Every dog needs to be brushed at some point in their life. If you have a long, thick haired dog like me, you may need to do it every single day.
Getting those snarls out isn’t an easy process, and if your pup is like mine, they HATE being brushed at home. I’ve been on a year’s journey to find a way to help my dog enjoy being brushed and I’m going to share 4 tips and tricks to teach your dog to enjoy being brushed that have significantly helped me.
If your dog is one of those special breeds that loves being brushed, you are one lucky duck. The rest of this article may not be for you, but please tell us in the comments what tricks work for you! Spread the knowledge.
What dogs need to be brushed often?
Some dogs have a lot of hair (maybe even multiple coats) that needs to be maintained to ensure optimum skin and hair health. These dog breeds can include (but are not limited to):
- Afghan Hound
- American Eskimo Dog
- Lhasa Apso
- Bearded Collie
- Siberian Husky
- Bichon Frise
All of these breeds have different styles of long and/or thick hair, which can mean different standards of maintenance. But regardless of the hair style, their hatred of grooming can be the same across the board.
Your dog may not have long hair, but instead they’re a shedder. Teaching your dog how to enjoy grooming can help when using a brush to help them shed their coat and can also save your household furniture.
1. Make it a positive experience
Grooming your dog is a great opportunity to bond with them. It’s best to start when they are young, to get them used to the process and the tools. However, this isn’t a perfect world and we don’t always get our pup at their formative eight weeks. Regardless, use a lot of praise and positive reward training to make sure your pup knows that this experience is a good one.
2. Start small
It’s tempting to just jump right in to get the job done as fast as you can. This can be detrimental to the relationship you have with your dog. Start small by introducing them to the comb or brush that you want to use.
Then be very gentle and show them that the process doesn’t have to hurt. The key words here are slow, steady and gentle. Work your way up and be aware of how they are reacting to the tools and the brushing movements. Take breaks too if they seem to be getting agitated.
3. Use distractions and/or rewards
Does your dog respond positively to treats, toys or even another family member? Use them as a distraction and a reward for good behavior! Distractions always help in sticky situations. Have you heard of the peanut-butter-in-the-tub bath trick? Works like a charm. Be sure to reward their positive reactions and not the negative ones.
4. Be consistent
Brush your dog every day. Yes, I really mean every single day. Being consistent will help the dog to get used to what is going to happen, and if you’re starting small and ensuring it’s a positive experience, your dog will catch on. As with any training, consistency is key.
Make all experiences positive
These same principles can be used for teeth brushing and nail trimming. If your dog reacts violently to your training, you can call in a professional to help. Or, you can choose to only take them to the groomer for their hair maintenance.
My dog loves the groomer and sits so nicely for them, but he was always a wiggle-worm and loved to nip when it was grooming time with me. Dogs know what they can get away with, so be consistent, show them you’re in charge and have patience. If you have a stubborn breed like me (Pomeranian), they will try to push your buttons to get their way. Stay strong and know that you’re in charge! It can be easy to give them their way when they’re so small and cute . . . I promise that proper training will make you and their life more positive in the long-run.
You never know, grooming could even end up being your favorite time of day! Leave us a comment to share your grooming situation with us.