So, how do you deal with a dog who doesn't like being groomed?
First of all, ignore the complaints. Pay no attention to the whining, moaning and general noises of displeasure. They do not exist. Go on with your business calmly and patiently as if your beloved was standing quietly. For a squirmer it will help to hold him by the collar to keep him still while you go to work.
First of all, as with all things that you want a dog to grow accustomed to, you do it little and often. Very, very often, for only a few minutes at a time. This is how you train your young puppy to tolerate grooming - you do it every day, at least once a day, for a minute or so until it becomes second nature to see the brush coming. For an older dog, it's not so different - you still do it as often as you can and make it a job that you do a little bit of everyday. The absolute worst thing to do is let your reluctant Lappy go weeks without seeing a brush because then you will have a mountain of a task ahead of you when you can avoid it no longer.
If you want your dog to enjoy being groomed instead of merely tolerating it, then you make the experience a pleasurable one. So, while you are spending your tiny amounts of time with brush in hand every day, give your dog something good like a new fresh bone or lovely smelly hoof to occupy him while you get busy.
Another good way to make brushing a pleasurable chore is to do a little of it while the dog is relaxed. This helps to keep them calm as well as sending the signal that grooming = chilling time.
Taika's belly getting some attention while she is recovering from her walk.
You may have noticed the scissors close by. There may have
been some cutting out of mats involved.
Another element in making the experience a pleasurable one is to ensure you don't actually hurt the dog during the grooming process. That means being gentle and careful, especially around the sensitive areas, and going easy when dealing with mats or knots.
I start out by giving the dog a quick brush all over with a firm bristle brush. This is the least offensive act you can perpetrate with a brush, as far as the dog is concerned, so it's a nice way to ease them into the experience. It also gives you the opportunity to feel for any knots in the fur and lumps or other problems on the skin.
Even Taika can't complain (much) about a gentle all-over general brushing.
By far the best way to make grooming an enjoyable experience for you and your dog is to make sure you start from puppyhood and make it a regular and pleasant event. Although Keskiyo hates to see the brush coming, Neka, Maija and Tuuli all love to be on the grooming table and barge each other out of the way to be next.
Love it or loathe it, it is absolutely imperative that the Lappy gets groomed regularly, so it's advisable to make the job as pleasant and stressless as you can. This is how much fur comes out of Keskiyo at least twice a week while he's moulting. Little and often.
"Are we finished yet?"
Up next: how to groom a Lapphund - the detail