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Introducing grooming to rescue dog

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 8:17 am
by bcalm
I would appreciate some advice about introducing grooming to a rescued chow.

My 6 month puppy is a rescued dog and came to me as a timid feral puppy. We have worked very hard on socialization over the past 2 months so that she is now comfortable with us touching her and will come to us to greet us. In many ways, she has overcome her timidity and fear and is on her way to becoming a "normal" chow. \:D/

I have brushed her with a palm-type slicker brush which she tolerates for her chest, back, front legs but NOT her tail and britches. There is no way that I can brush her britches or tail as she sits on them as soon as I move to that area ("Fooled you Mom. You can't touch them if I am sitting on them, eh?") I have tried to use a rake on her with mixed success. I have cut her nails several times. I have not trimmed her feet but have been able to trim her forelegs. I have cut some mats out from her ears (there is no way that those mats were going to come out with combing or brushing in a time period that this dog would accept). We tried once to give her a bath - she HATED it. I had a handheld shower nozzle with warm water and tried only to wet her throughly by holding it into the fur. After 15 min, my husband was soaked and the puppy's down coat wasn't even wet! She doesn't like water - whether it is a shower, a bucket, a creek, a ditch or a lake.

I have read (with some envy) other advice about starting when a puppy is young getting them used to being touched and handles. Unfortunately, that is not my reality.

I would like to try again to bath her. Does anyone have advice about introducing a "tween" dog to grooming? Is a professional groomer the answer or would that make it worse for her? Is a home groomer (assuming I can find one) a better choice? What can I do at home?

Thank you all in advance!

Re: Introducing grooming to rescue dog

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:24 pm
by kingalls
I groom my two and the hind end is always an issue. I have a grooming table which helps. I usually do the back end last. One or the other will move from one side to the other to avoid me brushing the breeches. Sometimes it's the back legs held tight together so I can brush underneath. They tolerate the grooming. I don't think they will ever be comfortable with it.

Re: Introducing grooming to rescue dog

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:27 pm
by Ursa's daddy
I am not too sure about how to get a dog to like a bath. Both of mine I can put in the tub, tell them to sit, stand or what ever and they will do it. I use the hand held sprayer and start out with the back and legs. I avoid getting water on the top of their heads to keep it out of their ears. A lot of it is building trust with the dog. When I first got Ursa, she was covered with fleas. and I had to bath her. I got her at 6 weeks. The hair dryer panicked her, so I had to towel dry her. When she was a few months old, we would turn on the clippers near where we fed her just before supper time. We started about 8 feet away from the bowl, and over time moved them closer. Same thing for the hair dryer. Eventually she got used to the sound. The groomer was just around the block from the house. We would walk around the block to the groomer's. She would balk when we got close, so we would turn around and walk away for a short distance. Then we would turn around and walk back. We would reward her and praise her when she did well, and ignore it when she would get nervous. The groomer was in on the "game". Over time, she would go up to the door, then later go inside, still later, let the groomer talk to her, and finally she let the groomer give her a bath. It took a lot of conditioning and repetition, but I have a dog that can be groomed by almost any professional groomer. I have had groomers tell me that they don't groom chows, but they find that my dogs are easy to work with. We did the same thing with the vet. I have two chows that think going to the vet's is a great outing.
The key thing with chows, and for any other dog, is that the dog must recognize you as the Alpha dog or pack leader, trust you, because you know how the get food for the pack, open doors, drive automobiles, and provide a safe place and a sense of security for the pack members. You do this, and the dogs will LOVE you.
I know none of this helps you get the dog wet. We have a recirculating pet fountain, which lets them see and hear running water. It was actually gotten for the cats, but the dogs drink from it. My dogs also like to bite the stream of water when we water the plants. Have you considered having the dog in the bathroom with you while you take a bath or shower? It will let her see and hear water in action and observe that it doesn't cause you any panic or pain. The psychology is that you want to find a type of conditioning that is non threatening and lets the dog get used to hearing and seeing running water.
Let the forum know how you progress with your dog.