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Any advice or opinions on a very fearful dog...

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  • #16
    I think people play into this equation too. Some people are patient. They do well using training methods that take time and are repetitive. Some people (the sort who honk if the car in front of them doesn't shoot off like a rocket when the light changes) would go crazy if they had to wait that long to see a change. That's okay -- there's more than one way to help a dog get through the grooming process. I've seen theories come and go, as have most of us. Research can be useful -- but there are so many ways to "game the process" (deliberately or by mistake) in research, as a friend who teaches statistical research told me. So in the end, maybe it's about using common sense and compassion. I like Sarah Wilson's training work. She's patient and kind. Remember, about 150 years ago (two human lives ago), some "educated" people believed that dogs did not "feel" pain -- they just had a physical reaction to the "stimuli" of knives and needles and shocks. They weren't in pain, their body was "reacting." Aargh.

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    • #17
      These are the dogs that I do at work

      I work in a very large shop-12 groomers.

      These are the dogs I do. And I love the challenge.

      Getting them to trust me is the success of what I do.

      First- yes, I muzzle any dog that I think will bite me. If I get bit, I'm out of work. That said, the dog often doesn't want to bite you, but it's a reactive thing. Muzzleing a dog doesn't mean I'm a lousy groomer. If I think I'm going to get bit, I give off "signals, phermones, whatever" that tell the dog I'm thinking he's going to bite, so he bites.

      I have a darling poox that comes to me and is just terrifed. Mostly she doesn't like the clippers around her rear legs. And she's cage shy. The Bravura is working very well with her. It's quiet. and doesn't vibrate like others. And she trusts me. I can love her up with the muzzle on, and she knows she's being loved.

      I try to do these dogs in the afternoon, when it's quieter and I'm not trying to finish my work load. We spend a little time massaging- kinda like TT-touch. I don't talk too much during the groom. I get the job done, start to finish, smoothly, no drama. When I'm done, they get more positive feed back.

      My best success stories are an old, teeney Shih Tzu who had been scruffed to groom (one of the 12). All she tried to do is eat me. It took about a year, and she would let me do ANYTHING. And she purred. Like a cat! She just passed away at age 16.
      Also- 2 Poodles, that always SCREAMED for clean feet. Yes, I could muzzle them and MAKE them do it, but that is not what I do.
      After 1 year of working with them, they LET me do their feet. They love me. They TRUST me.

      And there are many more. It's the best part of grooming - for me.

      Good luck, and take your time.

      Vivien

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      • #18
        BNGirl. I agree w/ you 100%. I am thoroughly satisfied w/ gaining the trust of one little land shark. It makes my day & glad that I am in this profession. Patience and gentle movements work very well for me. No yelling or sudden movement.

        Gaining trust is what makes this career so rewarding.

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        • #19
          I am inbetween 'old school' & 'new school' ...

          get it done as swiftly , calmly & quickly. (& of course with a muzzle if it bites!) TOO much time dragging out a grooming w/a fearful dog is only going to make it worse. no talking or babying, firm & gentle hand & just get it done! it will either improve or not after a few grooms, but we are not being paid to train & rehabilitate dogs. 1 hour of time w/a private trainer in my area is $80 ... that does not include grooming!

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          • #20
            Originally posted by DogChic View Post
            I am inbetween 'old school' & 'new school' ...

            get it done as swiftly , calmly & quickly. (& of course with a muzzle if it bites!) TOO much time dragging out a grooming w/a fearful dog is only going to make it worse. no talking or babying, firm & gentle hand & just get it done! it will either improve or not after a few grooms, but we are not being paid to train & rehabilitate dogs. 1 hour of time w/a private trainer in my area is $80 ... that does not include grooming!
            I disagree, to an extent. We aren't trainers, but skillful handling is a huge component of grooming. However, I do think groomers should charge more for difficult cases, and they should never work with a dog they don't feel comfortable with.

            If all dogs behaved well for grooming, most of us would be out of a job.

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            • #21
              I didn't realize or forgot that this holistic section was here which has similar aspects to fear free.

              I am similar to DogChic in how I operate, but I don't use a muzzle and I feel dogs always with some exceptions get better. Sometimes you have to decide in alternative grooming what battles are worth fighting. Example: A new dog has nail issues. I am not going to send it into the same frenzy- different groomer just because the owner presents with me with long nails and a frightened fighting dog. I always do nails last at least on new dogs and try to at least tip them. I don't get wrapped up in perfection. This allows the dog to get a quick clip and then groom over. I have not allowed the dog anytime to get too riled up and their look almost every time when I do nails and then off table is, if I may anthropomorp....sp. "Hey that's it...Yes I will take that treat now". Usually by the second groom nails are not a problem or drastically better.

              If the most important thing to an owner is in this example is the nails and not the overall care and nice groom I gave them considering what I am given, then they don't come back and they can keep searching for the perfect groomer. Meanwhile I haven't spent any extra time on this dog and when it does come back it's with rare exception easier each time. Usually the 2nd time because the 1st experience was so positive. Just remember the whole experience from bath to dry to groom was positive.

              And if I can't do them at all without fear of causing a stroke I don't do them. A vet is another option who will charge $25 or more to do nails and I am not in business to risk injury on me or the dog for $25.

              There are many variables but this is a small example of what can be done in fear free holositic.

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              • #22
                It is kind of hard to answer the OP or the recent groomer who asked about the 10 year old poodle who shakes so hard during a groom. There is not enough info but probably you are grooming the standard in the industry way and that is the result. Fear free is just a different way of grooming and deals with the dog's state of mind, its not just a way to handle difficult dogs, although it is that too. There are many dogs who are well behaved but fear grooming just as much as a trembling dog or a dog who dances around. And fear-free is not for everyone. I am solo so I can experiment a lot. Somebody who works for a company probably can't experiment much. And it's very satisfactory to always have positive feed back from the most distrusting of dogs.

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