Saturday, April 16, 2011

Is your dog scared of being groomed, bathed or clipped ?

My Friend's Lab Jimmy
In the earlier post I tried to give you a brief idea about what positive reinforcement training is all about and how to crate train your dog using that training method. In this post I will cover the next behavior issue as a continuation of my earlier post - Positive reinforcement training to tackle all the nagging dog behavior problems. I would urge you to please read that post before you continue with this one.

The behavior problem that I am going to discuss here is "Grooming Phobia in Dogs"

Many dog owners in the world are annoyed over this nagging behavior problem and keep asking to themselves - Why is my dog scared of being groomed, bathed or clipped? So let's check out how to get around this problem in this post.

Some breeds are instinctively crazy about water. The best example for that are Labradors. They just love to swim and splash in a pool or fetch a toy or ball eagerly from an ice-cold pond. They just love being wet. So I never had any problem giving a bath to my Labradors. But it might not be the case with other breeds. In my experience I had a tough time grooming and bathing my Dalmatian - Ivy. She hated even the very sight of water or anything that had to do with grooming, and I had a real tough time grooming her. It was really a nightmare for her as well as for me until I got her trained to get used to it.

But never take that Dalmatians are instinctively resistant to grooming. Grooming phobia is mostly acquired i.e. it is developed as a result of some traumatic experiences that the dog had in the past associated with grooming or grooming objects. But most dogs are more scared of clipping it's nails than getting bathed.

Watch this video where a dog is being trained to get over his grooming phobia

Here are some positive reinforcement training tips that you can follow in order to get rid of your dog's grooming phobia
  • The first step towards getting your dog accustomed to the whole grooming process is to get him used to the sight of grooming objects like brushes, soaps or even clippers. 
  • Keep the grooming objects at a place where the dog can easily see. And when he looks at it and has no problem with it, click and treat/praise him immediately. This is to reinforce his behavior - looking at the grooming objects and associate it with something positive - the treats/praise.
  • Then you must go a step further and increase the interaction with it. Take one of those objects in your hand in your dog's presence but not standing very close to him. When your dog looks at it and if he's OK with it again, click and treat/praise him immediately. You must increase the interactions at a very slow pace and never scare your dog off or intimidate him if things are moving a bit slower than you thought.
  • Then in the next step you should try holding it out to your dog and see how he/she reacts, if he's still OK, then click and treat/praise him immediately.
  • Gradually your dog will get used to grooming. But don't expect miracles. It will take some time or it ha may happen pretty fast, so you must be consistent and patient. You will definitely accomplish your goal in the end.

      Joining a dog forum is also a great way to find answers to your dog's problems as well as interact with other dog owners around the world. Some of the best dog forums that i recommend are
      •'s dog grooming section has answers to a variety of Dog Grooming problems. Please click the link to check it out - . You will also find similar information on other forums also.

      Thank you for reading my post ! If you liked it please do not forget to share it with your friends and also  leave your valuable feedback as a comment. I will be discussing the remaining behavior problems in the upcoming posts. Till then, Happy Petting !


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      2. Thank you so much for spending more time and effort to share this very nice video with us, I am really sure your idea is more useful for me.

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