My chow decided not to be groomed anymore / dog muzzle size

Topics, guidelines and tips for coat and skin care and grooming Chow Chows.

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My chow decided not to be groomed anymore / dog muzzle size

Post by » Mon Sep 12, 2005 8:04 am


I am a newbie in this forum. My chow is 13 months old, male. He is generally quite obedience and use to love being groomed.

It happened one day, came over waiting to be groomed, sat facing
away from me, when I touched him with the rake, he growled once,
turned around and bit me in a few places within 5 seconds. Ever
since, he wouldn't let me groomed him again nor approach him
while holding a brush / rake.

My vet and groomer suggest that I put a muzzle on him. I tried
the recommend size (7.5" snort), but I found it too tight, doesn't
allow him to pant easily. I am thinking of going to 8.5" size,
would this be still to small? Does anyone have any experience
in using a muzzle on their chow?

Any ideas that I could solve this grooming problem? (Aside
from taking him to the groomer once a week)

All suggestions welcome.

Many thanks.


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Post by Rogansmommy » Mon Sep 12, 2005 4:34 pm

Hi Patrick:

First I want to say welcome to this forum. Everyone here is really great, and I hope you stay.

I am sorry that your boy bit you. I hope you corrected him into next year. I think the issue is bigger than a muzzle. Your boy currently thinks he has a large degree of dominance over you. Before you move forward you need to correct that. I would get him into a basic obedience class immediately. Also, find a trainer who uses a NILF (Nothing in Life is Free) training method. This works incredibly well with dominant breeds (rotties, chows, etc...). One of the things I've done with my dogs (a male chow and a female rott) when they are 'naughty' is put them in an enforced down and then stand over them. Another is to put them in a down (or sit) and feed them their dinner -- one crunchy at a time. This lets them know who is in charge and again, puts you in a position of dominance.

I have used a muzzle on Rogue many times. He is not a big fan of getting his nails cut. Typically, I like a tight muzzle, however, the thing I've noticed is that, because of their head shape, they can get out of it, unless you have a person holding the muzzle tightly above the ears. :? This can get tricky. I always have Rogue's nails cut at the vet; I take the muzzle/head because if anyone is going to get bitten, I would prefer it to be me. Thankfully, he's always believed I am dominant over him, so I've never been put in that situation. My husband? Well, that's another story... :roll:

^Rogan^ at the Bridge on 5/16/09 -- always in my heart


Post by IliamnasQuest » Tue Sep 13, 2005 12:26 am

Hi Patrick -

Sorry to hear that you've been bit. It's hard to have trust when your dog does something like that.

A muzzle is a temporary "fix" but may be necessary at this time. You probably either need to go to a basket type muzzle (to allow panting) or a relatively snug muzzle. If you use a loose fabric muzzle, your dog will probably still be able to bite.

But even more so is the necessity to work on behavior overall, which I'm sure you know! The best advice I can give you is to find a behaviorist who will help you through this. Your dog shouldn't be able to tell you that he doesn't want groomed - it's just plain not his choice. A good behaviorist will give you a series of exercises to work on that will establish you as the "leader" of the pack, and will reinforce him for good behaviors while discouraging "bad" behaviors.

You can start out by using every bit of his food, his toys, his freedom, his desire for attention, etc. and make him work for it all. He wants fed? You touch him, he gets a piece of food. He wants out the door to pee? You touch him (maybe even with the rake) and he gets to go out. If he doesn't accept it, he doesn't get what he wants. It would be handy to have a leash on him or a pen you can put him (indoors) so that you have a way to control him in case he erupts into biting again.

All dogs should accept touching in any form from their owners. I have five, and I'm able to pull their fur anywhere on their bodies, trim their nails, open their mouths and take food out (including raw meat and bones), take their toys, groom them in whatever way I want, etc. I get this by establishing my place as the "alpha bitch" .. *L* .. and then reinforcing their behavior when they allow me to do these things that they really don't want. I haven't been bitten in a long long time, and that was by someone else's dog.

Good luck with this, and I hope it all works out well for you both.


Post by Guest » Tue Sep 13, 2005 6:08 am


Many thanks for the welcome and suggestions.

I had him (Mo-mo) evaluated by a several professional dog trainers, and
they response are similar, i.e. having Mo-mo and I go through a 2-3 weeks residence obedience training would help, but no guarantee that we would solve the grooming problem.

They interesting thing is that Mo-mo is quite obedience, he listens and response well to sit, down, sit-stay, down-stay. Although I haven't taught him to heel, he generally walk by my side without pulling. Also, I could
take a bone from his mouth without any growl (knock on wood ...) and "rough" his fur with my hand anyway I want it, as long as it is not a
brush or rake.

I think you have made an excellent suggestion, that I should try
touching him with the brush before I take him out, feed him, give
him his toy etc.


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