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Grooming a Hyper One
by DeeDee
Grooming a Hyper OneLucy is only 5 months old and I am working with her on grooming. I try to brush her and clean her eyes daily. She actually likes it when I moisten and clean around her eyes, but she does not like being brushed. She does fairly well until I get to her front paws. She jumps and growls and will not let me anywhere near her front paws (and sometimes the back and belly). I have tried everything I can think of. I am being patient hoping she is just very young and will eventually adjust. Her paws do get pretty raggedy looking before I attempt the upset the cart and insist on brushing them. Any suggestions other than patience and consistancy?


Most dogs don't like their paws being handled, and some have really sensitive skin, but you have to be firm about this, as it is better for her in the long-run -- pulling out mats hurts! A few tips:

Change the type of comb/brush. I like a metal comb and a pin brush rather than slickers or bristle brushes. A bit of spray on detangler may help too.

Work on a comfortable surface. We hold Puff in our laps for brushing, but for things like nail clips and ear cleaning which he doesn't like we put him on a table with a non-slip mat (Rubbermade). Being off the ground makes him easier to control and seems to calm him - or frighten him into immobility depending on how you look at it . Talk soothingly the entire time, and don't forget to tell her how beautiful she looks. Your demeaner is important -- you must be firm and determined, but relaxed. Don't give in to whining or other complaints. Always give a really special treat after grooming, and you could try distracting her with something like peanut butter(takes long time for them to lick it off) or Cheez-Wiz if she prefers. I put it on my wrist, but if she is likely to nip, put it on a chew toy or something.

When not grooming, handle the paws often. If you haven't started obedience, do so now, and really focus on sit/stays and stand/stays. Also, teach a trick for "give me paw" (she gives the paw and gets a treat). Don't use this command while grooming (at least not at first) because the idea is to associate feet being handled with good things. A daily petting and massage session may help relax her too, and get her used to being touched without the associated grooming activities.

Good luck, and let us know if there is any improvement.

Keep trying ... when grooming my little one, I keep to the same routine and grooming place ie. on balcony. Make it a fun time and give little treats as you go through the session. Might be an idea to play with her paws when she is on your lap, this may get use to the idea of brushing. I don't know whether this is good point, but I let mine play with the brush - he thinks it is a great toy!
Hi! I have had that front-paw problem, too! My Otto will not let me brush or comb his front legs and feet if he is standing on all four legs, or sitting down. But, I discovered a trick that works. To comb his belly, and the inner back legs, underside, I would make him stand up at a pretty good angle on his hind feet by holding him up, with one hand around his chest, right behind his front legs. After I comb his underside and hind legs, I comb his front paws and shins. Then the fluff on the back and sdies of his legs. I use a wide comb. He lets me do this, no fuss. Isn't that weird? But it works.Maybe it will work for you, too.
When you and your baby are just relaxing, start massaging her. Start at her head, gently rubbing, her ears, and all over finally working down to the feet and toes. She needs to get used to you touching her. Does she know basic obedience? If not, enroll her in a class. She needs to know sit/stay, down, and stand. Also, give her a treat after the grooming session. This will help her to associate the grooming with a pleasnat experience. I had the same problems with Noah. Now, I can do just about anything to him. Hope this helps.
April B.
DeeDee, my 8 month old Buster is a trip when it comes to baths and brushing. I give him another brush to bite while I am attempting to brush him. But that doesn't solve the problem for long. I've tried a toy to play with while I am brushing....no way....I've tried a chew bone....no way.....I could use the help too.
Libby & Buster
Dear DeeDee, what I suggest may sound really strange, but it worked for Angel and me. Instead of brushing her once a day, I brushed her three or four or FIVE times a day. She got so used to seeing me and the brush that she thought it was the way I showed her love and attention. Now at seven months, she goes to sleep while I'm brushing her. I do understand wanting to put off brushing the front paws which, as you said, makes them harder to brush. I don't agree that she will "eventually" get better. I feel it has to start getting better right away...which is why I suggest brushing more often each day. I'm now down to once a day for Mikee and Angel.

Another thing I do when I brush them is tell them which part I'm brushing. Sounds weird. Let me explain. I first lay them on their tummy with their head facing my knees. I say, "Lay down and let Mommie brush your back." Then I flip them with their heads facing my tummy and I lay them on their side (first one, then the other side) as I say, "Turn over, let Mommie brush your sides." I know at this point you think ANNETTE is NUTS, but this works. Then, as I flip them over onto their back (with their heads on my knees and feet next to my stomach), I say, "Tummy-tummy" as I gently scratch their tummy. This is where I brush the front paws and back paws, alternately while I scratch their tummy. Then I get to the part they don't like the most...under their neck, chin and chest. I say, "Chin, chin!" and they actually stretch their heads way back and let me brush. The worst part is of course...the WHISKERS! I say, "Whiskers, whiskers" and they know it's almost o v e r! The final stage is when I say, "Let Mommie fix your hair and I put them in the first position as I remove the rubber band and brush the hair out and replace the rubber band. Then, of course, comes the barrette! All of these conversations pay off as when a rubber band or barrette comes loose, I can say, "Come here and let Mommie fix your hair." and they know what I'm going to do. Plus adding to their doggie vocabulary! Tummy, chin-chin, turn over, back, fix your hair, whiskers...yes, I love my babies! Mikee wants to be brushed first or else he barks all the time I'm brushing Angel.

This method sounds weird, but I believe it forewarns them as to what is about to happen and not only are they not surpised by the process, but they are a part of it. "Been there, done that" and hope this helps. Let me know how it goes!
Annette (Mikee & Angel)

Hi Dee, your baby sounds like my Taffy. I give her dog food while blow-drying her coat, I try to do it as fast as I can with alot of power to the dryer, but not to hot, it goes faster since I gave her a trim the other day.I tried drying her on the floor in the laundry room, but she runs all around like a nut. So, I read on one of the questions on this site to put the dog on the wash machine, I don't leave her site but she stays better because she knows she can't go down! She gives me a hard time when I do her nails, but when a family member helps me, or holds her, she seems to give in alittle because shes out numbered. This was a very good question. Thanks Aimee and the rest, it was and is useful information for me too!
Margaret & Taffy

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