We were in Fort Lauderdale last week working with a new Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® client and his Yorkie named Sylvia. The big problem that my client had was with Sylvia getting into the bushes that lined his back yard and then tunneling under the fence to the street behind him. We installed a “perimeter loop system” and the little Yorkie quickly understood that the back yard bushes and the back yard fence were now and forever off limits. My client was amazed at how fast the “escaping problem was solved. In fact, that helped him remember another problem he was having that was more associated with general dog training. Sylvia hated it whenever he tried to comb and groom her.
Since Yorkies have long hair, their hair can easily become knotted if not brushed often. Even when their hair is just slightly tangled, combing it can cause tugs, irritation, and slight pain. Sylvia was, obviously, very sensitive to this situation and responded by becoming fearful of the entire “brushing situation”.
Sylvia’s fear of my client’s brushing her had caused her to try and nip the brush and his hand as he attempted grooming. This, in part, had caused my client to become nervous and fearful whenever he attempted to brush her. All this, with the fact that he also had to hold her tightly to try and brush her, has created a nervous fight or flight situation with no opportunity for flight.
The solution is to step back a moment and understand where Sylvia feels safe and my client is no longer nervous in holding her. From that point, we can create a learning moment and teaching plan to allow my client to brush her and keep her beautiful fur clear of tangles and knots.
Here is what I recommended:
- I told my client that he should simply hold Sylvia for five minutes at a time. After a time or two, show her one of her favorite bones. I always suggest using deer antlers lightly sprayed with low sodium chicken broth.
- Give her the bone and let her enjoy it. After a moment or two, put her down and let her continue to chew the bone.
- Repeat this for a day.
- Now, when she has been put down, pick her up again (with the bone). This time, allow her to have the bone as he lightly pets her by rubbing his hand down her back, around her belly, behind her ears, etc. Repeat the entire process several times. Continue this entire process for about another day.
- Now, when he picks her up to pet her, have her brush in his hand. In the same way he pet her by rubbing his hand over her hair, use the back of the brush to do the same.
- The more she becomes comfortable with the back of the brush rubbing her hair, turn the brush over and slightly brush her. Take this step very slowly and don’t brush her “hard enough” to catch any tangles or scratch her skin.
- I told my client to repeat this process, slowly increasing the amount of actual “brush time” until he is actually brushing Sylvia all over. He can then start to work the brush a little more into the fur to get the knots.
- If Sylvia shows any sign of agitation, he should stop using the brush and go back to rubbing her with his hands.
- Every time he completes the process, I suggested that he give her a little treat. Although some people might consider this as a “bribe”, it is a far easier and less expensive alternative than having to take her to the groomer several times a week for a brushing.
I further emphasized with my client that re-socializing Sylvia with being brushed is a process based on safety and trust. He can never push her beyond her point of feeling safe with the process because he will lose her trust and willingness to allow the brushing to take place. His methodical process, always keeping her in a situation of safety and trust, will allow him to eventually groom her. Because of the bond the process will create, I explained that Sylvia will probably like being brushed and enjoy the time with him.
Making grooming and brushing a pleasurable experience for your dog is wonderful for his well-being and safety. Please get in touch with us if you have any dog fence or dog training issues by going to Dog Fence Training Help Fort Lauderdale South Florida. Our Dog Guard office phone number is (954) 424-0170. Find out about our Dog Guard Out of Sight Fencing® and how it will work for you by visiting Best Out of Sight Dog Fence Trainers Fort Lauderdale South Florida. Robin and I are thrilled to have been your local pet professionals for over twelve years in Fort Lauderdale and all over South Florida. Our products are perfect when solving the problem of an errant pet. If your dog is happy in the yard, but misbehaves and doesn’t know his commands, we can fix that too. To solve these problems, we invite you to check out Home Dog Training Fort Lauderdale South Florida.