How to groom an unwilling dog

Posted by pitglassie
Mar 29, 2009
Ihave a Bichon Havanese who has very long hair and hates bathing/grooming. :mad:I live in Bulgaria and only the vet will groom dogs but they anaesthetise them first.:mad: I dont want to do this to him but I don't know how to groom properly and he gets very dirty and tangled, he also nips when being bathed/groomed. He is white and gets brown stains below his eyes and round his mouth. He is only 10 months old. Can anyone help?
Posted by LetsPlay
Apr 2, 2009
Hi there,

having your dog anesthetized is a big thing and not something that should happen all the time if it's not absolutely necessary. It will be very traumatic for your dog if he has to go through it all the time.

Have you considered clipping him, as in having his hair cut very short so he doesn't need grooming all the time?

You could also try to make grooming time more pleasant by feeding him little treats whenever he holds still for a moment. The more regular you do the grooming, the less painful it would be. Don't use a fine brush, but start with a wide comb to get all the rough bits out first. Try to be gentle.

Good luck.
May 19, 2009
My jojo has always had an attitude problem when he is in discomfortbut he has always let the groomer give him haircuts. I usually have him cut short since he does not like to be groomed much. He would not let the groomer give him a hair cut last timetried to bite her. So i went and got him. He will get into the shower with me to bathe him but forget about me trying to use a clippers on him. He let me trim his head a bit with a good scissors but won't let me near his face!! He is becoming this giant furball and looks pretty rough! My vet won't give us a tranquilizer for him to go to the groomer. Any suggestions? I have all the right tools but he won't let me use them on him.
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 9, 2009
Grooming can be very stressful for a dog especially if they are in pain or in an unusual and scary environment such as at the vets or up on big tables or around the loud noises of equipment etc. It is possible to calm your dog without sedating it with fairly natural remedies. I would recommend trying ready-relief the herbal drop used to calm people and children if they are available in your area (ask your vet), or a DAP spray or plug in. DAP stands for dog appeasing pheromone and is a pheromone given off my nursing mother dogs which calms dogs.

Also try changing the grooming environment, set up somewhere level, safe and as low as possible for your dog to stand while grooming. Try and make it a bit of a game so it is not so overwhelming for your dog. Bring the scissors near it and if it is still and relaxed give it a treat and praise. If it is aggressive ignore it for a minute while keeping yourself out of harms way. As the dog gets used to scissors near it try to let the scissors touch its fur again praising and treating if it is calm. Continue in little steps until you can clip a little hair. If the dog become very agitated always go back a step. Don't push for too much at once, keep the sessions short and regular so the dog is used to scissors near it often. (If you prefer to have your dog groomed at a professional premises ask them if they will let you bring your dog in regularly for short periods to do this desensitization). Always keep the sessions as fun as possible and if you see your dog is getting bored and restless come back to the grooming in a little while, you want to end each session on a positive note with good behavior and praise so don't let the dog get to the point where it is bored and being naughty and end the session angrily.

Remember if at any time you feel you are unsafe you can still do this procedure but put a comfortable yet safe muzzle on the dog (you may need to get the dog used to the muzzle in a similar desensitization way first or the dog will associate the scary muzzle with the scary grooming and the problem will be increased).

I hope this helps, let me know how you all get on.
Posted by KOPsarah
Jun 9, 2009
As an extra note if your dog is already badly matted and painful it may be in its best interest for it to be anesthetized and shaven short as a one off. This will make your desensitization training easier as you can start when the dog is not in pain and when its grooming needs can be much more easily managed with the regular short sessions.