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Help! My sheltie is stubborn and difficult to groom.

Discussion in 'Grooming' started by Eric, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. Eric

    Eric Forums Novice

    Jun 21, 2017
    I've had him since he was 2. He's 9 now. He's never let any of my family brush him. We've always had to take him to be groomed, but lately his hair got dirty from some chew treats.

    I decided he needed a bath because the chewing on the treats caused the hair in his mane to stick together. I was able to bathe him fine outside with the hose while holding his leash up so he couldn't snap back and bite me. I praised him while giving him his bath and gave him a few treats after.

    After I went on to brush him and he was not having it. He kept trying to bite so I got his muzzle, but he was still trying to snap back despite that the muzzle was on. I wasn't able to do all that needed to be done because of this behavior. I tried to cut his hair hanging on his sides and he still was trying to snap back.

    He's very sensitive and I don't know what to do to get him to allow me to groom him. I know he probably had a bad experience before I got him. Any advice?
  2. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Western Connecticut
    At 9, I wonder if he's sore somewhere, possibly with some arthritis going on. Although it sounds like you've experienced this behavior for quite a while. At this point, I would recommend first seeing your vet to determine whether there's a medical reason he objects to being groomed. You don't say whether he was a rescue or if you know his history before age 2. If it isn't medical, odds are there is something in his past that's made him resistant.

    I would start VERY VERY slowly. Perhaps on the couch beside you or on your lap with lots of high value treats. Just stroke his body with your hand in a brushing motion. After a week of so of this, get a very soft-bristle baby brush. Again, on the couch or in a comfortable place he likes, just try a few strokes treating him the whole time. This will not be a quick fix...at his age, it will take some time to overcome it.
  3. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    My first rescue Sheltie was very touchy about having his nails trimmed! Each time I tried he would try to bite me! I tried clippers and a Dremel with the same result! He would bite!

    I was at my wits end and called the rescue for advice...just like Ann explains... go super slow!

    They recommended doing one nail a day and working up to all the nails over six months! That did the trick!

    When he got older and saw me with the Dremel grinder he would jump on the sofa and put his front paws on my thigh ready for his nail trim!

    He was five when I got him.
    There is hope! Just go slow!

    Has the groomer ever commented on his behavior being groomed?
    Ann likes this.
  4. Eric

    Eric Forums Novice

    Jun 21, 2017
    Thank you Ann and ghggp! The groomer has never said anything about his behavior. Right now he actually will let me brush him with my fingers. I got a silicone brush that slips over my hand to brush him. He doesn't mind it for a few strokes, but then he tries to bite. I'll take your suggestion and continue to use my fingers and slowly ease in the rubber hand brush, and then probably a soft bristle brush until I can get him to accept the rake.
    Ann likes this.
  5. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I've found that my dogs are all better behaved for the groomer than for me--go figure! Also, sometimes the groomer won't mention bad behavior unless it's REALLY bad. So you may want to ask to see what he's like for her.

    Secondly, my 10 year boy has become less and less tolerant of groomings as he has gotten older. I imagine his skin is more sensitive, and he also doesn't like to be standing for that long! I try to make it as quick as possible, and reward often.

    Another option is to have a friend hold something really yummy for him to eat as you brush. My youngest is a real butthead, but he will lick peanut butter out of a Kong or off of my husband's fingers and I can groom all I want.

    Good luck!
    ghggp likes this.
  6. Hanne

    Hanne Forums Enthusiast

    Nov 13, 2014
    I think it was here at SN I read that one of the members lubricated peanut butter on the door to the freezer (I think it was)

    The dog was busy to lick peanut butter - the member busy with grooming :lol: Funny but it worked :yes:

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