table and arm, and get her used to being on that and in the noose. Have lots of treats and do short grooming sessions where you handle her feet, brush her out and so on, all on the table. Then get a helper in another room to start the dryer, and turn it off, then do the same in the room, then on her. Are you using a human hairdryer? They do get hot and some dogs don't like them. Once she's ok with the table, and then the dryer being on in the room, you can do short bursts across her body or get someone else to do it while you work on her head and feed treats and reward, and she should get used to it.

If she's got the option to run away, then she's likely going to, not all dogs like the dryer or getting groomed to begin with. If she learns she's not going to get killed and can't run off when she thinks she's finished, then she's going to be more likely to just put up with it.

The other thing you could do is take her in to get groomed where they can work on her with it, as in have her go sit in a crate at the groomer's for a few hours with a good bone to chew while the cage driers are going, then bath and cage drier on with her bone and so on. I find most of the dogs that don't like the cage driers have a little tantrum, realize nobody's going to save them and curl up and sleep with the dryer blasting away. Then we have to go convince them to sleep in another position to dry the other parts of them.
 

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Put her on a leash. Sit on floor, and hold dryer in one hand, and leash in the other. Bend knees, so you can put the dryer between your knees, to hold it. (It helps if the dog is between you and a wall, so they can't pull too far away. You want to be able to allow the leash to be slack at times) Turn dryer on not aiming it at dog. Give dog treat. Turn dryer off. Let relax for a minute. Repeat. Repeat until dog doesn't react.

Do this a couple of times a day, until dog doesn't react.

Then start briefly aiming at dog (on the "cool" setting, with a diffuser if your dryer has one), and treat, then aim away. You want to treat during the "scary" parts of the exercise, as opposed to when the scary part is done. The scary part needs to be associated with a treat.

Repeat until dog is no longer reacting. Try to practice a couple of times a day.

Increase length of time you actually blow it on the dog gradually. Try to avoid blowing it on face initially. A shoulder or side is usually easier.

The method above works for dogs that are really freaked out by a dryer. In general, just having a leash on them so they can't leave, and going slowly, and treating, usually will get a dog to allow themselves to be blow dried in one session.

You can do the same thing with a dremel. Start with getting the dog to sit and giving you a paw. massage paw/toenails. Treat. Use a key word like "touch" or relax right before you touch the nail. Then treat after touching it. Then put dremel beside you and repeat process. Then turn on dremel (hold between your knees if you need an extra 'hand"), and pick up paws. Treating as you do it. Eventually, touch nail with dremel turned off. Then do each nail with dremel turned off. Then turn on dremel and touch one nail with it. Then treat. Gradually increase what you do, as the dog becomes more relaxed. Don't go to next step until dog is relaxed with previous one. Don't be afraid to have to backtrack, as you may take one step fwd, and 2 steps back at times.
I had a dog that freaked at having her paws held. Literally screamed/jumped/twisted/etc. Using the above method for a week and a half, she now sits on the floor, without a leash or collar, and will let me do each nail.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think I'll have to go with the leash idea spotted nikes. I've been doing the general desensitization with treats, and getting closer etc. in the bathroom. The leash will let me "force" her to put up with it a bit and I'll have to sit through her barking or trying to skitter away at it until she stops. She has come a long way, don't get me wrong, but its SO frustrating that I can get close enough that it will ruffle her fur a tiny bit, but definitely not enough to let me really dry her. I've been trying to get closer to her without her reacting at all, which is likely why it is taking so long.
Taking her to the groomer is a good one too. The trainer we go to is also a groomer and I can see her being pushy enough with Caeda to get her to calm down (and sometimes pushy works with Caeda). Getting a grooming table is out though....no room (or $$) for that!
I was just a little worried about the air drying since I thought it might give her some dandruff, and maybe make her itchy.
I'll keep going with the desensitization, push it a little more (but with TONS of treats), and air dry for now. If the bath will get rid of some of that fur she's dropping everywhere I really don't want to wait for her to be good with the drier!!
 

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You can also close her in the bathroom with you while you dry your hair, to get her used to the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
You can also close her in the bathroom with you while you dry your hair, to get her used to the sound.
I've actually been doing that fairly regularly since she was about 9-10 weeks old (she's now a couple days away from a year old!) which is why I'm really getting frustrated with how long this is taking to desensitize her. I don't think I've traumatized her with the drier but this desensitization is taking such a long time. At least now she doesn't automatically bark when it gets turned on, but if its pointed her way she skitters and if I don't pull it back she starts barking and wanting to pounce.
Ahhh well....maybe I'll do another desensitization session or two with her today and bathe her tomorrow whether I can dry her or not :p
 

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I do this thing with the towel that allows me to hold my dog, but also covers there ears and eyes but not the nose. I use the blow dryer on his lower body and sit on the floor while holding him a bit to the rest of the neck and tummy area. then hand dry his face with the towel.
 

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Agree with the leash. You can always lower the exposure to the dryer when you are using it, just be watchful like you have been all along. Be matter of fact even if you do need to bail out earlier in a session than you were hoping for. Max doesn't mind the dryer or the dremel if I just DO IT, no poor baby you are so scared nonsense. I suspect she thinks the whole thing is a fun game now.

Air drying is fine. If the temperature outside is over 60*F or so I will bathe Max and walk him dry brushing through every few minutes.
 

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I've never used a dryer on Kit. She dries just fine in a heated room after the initial towel-off. Be sure to brush once the dog is thoroughly dry, though - you'll get a lot more hair.
 

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It usually takes three of us...one to hold the dog, one to dispense treats, one to blow dry. My dogs have long hair, so I cant let them air dry, or it gets knotted. I aim to get the hair closest to the skin dried well, at least. the rest usually dries while theyre running through the house in a panic once we're done:)
It seems ridiculous that it takes that much work to dry a 5 lb dog, but, well, it is what it is. Ziva sees danger everywhere.....lol
 

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There are many dogs that no matter how long you take, or how hard you try, some things are not going to be their favorite thungs to do. They are a dog, and you have to decide what harmless things they are just going to have to put up with. I agree with the leash idea. Restrain her and just do it. When she realizes that trying to run away, howling, and other tantrums arent going to work she will be tolerant of it. She may never like it, but sometimes in life everyone and every thing has to do something they dont prefer. It may take awhile because she has learned that you stop when she throws a fit or runs away. So she will test you for a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had been hoping to get her doing it voluntarily, partially so she might come to like it or tolerate it on her own and partially so I wouldn't force her to do it so much she hates it.
I did try a training session with the leash yesterday though. Worked wonders. She doesn't like it but she did indeed settle down a LOT after initially trying unsuccessfully to skitter away. I still gave her lots of treats though, good ones. I don't think I traumatized her or anything (I don't think she could be traumatized....just not in her personality lol), she didn't like it but she definitely tolerated it better than I had expected. Her "testing" only lasted about a minute, VERY short for her!
Probably going to bathe her today, if I can get her to settle for the drier fantastic, if not, lots of towels it is!
Oh, and someone asked about what kind of drier I'm using. It is a human hair drier but it has a "cool" setting that doesn't send any heat at all, and also a "low" which is minimal heat. I've been mostly using the "cool" setting for these training sessions, at least when I can keep my finger on the button while juggling her leash and treats lol.
Thanks everybody, I'm glad I pushed her a little bit, I should have known it would take that.
 

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If you can, buy a "Sham Wow" at Walgreens/target/walmart (or those turban things advertised on tv). It will pull a lot of water out of the coat, so you will only have to use the blow dryer minimally.
 

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Since you are only using a human dryer,,I would let her air dry til slightly damp, then dry her, at the skin, as it will be the last to dry, and that is the most important part. Goung to take eons to dry a Swissie from wet with a human dryer. May want to invest in a more proper dog high velocity dryer in the future. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
If you can, buy a "Sham Wow" at Walgreens/target/walmart (or those turban things advertised on tv). It will pull a lot of water out of the coat, so you will only have to use the blow dryer minimally.
AH! I've got three of these! Don't know why it never occurred to me!
Graco22, you've got a good point about the hair drier! I read the thread about the high velocity driers and the shop vac...I may drag out our shop vac and clean it out one of these days and try that.
I actually just bathed her and gave the drying a try, Let her shake out for a half an hour then started with the human drier. I'm SO glad I pushed the issue with the drier a bit, she gave in and let me do it. I gave her a beef knuckle part of the way through too and she gnawed on that while I dried her. She kept trying to move away but not too hard. She's not completely bone dry, but I got her pretty good close to the skin except right by her neck, she REALLY doesn't want the blow drier there so I towel dried her best I could there.
Exciting day for her! Running out the front door and coming back, then getting a bath and blow dry, whew. lol
 

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AH! I've got three of these! Don't know why it never occurred to me!
Graco22, you've got a good point about the hair drier! I read the thread about the high velocity driers and the shop vac...I may drag out our shop vac and clean it out one of these days and try that.
I actually just bathed her and gave the drying a try, Let her shake out for a half an hour then started with the human drier. I'm SO glad I pushed the issue with the drier a bit, she gave in and let me do it. I gave her a beef knuckle part of the way through too and she gnawed on that while I dried her. She kept trying to move away but not too hard. She's not completely bone dry, but I got her pretty good close to the skin except right by her neck, she REALLY doesn't want the blow drier there so I towel dried her best I could there.
Exciting day for her! Running out the front door and coming back, then getting a bath and blow dry, whew. lol
That is awesome that it went well today. It will go better and better every time. :) Just be consistant about what you allow or don't allow during the process, and she will "get" it in no time. :)
 
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