All dogs need some grooming to some extent. Some dogs, in particular, may be difficult to groom, acting squirmy or worse, even attempting to bite. Is your dog squirming away from your grip when you need to give him a bath? Does the sight of the nail clipper send him hiding under the bed? Is your dog’s coat getting all matted simply because he hates to be brushed? You are not alone. Several dog owners deal with these problems on a daily or almost daily basis.

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Ways To Groom An Uncooperative Dog

So what can be done to make Rover get a bath once and for all and for Missy to finally get that so needed pedicure? The secret relies on learning how dogs learn, something that Pavlov discovered many years ago by ringing a bell and watching dogs drooling.

It all started when Russian scientist Pavlov noted how dogs were conditioned to drool upon hearing a bell ring right before food was served. This conditioned response is called ‘classical conditioning,’ and it is a very effective teaching tool when it comes to training dogs.

Ever heard about clicker training, where the dog gets a tasty treat every time the clicker sounds? Clicker training is also based on classical conditioning. The dog soon learns to associate the click of the clicker with a treat and sooner than later starts eagerly looking forward to its much-anticipated clicker training sessions.

Why are Some Dogs so Uncooperative?

Basically, most dogs who refuse to be groomed, get their nails cut, or are given baths are dogs who have not been trained to receive these forms of attention from an early age. For future reference, therefore, it is very important to expose young puppies to brushes, getting wet, and being touched all over so as to make life easier for future vet visits and dog groomers. Dealing with this early is much easier than dealing with this later. Making the experience very rewarding is fundamental so to avoid future issues.

Your dog is not really acting out because he is disobedient. Very likely, he may just be simply intimidated by the brush and fears it. If you look at his body language, you will very likely see signs of avoidance, like going away when you get the brush out or sends you ‘calming signals’ such as licking his lips, yawning, or turning his head away.

However, in some cases, dog owners also deal with dominance. These are confident dogs who think the world revolves around them. Patricia McConnell, in her book The Other End of the Leash explains how she tests dogs for dominant behavior by trying to lift a back paw. She then looks for signs of trouble like a cold stare or a warning growl.

How to Make Your Dog Love Bath Time

Uncooperative dogs may therefore be helped with the use of a clicker. Yes, clicker training has also proved to be a great method to help owners dealing with behavioral problems. Based on classical conditioning, clicker training can literally change the emotions governing a dog’s mind. De-sensitisation, another training method where the dog learns through habituation, will come in handy here too. After being brushed and having his nailed clipped on a routine basis, dogs become more cooperative versus letting them escape and not face the objects of their fears.

With the use of classical conditioning and de-sensitisation, once grumpy, squirmy dogs can therefore finally enjoy being groomed and may even finally get to relax. The time and effort invested into training a dog to get groomed will certainly pay off in the long run.

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How to Make Your Dog More Cooperative for Grooming