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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all! I've come to the forum about eight dozen times with questions but there is a thread for everything already. But I'm not getting results for this one, so experts, please share:

Am I making a giant mistake letting this mass of dense puppy coat air dry?

Of all the things he's met in this world, the blow dryer is his least favorite. We've been working on it, but he's still reduced to a quivering panic-stricken mess when it's on him and he's wet.

I've thoroughly combed him pre-bath, and can go over him carefully again tonight. Is this downy stuff going to mat or badly tangle if I let the rest of it dry on its own over the next many hours?

Thanks!
 

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I would say that you need to read the thread in grooming that tells you how to get your puppy used to getting groomed.
You should at least teach your puppy to like getting dried even if you do not dry him with the dryer.
In my experience, they will mat more if you let them air dry then if you dry them with the dryer.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've been working on grooming implements multiple times a day from the day he got home, and other than the dryer when wet, he's a champ (lets me cut and file his nails, brush his baby teeth, clip his FFT). He's acclimated to the sound of the dryer, can tolerate it when he's dry, but the combo of wet + dryer is just too much still.

There's not a lot of middle steps between blowing on him when he's dry and blowing on him when he's wet! Other than doing part of the time air drying.

That is indeed a great thread, and it helped a ton setting up routines. There are so many good resources here. I think I took notes on half the stickies while I was researching.
 

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Mandarine, are you using a high velocity dryer on him? If so, given his extreme reaction, you might consider stepping back to a human hair dryer on low heat and low velocity for now. Because yes, that is very possibly going to lead to mats, unless and - maybe including - every inch of him is only 1/4" or less in length.

When drying, do you have special treats to give him? Be sure whatever brush you're using while he's wet is gentle on his skin, because what if it's a slightly too sharp or too harsh brush in combination with the dryer? I love my CC wood pin brush during drying, but even it and my super soft Madan still need to be wielded gently.

I start at Oliver's head because he's adult and his ears and topknot are so long, but with a puppy I might think about beginning with the lower back and slowly working backwards, a little at a time, with breaks for ear rubs and treats. If you set him on a towel and if possible hang another towel behind him, it seems to speed drying.

And before starting with the dryer, you can hold him in a big warm towel (not rubbing, for fear of creating tangles), and just let some of the water absorb away.

hth
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks, Streetcar! That's a really good point about using something gentler while brushing. (I have that CC brush based on a recommendation from this forum, but I was using a comb during drying.) And spending more time in the towel.

Yeah, it's just a weak human dryer set on low--and the one he is fine with while dry. He's pretty food driven, but when I say he freaks out, I mean total shutdown trauma reaction. He won't take amazing treats, he shivers and freezes, he won't look at me (eyes get glassy) or even move when I turn it off. There is nothing else where he is that scared, even the very loud fireworks nearby last week. We had some more typical puppy tantrum/fear stuff with foot grooming, and that did respond to treats and persistence.

He's almost completely dry now and I've been combing out pieces as we go. No tangles (whew), but I'll be sure to block out several hours until I can get him more desensitized. Weekly baths, here we come.
 

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If he is OK with the drier on dry hair, perhaps practice with just a spritz of water on an "easy" part, like his back, so you are drying hair that is slightly damp rather than wet?
 
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Louie is totally chill about grooming - well trained for many many months but the High velocity drier is his arch nemesis - he hates his guts and will fall asleep (his signature move during grooming) while shivering... He just hates the thing but since I think he has to withstand at least a tiny bit of adversity once in a while I just deal with it. I was thinking that the snuggly snood over the ears may alleviate some of the fear (can't find mine at the moment...) but maybe look into that.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If he is OK with the drier on dry hair, perhaps practice with just a spritz of water on an "easy" part, like his back, so you are drying hair that is slightly damp rather than wet?
This is a great idea, thanks! Maybe there is a particular wet part (like head or feet) that is causing the issue, and that's a good way to isolate so I can work on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Coming back four baths later with an update!

We have now conquered the hair dryer. I'm still carving out at least three hours to go through the whole bath process, but he's not having any reaction to it now--it's the same as the clippers or Dremel or comb. Occasionally small fuss, but not panic or anxiety. He'll happily romp around and play after being dried, compared to before, when he'd lie on the ground in place shivering and not looking at me.

Thanks for all the advice! I used a combo of randomly wetting body parts and drying them off on non-bath days, holding him longer in the towel, and very gently brushing (instead of combing) while drying. During the three baths when I went hours and hours with a wet/damp hound, there weren't any mats. I was super careful to gently brush out the backs of his legs, armpits, and around ears several times as he dried. It was a big time-consuming pain in the butt, but I think worth it for the long haul. :)
 
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