Brushing your dog is an essential part of the grooming process and can make all the difference to its health and appearance. Dogs who are brushed regularly are far more comfortable and healthy than those who aren’t.
Their coats are frequently purged of excess hair and dirt, leaving behind a healthy coat. Sometimes, dogs can be opposed to being brushed, so we’ve compiled some useful ways on how to get my dog to like being brushed. Let’s get to it.
Handling Your Dog
A useful thing to do is to teach your dog that hands are associated with positive things like toys, food, and petting. This will help them understand that being brushed is not a punishment, which is the most common reason dogs don’t like being brushed.
Hold your hand in front of your dog’s nose. Most dogs will instinctively sniff your hand to investigate. As soon as they do this, encourage them and then give them a treat or a small bit of food. Do this a couple of times around 4 to 5 times a day for a week or so.
Once your dog is confidently touching your hand without hesitation, start touching their body. Begin under the chin, then around the collar and shoulders, and back again, all the while encouraging them. Again, do this for about a week, maintaining a gentle and quiet attitude.
If your dog starts to become scared or bites, you have probably moved too quickly and will likely need to backtrack to the earlier steps. If you see that your dog is comfortable at this point, proceed by touching the areas that are not very comfortable for a dog to be touched. This can include their face, their feet, and their tails. This needs to be done slowly and with caution.
When your dog is sleeping next to you or within arms reach, gently rub them. If they are accepting, move your open hand down their leg. If your dog does anything that indicates stress, return to the previous steps.
Gradually get your dog used to being touched everywhere around their body so that they will be comfortable with grooming.
Holding Your Dog
The next step is to get your dog used to being held and restrained. This needs to be a meticulous process, especially with adult dogs, as not all dogs tolerate being held. Sit next to your dog and gently place two hands on either side of their torso, preferably over their ribs. It’s normal for your dog to attempt to initially move away and then relax.
Only do this for a few seconds at a time, then release your dog and allow them to move away. This is to condition the dog to feel relaxed when it is being touched or held. Increase the time you hold them for incrementally, giving them a treat or praise each time you let go. It is essential to note whether or not the dog is feeling stress during this time. If they are, seek professional help.
Restraining Your Dog
Once your dog is comfortable with the two previous steps, you are ready to proceed to restraint. Gently hold your dog still until they relax, being sure not to allow more than a slight amount of stress. We recommend having your dog next to you or on your lap for this step, and the hold should be extremely gentle.
Most dogs will struggle initially, twisting and writhing slightly, as they do not enjoy being held. Relax the hold, but do not let go, as doing so teaches the dog to struggle while they are being held. If they struggle for more than a couple of seconds, return to the holding stage.
The moment your dog relaxes, licks their lips, sighs, or yawns, release immediately and praise them or give them a treat.
Introducing The Brush
Once your dog has been properly conditioned to be handled and touched, it’s time to introduce the brush and other grooming equipment. Be sure to use the brush that is suited for your dog’s breed and coat.
Having treats on hand is the first step to introducing the brush to your dog. Show the brush to your dog, then give them a treat. After you’ve done this a couple of times, brush them a few times and reward them once more.
The same process should be done with nail clippers and combs. It’s imperative that you first show the tool, then give the treat, then take the item away. This forms a positive association with the treats and the act of grooming.
Teaching your dog to enjoy being brushed and to enjoy grooming, in general, can be a tiresome process. It will need your utmost patience. However, the result is incredibly rewarding and will strengthen the bond between pet and person. So follow the guide above and enjoy the process along with your pooch – if you stay calm, your dog will too!