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Old 01-31-2013, 09:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Nervous dogs and novice owners: Advice from rescuers and groomers needed.

Hi Im doing my research into poodles and other breeds but I won't be in a situation to get a dog for about couple of years. I am interested in adult toy or miniature poodles but since most of my dog experience has been with labradors who grooming requirement is to bathe when stinky, I am a complete amateur when it comes to grooming.

Because I will probably rescue or get a dog with some baggage as I want an adult. I am making a list of issues that I am willing to deal with alongside my list of breeds. Such as not potty trained or under socialised.

I have been looking at rescue websites and so on just to see the availability of the dogs. Some of the poodles come with warnings such as 'doesn't like to be brushed' or 'has had a bad grooming experience and doesn't like to be groomed'.

Should I a complete novice a former owner of smelly and shedding labs take on a high grooming dog that doesn't like to be groomed?

I want to learn how to groom myself including clipping. (eventually would probably have to invest in some trips to the groomer before I know how)

Should I then put doesn't like to be groomed on the exclusion list?

Has anyone rescued a poodle or other high grooming breed that was very nervous on the grooming table?

How did you deal with it and how did you keep them clean and matt free while dealing with it?

Any tips from professional groomers? what do you do when you get a nervous dog into your shop?

I don't want my dog to know me as the evil person with the brush

Anyone have experience with grooming these breeds:Maltese, Havanese, Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, Yorkshire terrier, Chinese Crested (powderpuff or Hairless), Lowchen.

Any input would be very appreciated
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But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
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Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

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Old 01-31-2013, 11:33 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Should I a complete novice a former owner of smelly and shedding labs take on a high grooming dog that doesn't like to be groomed? I would suggest for your first high maintenance dog, to look for a dog that is okay with grooming. Especially because you want to learn. Then once Multiple Poodle Syndrome hits, adopt another poodle that be not be stellar for grooming. All of the practice on your first dog will give your more confidence with your second dog If you do end up adopting a dog that does not like grooming as your first dog, not only will you need to learn grooming techniques, but you will have to take it very slow, because it is more about training to accept grooming than actual grooming. You will not be able to do cool haircuts or anything too spectacular. You may have to spend many short sessions just to get your dog to accept a brush, than gradually work your way to to longer hairstyles.

I want to learn how to groom myself including clipping. (eventually would probably have to invest in some trips to the groomer before I know how) Try to get in touch with a groomer who will show you how and what equipment to purchase. Maybe you can find groomers who volunteer for a local rescue and you can help them work on rescue dogs. Those dogs aren't going to be perfect dogs - some hate grooming and are undersocialized, so you can get some experience. In fact, you may want to volunteer at a rescue before adopting. maybe you will run into your dog! Too bad you do not live closer to me - I have been instructing the Poodle Rescue grooming workshop. Volunteers groom rescue dogs and learn grooming and handling techniques.

Should I then put doesn't like to be groomed on the exclusion list? I would not totally exclude it, but I would focus on more of a happy-go-lucky dog as your first dog. I know the ones with "issues" pull at our heart strings and they are hard to ignore. At first, it will be a lot of work with these type of dogs but the pay off will be huge. You may get more frustrated than you think. It depends on your personality and if you are willing to take on this challenge.

Has anyone rescued a poodle or other high grooming breed that was very nervous on the grooming table? How did you deal with it and how did you keep them clean and matt free while dealing with it? I have not rescued one, but dealing with the rescue dogs in the workshop - you have to work very slowly and pay attention to their body language. One dog from last week showed teeth and was mouthy (I determined he was not a biter) and the volunteers just spent 2 hours getting the dog used to the feeling of a brush. Some dogs have a lower tolerance for any type of pulling on their skin, so they may have to be trimmed short their whole life.

Any tips from professional groomers? what do you do when you get a nervous dog into your shop? Take my time. Have a lot of patience. Pay attention to their mouth (will they bite? is the mouth closed? open? panting? are the lips twitching? is the dog showing teeth?) Try to figure out what triggers the dog into wanting to bite - is the dog truly aggressive? Is he in pain? Is it just previous bad experience? They take longer to groom than regular dogs. It's okay if the dog is nervous, if they are nervous and insecure, in pain, or just plain hate something, they will bite. I groomed a dog that was banned from other places because he was deemed aggressive. I worked slowly to figure out his triggers and did not use too many restraints. Most of the time, using too many restraining tools will make them more aggressive (like the muzzle).

I don't want my dog to know me as the evil person with the brush For nervous dogs (and even good for normal dogs), it's key to have a designated grooming area. Definitely get a table, grooming arm and loop. Do not call your dog over. Nonchalantly go to your dog, pick him up, place him on the table (make sure he is secure to the loop and arm). Give him a treat. Take the brush and work slowly. Learn proper brushing technique so you are not scratching the dog with the brush. Most of the time, this is why dogs hate to be brushed and they keep associating the brush with pain, so naturally they hate the brush or may try to bite when you brush them. After a short session, reward him and put him back on the floor if you are done. You can even feed them on the grooming table to get them to relax on it, so they associate it with something good. Do not try to groom a nervous or aggressive dog in your lap or on the floor. They will try to run away to avoid you and if you chase after them, and they feel cornered, they will defend themselves by biting. Keep up with the grooming and do not let your dog get matted. Brushing out mats can be painful and this will set you back if you are training your dog to accept the brush.


I hope some of this helps. I can go on about grooming training but I think you get the idea. I own a standard poodle and Havanese. They are both great dogs! I would stick with mini poodles, bichons, or Havanese
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for that long and detailed answer, yes we are rather far apart with the atlantic ocean between us

I stalked the poodle forum for a while before signing up and I just have to say I loved Leroy's bedlington clip.

There are not many shelters or rescues near me Im a little bit in the country and the poodles and the other hairy breeds are not common in the shelter they usually go straight to foster based rescues if they are abandoned. But I am considering volunteering for the cinnamon trust as a dog walker, they help elderly people keep their pets. But I have been very busy with my studies.

Perhaps I should stay away from those who are very nervous and fearful but not rule out those who are just a bit naughty and haven't gotten basic training.

I really like very poodlie clips, not a fan of the teddy bear clip they are cute just not my style. How often do you shave the face to keep it looking clean and any safety tips?
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When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master’s own,
Who labors, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonored falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth –
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.

Lord Byron - Epitaph of a Dog - 1808
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I wanted to add that there are many aspects of grooming that a dog may hate. A nervous dog will be very sensitive to certain things, more than a normal dog. And if they are nervous with tendencies to bite, than you need to figure out what their trigger is.

The steps in grooming a poodle are:

Bathing - some dogs are okay with water, some hate it. Some just hate it on their head. I've groomed one dog that would try to bite in the bath, especially when the water got on the face.

Blowdrying - Some dogs are completely fine with a force dryer. Others are very scared. Either they will act spazzy trying to get away (nonaggressive), or they will act spazzy and try to attack the force dryer. A Happy Hoodie (a stretchy towel that wraps tightly around the head) will help dampen the noise of a force dryer but they may still freak out. Some dogs will act calm with the Happy Hoodie on but then freak out once you use the force dryer on their feet. If they are scared of the force dryer, no way can you use that on their head. So I use a stand dryer. It blows less amounts of air, and blow some heat to help straighten the hair as you brush. I like to get a poodle about 90% dry with the force dryer and than finish with the stand dryer on the body and head as I brush. Most dogs accept the stand dryer on the head, but if the dog still freaks out, I will air dry them by letting them rest in a crate and blowing a regular fan on them. If the dog hates every aspect of drying, then it will be hard. Either you will have to train them to like it, or just keep the body short so it can air dry. Keeping the body short means you will not get to try other poodle styles or practice scissoring.

Brushing - I always say if I cannot brush it, I will cut it, if I cannot cut it, I will shave it. If your dog is very matted - shave off the mats before the bath. If you can see the skin and there is a gap between skin and the mat, you can cut it. Use blunt tip scissors. Areas that mat up are throat and neck (collar friction), rump, legs, chest, armpits. Most dogs do not tolerate brushing out mats on their legs. I will cut the mat out if I can or shave it. The chest and armpits, I always shave. When you brush, keep your wrist straight, do not flick your brush - this will make you dig the brush into the skin. Use a pat-pull motion to brush and brush to the skin. Always check with your comb to see if you got all of the mats out.

Ear plucking and cleaning - Poodles (and other high maintenance curly coat and drop coat breeds) grow hair inside the ears that need to be plucked. Some owners like to keep the ears plucked completely clean, some pluck only a little, and some just trim it (I shave the inside of the ear with clippers instead of using scissors, especially for a dog that moves around too much). It depends on your poodle and your preferences. If a dog has his ears plucked consistently and he is used to it, it will not hurt and he will act normal. Sometimes plucking may sting, and some dogs don't like ear plucking. They will whimper when you pull some hairs or move around a lot to get away. Some dogs, they have had a bad experience or have a very low pain threshold and may try to bite with ear plucking. You want to use an ear powder to help grab the hair, then follow it with ear cleaning solution. I gauge a dog to see how they will do with ear plucking by looking in their ear and touching the inside and observing their mouth/face.

Nail trimming - Some dogs are okay with it. Some dogs hate nails, and accept grinding better (using a dremel tool). Either they like clippers AND grinder, or just clippers, or just grinder. If the dog has black nails, more than likely, they will hate nail trimming because someone in the past has nicked the quick and they remember this. They will act bratty for nails - twirling around, yanking their legs, not staying still, mouthiness - OR, they will try to bite you. They will need to be retrained to accept nail trimming.

Sanitary trim - Most dogs don't have a problem with this. Typically, when you shave the sanitary, if you lift them on their hind legs by holding up the front legs, they may not like that position and flail around to get all four feet on the table. You can also lift the legs to the side to shave underneath, either they will hate it or allow you. Some dogs will not only hate this position, but may bite if there is something wrong with their hips or joints. When you go to shave the anus area, most dogs just want to sit. Some intact males may not like you shaving around the testicle area. Either they will spin around like they want to bite or they will bite.

Shaving the feet - There are poodles who could care less, some act like brats (you can work around this), or they absolutely hate it and try to bite. Either try to get them to accept it by training, or just don't do shaved feet and keep full feet. Question why the dog may not like it - are the clipper blades hot? Am I nicking the dog with the blade? Do they have foot pain? Is it the position I'm holding the foot? This is where good handling techniques can help. If a poodle has had bad experience with feet shaving - such as clipper burn or being nicked too much, watch out, because they will get mouthy or bite.

Shaving the face - Some poodles sit there and let you do it. Others don't particularly like it but will tolerate it. Most of the time they don't like it right around the nose, in front of the mouth. That's where all of the whiskers are and it is very sensitive so they may be ticklish. They will move around a lot so you will need to learn handling to get them to stay still - but never yank on their head or ears to get them to stay still. They will act up more. To see if a poodle will accept the clippers, take the clippers, turn them on, and buzz the end near their ears and head as if you are clipping the face. If they move around, they may be challenging to do a face shave on. Sometimes I see rescue poodles in the workshop with everything shaved on the face except a mustache. I understand why when I start working with the poodle, he won't let anyone shave the mustache area! lol Be very careful trying to force a dog to accept face shaving - if they move around too much, you can jab them in the eye with the clippers or nick their lips or tongue. Also, keep in mind some dogs may have ear or mouth pain (from bad teeth) - and shaving will make the pain worse and they will act out (yes, more biting).

Haircut - Some dogs have no problems getting a haircut. Other freak out with the sound of the clippers, or even the feel of them. Gauge this by rubbing the buzzing clipper end on their back. A dog may be okay with clippering the body, but they may not allow you to clipper their legs. Most of the time they are more sensitive on clippering their front legs. Don't push it, just use scissors to trim around the legs. Be very careful around sensitive areas like the throat, lion, and armpits when using your clippers.

You may get a dog that will freak with every single aspect of grooming or only one. Good luck!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spotsonofbun View Post

I really like very poodlie clips, not a fan of the teddy bear clip they are cute just not my style. How often do you shave the face to keep it looking clean and any safety tips?
How often you shave the face depends on what blade you use. The safest blade is a #10. I like to use a #40 on my poodle. a #40 is the surgical length blade and leaves the face bald (the higher the blade #, the shorter it will leave the hair). Lighter skinned poodles (whites, creams, apricots) may not tolerate a closer shave and will have irritation. You can go shorter on darker poodles. On pet poodles, I always use a #10. If it's a darker poodle, I may use a #15. If you get a poodle, you can try a #10 to get the feel of face shaving and keep going shorter, making sure there is no irritation each time. I would think every 2-4 weeks for face shave is decent. I love how the face looks after a week with a #40, and it looks good after the second week... and then it just becomes too hairy. But who am I to complain right now, I have not seen my poodle's face in almost a year!

I think there is a video on the forum that shows how to shave the face (should be a sticky at the top of the grooming thread)
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