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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    38

    Sad Sad how to trim face on a biting shih tzu?!

    I had to turn my first dog away in 3 years. I could not for the life of me clip or scissor the face of this 9 month old shih tzu. She would literally throw a fit and try and bite if I tried to hold her face or head or chin hair. I basically did a body clip, hygiene, nails and foot pad clip but I sent her home unbathed and her head untouched. She was a puppy mill dog and so very timid. Usually I can get it done but I was stumped at her behaviour! It all came down to holding her face, she just could not deal with me touching it. So I am wondering did I do the right thing by letting this dog go or should I have I been more forceful with her? I talked to another groomer who said she would have just pinned her to a wall and did her anyways but I have never done that and to be honest I am not comfortable in doing that. I told the owner to practice holding her head and chin hair so she will get comfortable with it plus I said that another facility with two groomers, one to hold and the other to clip might be in order. Does forcing a dog like this make it better behaved? Any advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    1,279

    Default

    I like to take it slow and use positive reinforcement to train the dog to accept having it's face held. I would also train the owners to train the dog. Using praise, treats, etc to get the dog to be excited to have it's face held. Then I would use PR to get it used to clipper sounds and scissor sounds.

    it takes a longer time but I think it's way better for the dog to learn it's FUN to be groomed then to be FORCED to accept something that is scaring it. I would say from the dogs behaivor that it's afraid.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    1,116

    Default

    Just curious, why no bath? That's the first thing I do. It also give you a chance to calm the dog with nice water and calming massage.....

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    SE Wash St
    Posts
    2,088

    Default

    Yes, I don't understand why no bath either. It does relax the dogs a bit, and gives you a chance to get to know them a little while giving them a nice massage-including the face. We can only do what we can do safely for the pet (and ourselves). I would have tried doing a little hand massage on the face, then take the thinners and rub on the face-taking a few cuts on the bangs if the dog would allow. Sometimes they're better for the thinners (safer too). And sometimes I find I can trim off quite a bit while they're wet in the tub. Sounds like this pup needs work, and I hope the owners are willing to do some 'homework' with him. Must've been his first groom? Forcing a dog who is so afraid isn't how I would do it. I know DDD probably disagrees, but I find I catch a lot more flys with honey than with vinegar.
    Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

    Groom on!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    195

    Default

    Hmmm...well..pinning to a wall only works for humans....haha

    I think you did the right thing. Now if you know what you're doing, and you're very very adept at training dogs, and have a little "Dog Whisperer" in you...sometimes you can force them into liking it.
    Like the trick where you train the dog for legs where you hold on for dear life (DON'T SQUEEZE JOINTS!!!!!) until they stop pulling back for just a bit. Then Let Go! Do something else they like for a sec....then go back to holding on 'til the second they stop - the instant - they stop, let go. 2 or 3 groomings and you got yourself a good leg dog.

    Anyway, be carefull if you're gonna force a puppy. I'd rather they look silly for a little while than trauma (take trauma with a grain of salt) them into hating grooming.

    Next time....(or if you can get her to come back within a few days), try approaching from behind, smoothing the hair forward with your fingers. "Pop" it up with the scissors too (closed of course) and you won't have to drop your scissors to get the hair up.

    I'm curious too. Why no bath? There's alot I can do with a pouting shivering puppy that I can't do with a Mornin' Fresh Puppy.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    2,417

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    You could also do like .my old coworker and sit down, get the dog's face in a headlock between your thighs, then allow it to dangle and freak out. Hey, it got the job done!

    I kid. Please don't do that.

    Sent from my HTC Glacier using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,651

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    When I get a dog like this i do a face massage, slowly working the stop, under eyes and down the nose. I massage until it relaxes then i take my thinning shear and rub them over the stop, down the nose until the dog relax then I might open the shears and do a snip, then back to massaging. I do this for a short while until I get one or two cuts...or if the dog totally relaxes then I finish the groom. If I cannot, the dog goes on a rehab program, coming in each week for just the facial work. I do train the parents so they understand their part.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Ontario Canada
    Posts
    38

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    Thank you for the replies with the helpful information. The owner did not want me to stress her out with a bath. She had already bathed and dried her at home. You could barely get near her to lift her to the grooming table, she runs when she is approached and bites. When I lifted her to the table she pooped she was so scared.
    The owner is going to work with her at home for a couple of weeks then bring her back, I will tell her that I will bath here and give your techniques a try. I guess I have been lucky I have not dealt with such fear aggression before.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    92

    Beaming Poor Puppy

    I don't usually do puppies in the shop that I work at, my teacher does. (She taught me over 20 years ago!)
    But I do the dogs that have been mistreated(?) by previous grooming shops, and old grumpy dogs.

    You did the right thing by stopping and sending her home - this time. Whenever she comes to you, make sure it's a positive experience and it ends on a happy note.

    Definately bathe her first and work on the face, in the tub. Our hair is cut wet, and our scissors are stainless steel, so give a little trim in the tub-wet.

    Also, she's probably better when she's a little bit tired. The bath will help with this too.

    One other tip- put some food in your mouth and gently breathe on her. Just might intrigue her.
    Also, try to feed her a tiny bit of meat while holding her face. She'll be eating out of your hands REAL soon.

    In time, she'll be your favorite "rehab".

    Vivien

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,003

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    I'd take it a little slower and easier on this one, you dont know what the poor thing may have been exposed to in a puppy mill....having the owner handle her face at home to get her used to it is good and I would even suggest the owner enroll her in some basic obedience classes to help give the dog some confidence and some help with appropriate behavior. If she's a puppy mill dog, she has probably had very little handling and is a frightened timid mess. She'll come around with some gentle coaxing and training.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,303

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    I do a lot of grooms for a Shih Tzu rescue and boy.. some of them are tough little cookies. The one thing I do have and use is a groomer's helper. I also will use this sling thing that hangs them on the grooming arm. Great for legs and feet of leg and feet biters. And some faces.... I've only had a couple that I haven't been able to complete, then she will usually bring them back to me in a week and I'll attempt again.

    Sometimes you can take a piece of ribbon and wrap it around their muzzles, then bow tie back behind their heads. Sometimes I can barely swipe them with a comb. I seriously do what I can.. a bit here, go to something else.. back to where I was working. Sometimes I stop holding completely and they will then stand perfectly still. I won't talk.. barely breathe and scissor slowly. I have not tried this trick, but have heard if you hang a small comb in their beard they sometimes settle down. I have yet to have a Shih Tzu like having their beards held.. or I'm doing it wrong?? I don't know. I don't use a firm touch, for some reason if I'm lighter, they are better behaved. If they aren't, I hang 'em high . But the sling thing doesn't work with faces for me.

    I really am liking a lot of the ideas presented to you.

    Debbie

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    3,303

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kat05 View Post
    When I get a dog like this i do a face massage, slowly working the stop, under eyes and down the nose. I massage until it relaxes then i take my thinning shear and rub them over the stop, down the nose until the dog relax then I might open the shears and do a snip, then back to massaging. I do this for a short while until I get one or two cuts...or if the dog totally relaxes then I finish the groom. If I cannot, the dog goes on a rehab program, coming in each week for just the facial work. I do train the parents so they understand their part.
    This is such a good idea. I always massage in the tub.. and can just feel their little bodies and faces relax.. but I like all that you said. I'm writing it down and putting it in my little salon!! Thanks Kat!

    Debbie

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