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My first poodle dematt and he jumps & freaks out

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  • My first poodle dematt and he jumps & freaks out

    ...whenever I hold the clippers anywhere near his face. Ugh--I spent 3 hours today working on this little thing & she is so freaked out. I've tried calming her down & being relaxed & I've really taken my time. I've also started at the back and gradually worked my way forward but does anybody have any tips to keep her from bucking or running up my body?

  • #2
    Is it her first grooming? puppy or older dog.....

    I will usually baby talk the dog through the whole grooming process and like you start from the back end and work my way forward. I will also work on the feet before heading towards the front of the dog.
    If needed, see if you can't get somebody to help you and have them comfort the dog while you're doing the grooming.
    My last option is to have the dog sedated....
    ~*~*~Shawn, C.M.G.~*~*~
    Apparently common sense isn't all that common
    *~*~emipoo on egroomer*~*~*

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    • #3
      When they are like that...

      If a dog is still worried about clippers near the face after three hours, you just have to scissor, praise, get through the rest, and wait and see how they are at the next session. Drop back a level or two where the dog can "succeed" (be calm and have you praise/neck rub/cuddle or other reward), and then do stuff the dog is OK with. This will help the dog trust you and remember the good stuff so you can proceed with more the next time.

      No sense continuing to fight and push, which can stress the dog. You have to take it at the dog's pace and level, and if the dog shows you it is freaking out and you can't get through that stage, then you have to take a "detour" this time and continue to build trust. Sometimes the very next groom is when the dog acts like it knows all about the process just because it has heard the sound and been handled by you before, so you can put things together (like clipping the face) that you couldn't during the previous groom. And sometimes you just have to "train/teach" the dog through several grooming procedures, a bit at a time.

      Although there are tips and techniques that some could possibly use to get further faster, many times we just have to "read" the dog and say that the dog is not ready. Last month I did an adult Shih Tzu who would not let me pluck his ears, screaming and starting the "rolling" thing. He had some other fearful and avoidance issues with parts of the groom, so I did not force him about the ears (one had a gob of waxy stuff but did not look red or inflamed), and the owner took him to the vet as I requested. Guess what?? They sedated him a bit in order to do him!! So even with more people he was a risk to do. I am glad I did not push it.

      It is NOT a priority to do everything in the first groom with any dog, in my opinion.

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      • #4
        Ok, I think I'm ready for another go

        Ok, thanks alot you guys. I definitely didn't know how far to push & I definitely went too far, from what I gather now, but just didn't know how to deal with it. This client sounds disappointed that it's taking so long, and I am too (lots to do before the end of the month) etc. But I did think I'd have it all done in one day, but I'm realizing that a dematt is NOT the same thing as a regular shave-down. So I'll just hope to do it in about 2 more sessions if need be, and keep them really easy on her. And yes, she's never been groomed before, and the 15 blade wouldn't even go through parts of her hair. I'd use the 30-blade and feel her sighs of relief as the sheets of hair came off. She's about 2 years old.

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        • #5
          do you have a trimmer? They are much quieter than normal clippers, and shy dogs tollerate them easier.

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          • #6
            had one the other day

            Originally posted by my.cats.name.is.psycho View Post
            Ok, thanks alot you guys. I definitely didn't know how far to push & I definitely went too far, from what I gather now, but just didn't know how to deal with it. This client sounds disappointed that it's taking so long, and I am too (lots to do before the end of the month) etc. But I did think I'd have it all done in one day, but I'm realizing that a dematt is NOT the same thing as a regular shave-down. So I'll just hope to do it in about 2 more sessions if need be, and keep them really easy on her. And yes, she's never been groomed before, and the 15 blade wouldn't even go through parts of her hair. I'd use the 30-blade and feel her sighs of relief as the sheets of hair came off. She's about 2 years old.
            I had this happen the other day on a really matted Shih Tzu. Owner didn't even bring it in, it was her brother. But the dog would not let me get anywhere close to her head with the clippers. Looked really funny with the whole body, legs and feet done and then all this wild hair on her head. But there was nothing else I could do. The mats were so bad I could not use scissors. I told the guy she would probably have to have something from the vet to sedate her. He insisted that I let him hold her down while I clipped her, but I refused. It wasn't his dog and if he hurt her I was afraid the owner would say I did it. I felt bad, but didn't what else I could do.
            Last edited by happytailspetspa; 04-28-10, 12:27 PM. Reason: left out a word

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            • #7
              I finished her!!!

              I don't have a trimmer, so I tried putting cotton balls in her ears and sitting in a different room with her on my lap, just running the clipper near me. None of that worked, so I scissored the whole head, face and neck. Wow, was she ever matted. I thought she had long ears--it turned out her ears were less than half the length I thought they were. But I got her body and face pretty balanced considering I used a 30 blade on alot of her body and managed to get her used to the scissors alot easier than the clippers. We'll have to see how she does next time. Today went SOOOOO much better than yesterday though, so thanks!

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              • #8
                Using scissors to cut a mat on the ear???

                Her ears were matted? How did you know you were cutting mats and not the ear leather? That sounds very scary to me. I recently graduated from grooming school but while at school we got in a rescue dog that was very matted. I had to shave it with, I think, a 10. There was a big mat on the ear but I didn't think the leather was any where close. I cut the leather thinking it was a mat. Luckily it wasn't a customer dog and wasn't horrible but I still cut the ear. I felt and still feel horrible but learned a very valuable lesson. I will never use scissors on a matted ear again. I would say if I couldn't use clippers on the ear I would recommend the customer take her to the vet for sedation or get something to relax her. Maybe it just my inexperience but that sounds dangerous.

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                • #9
                  Careful....

                  We have all been there. But I have always felt it was better for both puppy and me to quit while you are ahead. Even if this means stopping the groom a third or half way through and finishing on a different day. But I will caution you, in 25 years I have never faced a matted mess that required a #30. In my shop that blade is reserved for (some) poodle feet. Unless a dog is encased, which I have only dealt with once in my years and usually requires sedation, you should be able to get a #10 through anything. Using a 30 is begging for a problem. Matted dogs very often have inflamed or underlying skin issues to begin with, I don't want to risk blade irritation on top of it.

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                  • #10
                    I have found a couple of things work really well with jumpy dogs around their face:

                    I will often gently touch the scissors or the clippers (turned off) around their face to build up tolerance. Touch or stroke then snip. Touch and stroke, then snip.Takes a while but after a few grooms this can work very well.

                    It's always amusing to the other groomers but I have found whispering can really distract nervous dogs (Dog whispering?!) I will say really stupid things in a loud high pitched whisper. Or just make silly noises. The dogs are interested and often concentrate really hard on what you are saying. With a bemused look on their face. However it is sometimes enough that they forget there are scissors snipping away.

                    I have found that dogs can often concentrate on only one thing. I have tried gently poking / tappping or stroking a dog at the opposite end of their body. They are so busy trying to work out what you are doing back there that they don't notice the clipper gliding across their back.

                    And also - when shaving poodle faces, always leave a little beard till last - gives you something to grab on to!!!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by staffybullmom View Post
                      We have all been there. But I have always felt it was better for both puppy and me to quit while you are ahead. Even if this means stopping the groom a third or half way through and finishing on a different day. But I will caution you, in 25 years I have never faced a matted mess that required a #30. In my shop that blade is reserved for (some) poodle feet. Unless a dog is encased, which I have only dealt with once in my years and usually requires sedation, you should be able to get a #10 through anything. Using a 30 is begging for a problem. Matted dogs very often have inflamed or underlying skin issues to begin with, I don't want to risk blade irritation on top of it.
                      I don't have 25 years under my belt, but I agree with Staffy, I would never use a 30 on a dog. Since I have started wet shaving, I can get even the most matted dog trimmed down with a 7. Those nasty mats come off like you were slicing butter and is way less stress for the dog. Here are some pics of a matted yorkie that I did a wet shave on.
                      Attached Files

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Kim Kempf View Post
                        How did you know you were cutting mats and not the ear leather?
                        Yeah, This was a quite a while ago but I beleive I started at the top of the ear and just started working my way down. I remember my clippers just glided down the ear until suddenly a bunch of hair fell off. I hope that was safe!!!!

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                        • #13
                          I'm getting a trimmer!

                          Yup, I'm having this same trouble on alot of dogs!!! So I'm excited----oh the headaches I will save myself from. I nice little cordless trimmer I found on sale so I can do wet shaves if need be. The reason I'd done it with a 30 blade is because (for some stupid reason, one of those "wonder what I was thinking" moments) I had decided to shave it all, then bathe. I was probably worried about making the matts worse.

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                          • #14
                            I got a Laube Cowgirl Cordless Clipper at Intergroom and I love love LOVE it! Especially for wet shaving! It has enough power to get through anything and the charge lasts the entire time. I've never used a cordless trimmer for full body haircuts, so I would just make sure you research your options so you get a good and powerful one if you plan to use it for wet shaving.

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                            • #15
                              Been there!

                              I have had the same issue with a few dogs that I do. I got the body and legs and everything done fine, but as soon as I went to the face area they dog hated it, and would start pulling and turning and in each situation I stopped the groom at that point. I explained to the clients that some dogs can only handle so much at one time, and these dogs were not groomed regularly, more like a once a season, or every other season. With on couple the husband was not happy that the dog was not finished, but I wanted to give them something positive to look forward to. The husband ranted off and the wife stayed. I told her I could have muzzled the dog and got the face done, but, in my opinion the dog had just had enough for one day and asked if she could bring the dog back in a few days and I would try again. She agreed, the dog came back 3 days later and I did the face no problem at all.
                              She was amazed. So from now on I start with the face on this dog and the others like her and I get it done, then I do the rest of the body, so they can sit, or lay down, or whatever. They are much more relaxed now, and know I won't hurt them.
                              This has worked with other dogs as well, so I do the problem area first and get it out of the way, talking to them and petting them and telling them how great they are, and after the area that is the problem is completed, they get a small treat.
                              The rest of the groom goes smoothly because they don't have to end it off on a bad note, so they look forward to seeing me again, and the clients have noticed. Some dogs run to my door, and I have been told that they have never run into their groomers place before, it was usually a drag or carry it in kind of thing. So sometimes taking a bit of extra time and trying something new, will teach you something, that will help on other dogs, as well showing the owners that regular grooming pays off and is good for their dog, and they can enjoy it if done with their needs in mind .
                              If you have to, you can also work on part of the face then do toenails, then do another part of the face, then do the pads of the feet, the the rest of the face....just take your time, keep talking to the dog, and I use positive reinforcement once the problem area is done.
                              That's just the way I work and I know not everyone has the time for this, but I figure the time invested now, is a payoff for me in the future, and it's also good for business!

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