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Discussion Starter #1
Myrrh is the first young puppy I've had. All my other dogs tolerated grooming, or were experts in liking it because they were formerly owned by a groomer.

How do I get my puppy to accept the brush? She's a heinz 57- her coat is soft but medium length with a double coat. So far I've kept sessions short and let her sniff the brush. She thinks the brush is great chewing fun. Do I keep plugging away with treats and short sessions?

What worked for you? How long did it take (approximately)? Thanks in advance!
 

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What you're looking for is called cooperative care or desensitization training. I'll try to describe the process, but there's lots of great YouTube videos - and even an online Fenzi Dog Training Academy class on the former. You've essentially got the concept, but the hardest part is breaking it down into really small steps and going slowly enough that the dog stays relaxed and happy. I say, being an impatient person myself who has to be really strict with myself to do this properly! It's something I'm working through with Sam now, at 5 years old, and it's taking us a while, but that's probably due to him now having a long history of grooming being annoying and unpleasant. My bad entirely.

Marker training is what I find easiest to do this with. A clicker if you're familiar with that, but otherwise just pick a word like "yes" or "good" to mark the exact moment you're rewarding, followed immediately by a treat. You start as you are, marking when the dog looks or interacts with the brush. When the dog is relaxed and happy to engage in this awesome game, you can start touching the brush to a body part, mark (whatever the dog's reaction is) and treat. If Myrrh seems really uncomfortable with this, slow down farther. Bring the brush towards her but don't touch, and reward for that. You'll graduate to light, tiny brush strokes, and just keep adding more and more as slowly (or quickly) as she finds each step to be fun and comfortable.

This may mean not actually brushing her thoroughly for a bit. If her coat will be fine with that, it's all good. But if she mats and tangles, do something to make the "necessary" grooms noticeably and consistently different to her than the training grooms. Use a different brush or comb, bring her to a different room, etc. and slowly fade that out as you can do more and more with the "fun" grooms. This will help you avoid undoing your progress by keeping the "fun" grooms safe and happy and allow her to set the pace.
 

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THANK YOU so much for your tips :D !! Clicker training is my favorite way of training. I will definitely try giving it a shot when desensitization training Myrrh to grooming :) Thank heavens she doesn't mat horribly, if at all. She does like to meander into the grass and her coat picks up twigs and stuff. Gives me an excuse to practice grooming her.

Again- Many thank yous!
 

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You're welcome! I often wish I'd been more on top of things when Sam was a puppy. But, live and learn. He tolerates grooming but doesn't enjoy it, which for a poodle is just kind of sad and unnecessarily stressful imo. I've gotten some improvement, but I bet a pup will pick up on it way faster!
 

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When I'm teaching mine to accept grooming, I use clicker training but, I also give them a chew they love and, only get while being groomed or bathed. I make it all a special treat for them, a reward for being good all week since mine only need weekly grooming and monthly baths. I have had to skip one for misbehaving, they learn, be good and you get that brushing, washing treat thing "mom" does.
 

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I smear peanut butter on something. Bath time? Peanut butter all over the walls of the tub. Brushing? Peanut butter on a plate. Nails? Peanut butter on a plate. My dog never had a huge issue with being handled, though, so an extra good treat to distract him always worked well. Now, at nearly 3 years old he mostly stands still on his own for brushing because he enjoys it, but bath time and nails trims still require a bribe. I think it is normal for puppies to want to use the brush as a toy, however, haha.

But if your pup really hates being handled, go slowly like DaySleepers described. Get him used to things like a blow dryer, being toweled dry, different types of brushes, having his ears and paws handled.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone for your tips! Gonna try peanut butter on a plate for nails. Myrrh doesn't mind her feet handled, but it might be different once the nail clipper comes out.
 

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Good luck! Clicker? I have enough trouble with brush and cookies. If you use it remember to keep it away from ears. I'd be clicking right in the poor dog's ear if I tried using one!

Bucky had some minor but impressive looking mats and dew claws grown through his pads when he arrived and he loves getting brushed and nails dremelled now. It's the treats not the clicker that work for me.
 
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