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Gets Nasty when I brush her
  • sanicksanick
    Posts: 12
    I adopted Scarlet about a year ago. When we did, she was about 9 months old. Someone gave her up and not sure how they treated her before. My question is that I try to brush her and she gets NASTY. I mean like a different dog. She HATES the brush!!!! Should I use a muzzle just to brush her? Or, does anyone have any ideas? She has to be brushed as she is shedding like crazy. But...she just gets like a vicious dog when we try. Otherwise, she is loveable and sweet. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    You need to acclimate her to brushing. There are actually lots of posts in the grooming section (and puppy woes as well) because this is not unusual. There are a number of reasons as to *why* she does it. If it is a specific area, she may be sensitive there (rash or other injury, or just plain protective of that area...back legs are a big one for the latter) or it could be she was never trained for it, or even they did it wrong/hurt her/etc.

    Brushing should be fun and relaxing. Don't try to do a full brushing session at once. First, take the brush and let her investigate it. Each time she sniffs/approaches the brush, click or praise and give her a treat (I really like clicker training and advise using it--lots of resources on how). as she gets more comfortable with approaching and being near the brush, you can go to the next step. This step is where you hold the brush and let her sniff/touch it, and then touch her lightly with your hand. Start with the back shoulders or chest. You will want to extend the time the more comfortable she is, and expand the areas you touch as time goes on. Then---after that is comfortable, you can lightly touch the brush to her, click/praise and treat for each touch don't brush--just touch. Same as the hand, do different areas for lengthening time. Then you can do a light stroke, short, which click/praise, and then move on to longer strokes, and then adding strokes together.

    Jean Donaldson's book, "Mine!" has a section near the back on handling issues. Actually, most training books talk about how to get a dog or pup comfortable with grooming. Those are a good start. If she gets bitey just with the brush being in her view, you might want to consider a muzzle. Honestly, if it is bad, you might want to consider professional help (certified behavorist is best)

    Remember, grooming like we do to dogs is not natural. They are just protecting themselves from something they feel is scary/dangerous. They don't know it is okay, so we have to teach them.
  • sanicksanick
    Posts: 12
    Thanks so much for taking the time to post your answer. I will try the above. I mean she is a "different" dog when she gets brushed. Thanks again. I really appreciate the advice.
  • spacedogsspacedogs
    Posts: 361
    Different dog doesn't mean she can't be trained to tolerate being brushed, you just have to work through the issue in steps and use positive reinforcement to build a better relationship between your dog and the brush / the act of being brushed. It might be a long process, it might go fast, every dog is different in that regard, but also nearly every dog is the same in that you can train & retrain these sorts of behaviors with positive reinforcement.

    I'll give you Laika, one of my Shibas, as an example of this. She used to be the same way with getting her nails clipped. It took me months to train her to sit and let me clip her nails. Literal months. Every day we'd work toward it. On the first day I got the clippers down and left them on the floor near where I clip their nails in the kitchen, I did this while I was preparing meals, so she was already interested in being in the room, and it was easy to click and reward her while I was working. Every time she went near the clippers I'd click and reward with a small treat. Fast forward a week, I'd put the clippers down and sit beside them, and ask her to sit beside me, and every time she sat with me for a few minutes I'd give her a treat. Fast forward another week, I started picking the clippers up and having them in my hand while sitting in this spot with her. Click and reward so long as she was comfortable and not reacting negatively. Fast forward another few weeks and I'd hold the clippers in my hand and ask her for her paw, click and reward everytime she gave it. Another few weeks, I'd move the hand with the clippers near her paw, click and reward. The last steps to clipping nails was long, and I never pushed beyond her comfort (maybe 1 nail and she'd walk away with her tail down), but eventually she was fine to sit through it and happy to get a reward at the end. Now it's a non issue and I clip her nails with no problem and no need to reward.

    Your dog might need to be brushed, but if they're happy to have you scratch and rub them down with your hands it might be what you have to be satisfied with for now. Work toward the brush, build a good relationship between it and your dog, don't rush or push her or it may backfire on you and result in further regression.
  • AnjyilAnjyil
    Posts: 776
    NP and like spacedogs says, it isn't about different, just training and getting them used to something. The only reason she hates it is because it scares her. You are doing weird things to her body with alien tools and she doesn't understand why. Desensitizing her will really be the only way.

    and believe me, I am well associated with the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome ^_^ The most important thing is to find the best way that works for your particular dog. I had to go pro to find the best way to work with my dog, and honestly, that is now my number one advice depending on how bad it is. Bites and is nasty equates bad enough for me. Pros are really good at figuring out the best approach to get your dog to calm down and teach them to accept our strange human rituals. Trial and error on your own is fine if you have the patience and a bit of fortitude, but sometimes, you just need that extra bit of confidence.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Don't muzzle that's always a bad idea and will make it worse. Most of the time muzzles are used incorrectly, as in, no introduction and always in a bad situation.

    Maybe it's the type of brush you use? What are you using? If it hurts to brush against your arm maybe it's hurting your shiba.

    try a slow approach or give her a irresistible dog chew while you slowly and calmly brush her.
  • sanicksanick
    Posts: 12
    Hello, it is the Koodella shedding brush. Yesterday, I also tried a glove that you wear and brush with. She seemed a bit better with that. Thanks so much for everyone's feedback. Appreciate it. We love our dogs....
  • HeartofDogHeartofDog
    Posts: 19
    1. You're in the Northeast. If you don't mind long periods of blowing coat, it really is not crucial to brush. So I would take the time to let Scarlet slowly warm up to it and understand it for what it is: an act of love.

    2. My Julius was suspicious of the brush at first, too. We would just rest it near him at first, to thoroughly sniff and explore. Later, we'd snuggle with him and give him some good ear / belly / butt scratches. When he was good and relaxed, use the brush on him in the lightest, most non-threatening way. He often wouldn't even realize he was being brushed at first. We'd do a few brushes and put it aside, go back to scratching. Rinse, repeat.

    He now loves being brushed, esp. in the summer when he looks forward to shedding as much fur as possible, I'm sure. My five year old human even does it.

    We use a few different brushes, but the one Julius likes most is the Safari self-cleaning brush:

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