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  • Safety (bathing) advice needed

    A little background: I have this husky mix who looks more like a hybrid (wolf) than anything. He's a really good dog for the most part. He doesn't bite or anything but he comes in about every 3 months or so.

    The first time I put him in the tub I found out he was a leash biter. So I thought I would fix his wagon and use a chain to attach him to the tub. Well he's too smart for me. He would only chew any fabric he could find.

    He came in again for the 3rd time about 2 weeks ago so I put a chain in the tub to attach him and a chain around his neck so he wouldn't bite through the noose. That was all fine and dandy for a little while

    My issue with this dog is not the fact that he chews the noose....it's that he has an some kind of outer body experience in the tub. When I start washing him he loses his mind. He will literally climb the walls backwards or sideways. Most times I can get him to settle down but not this time.

    He got himself all worked up. He knocks the hose out of the tub, tries to back out of the tub while he is still attached. During one of his climbing episodes, he managed to rip his foot open with his dewclaw (BUMMER!) get the chain undone and jump out of the tub and fill the shop with water (x2 GRRRR).

    I'm worried that this dog will break his leg or worse his neck in one of his backing out episodes.

    I talked with his dad and he said that he was a little "off" this morning--didn't want to come in the shop (which was unusual). I don't normally recommend sedatives but I think this dog might need a little cocktail to take the edge off. I don't know what to do. Should I call in another set of hands when he comes in.

    I don't want to refer him out 1. He is a friend of mine 2. I'm afraid what anyone else would do to him

    He ended up going to the vets and getting a couple of stitches. I told the owner I would comp his next groom because in my haste I didn't clip the nails prior to putting him in the tub..

    Any words of wisdom?

  • #2
    Send the dog to a vet with groomer

    I know you don't WANT to send the dog out, but he has shown you that he is NOT settling into the routine and is so wacko that he can injure himself, therefore the most sensible thing - for you AND him - is to send him to a vet with a groomer so that there are extra hands and/or sedation to help this dog.

    Those are my words of wisdom.

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    • #3
      Sometimes the little bit of money you make isn't worth the great big PIB that ensues. I'd have to suggest other alternatives. Perhaps a You-Bathe-It dog wash?

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      • #4
        I had a westie client like that. It was the hose/sprayer that she didn't like. I had the owners bathe her at home (with pots and pans), and bring her in soaking wet to complete the groom. Maybe the chewing on the leash was this dog's way of distracting homself in the tub. You could try giving him something to chew on-fabric with peanut butter, or something soaked in beef broth. Kinda like biting the bullet. Might be worth a try if you really want to keep grooming this guy.
        Old groomers never die, they just go at a slower clip.

        Groom on!!!

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        • #5
          umm. this is a no brainer. for your safety and the dogs safety, you need to send him to a groomer at a vet. if the vet doesnt have a groomer on staff, you could offer to come in for the groom under the vets supervision. he should probably be sedated. I dont like to groom any animal that is sedated, so if its necessary (sedation) I reccomend a vet w/ a groomer. if this is still not an option than you should absolutely have two people AND the owner on hand. this dog has already caused himself one injury, dont risk another for the money. and how will your friendship hold up if this dog does end up snapping his neck. sorry this is harsh. I beleive weve all chosen this career because we love animals, and most of us are sure that no one else will love them as we do, but we will only hurt ourselves if we dont ask for help or admit defeat.

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          • #6
            Keep this in mind too - Husky's are one of those breeds that are hard wired not to like water. Think about it, back in the day their job was that of sled dog. If a dog pulling a sled went through the ice it most likely would die. For some of them I think this instinct is more apparent than others so it doesn't surprise me much when a husky doesn't want a bath.

            Many huskies don't need a bath. Does it smell? Is it actually dirty? Consider a "dry" shampoo or dusting the dog with corn starch, brushing, and then using the hv to brush/get loose hair off. Then perhaps the dog could get by with going to the vet for an actual bath a couple times a year and having a dry groom from you the rest of the time.

            (Same concept goes for many terriers, esp. scottish terriers, who don't want a NT - those are their tools! )

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            • #7
              Offer to do the nails a couple of times for free if that makes you feel better...but let the vet groomers handle the bath...or the self serve thing is great if the customer can do it.

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              • #8
                OK. I'm going to come at this from a different angle, primarily because you say this is a friend of yours, and...you are afraid of what an experience at another place may result in. Both of which I can relate to and sympathize with.

                I used to board/groom an HTG Mal hybrid, 160 lbs. who acted the same way. Only hybrid I ever met and kinda liked, btw.
                He had the same self-destructive, get outa here at all costs, thoughts about a bath.
                Prepare to get wetter than wet, lol!
                We resolved it by bathing him outdoors, on the ground, w/ warm water from a hose hook up inside the kennel, fed thru a window.
                One of my assistants would hold him on a sturdy leash, give him a little moving-around room, and it really made a world of difference.
                We ALWAYS did this behind a 6 foot double chain link, gate padlocked, fence.
                I think a large part of "Hobo's" problem was being securely tethered to anything immovable. It really put a panic in him. You could see it in his eyes.
                Here in MD...it was understood that we would not be grooming him from mid-November until April...because of the outdoor temps, but other than that, it worked quite well, despite the fact it was like grooming a triple-coated tour bus.

                If possible, and it's a good enough friend, approach them about trying to do this at your home (backyard) or theirs, where the dog may be more comfortable in his own surroundings, or just NOT a known place of "panic" (in his mind).
                All you'll need is a good source of warm H2O, a decent brush/comb/rake, some shampoo and an HV.

                Just by reading your post, I feel like this dog has issues w/ A. being concretely tethered, B. being elevated, and C. being bathed. In that order.
                I just get the feeling if you remove A and B...you may have a dog that is a bit more willing to give this "grooming thing" a chance.

                Another option is a "Calming Cap"...but I honestly feel like that will only escalate the problem, as you've done nothing to resolve A and B...and now you've taken away his edge to clearly "see" his route of escape. That could result in some real harm if he gets to flailing around.

                So get creative, be flexible, and try to understand (from the dog's angle, not the groomer's) where exactly the initial point of panic sets in.

                I certainly don't mean to imply that any of the other posts are w/out merit, and definitely don't want to give you any suggestion that will get anyone hurt...just presenting an option to referral to vet or sedation that worked pretty well for me.

                Good luck, it's nice that you are trying to seek out new ways to help this guy out before giving up altogether.
                Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                • #9
                  Shoot, 1 additional thought....

                  as I don't have time to wait for post-2-post and edit.

                  We used to premix about 10 bottles of warm super diluted shampoo and just saturate, scrub them in on Hobo...thus bypassing the first step of soaking him w/ water. I know it isn't the preferred method of shampooing a dog, but having "hands on massaging" right out of the gate...instead of being drenched w/ water, not only put him in a different mind-set from the beginning, but significantly shortened the time he had to spend having water aimed at/on him. Similar to how I would bathe a fractious cat...back before I grew a brain and stopped doing kitties.
                  Of course....the rinse was very thorough and equally hands-on.

                  As soon as I hit send...I remembered the mental image of all those bottles of warm shampoo on the outdoor window ledge, and a horrified client pulling in...thinking we bathe ALL the dogs outside w/ a hose. true story.
                  Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks

                    Thanks for all the advise.

                    There are no groomers that work out of the vet hospitals around here and the one vet that I'm close with is too "busy" to allow for this type of situation (me coming in and them sedating and monitoring).

                    I have taken each piece of advice into consideration and will discuss it with the owner.

                    Just so you know....it's not losing the money why I don't want the dog to go elsewhere....it's the dog. I want to do what's right and best for him.

                    I will see if bathing him on ground level helps with less water (rinsing only) and also have more hands available to help calm and "massage" him.

                    Hopefully next time he'll be better.

                    Thanks again!!!

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