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Dog Psychology and Grooming


Dog Psychology and Grooming

Bichon Frise

How to groom your dog effectively

Television the wrong message

Cartoons, books advertising,and television we all know it is not 100% factual or true

Growing up we have a television box with programs and from childhood we are given books with cartoon figures or live animation movies about animals that can talk can compromise and be team players

The interesting point here is that all animals speak they have human emotions and can compromise.

When we grow up to adulthood the programming as a child seeing animals speak and responding to our human gestures a lot of people think animals think just like people

NO sorry but they don’t ! Animals don’t speak English Italian French or German or any other phonic language but there own communication methods

Dogs can read human gesture body language understand tone but not like children

We teach Phonics and sound to children to understand words and meanings

OH but my Dog understands what I say!

So in 2 years your child learned to say up to 5 sentences and understands words often used and can point out what the word is and relate it to an item. And your dog knows a full conversation on any given subject and what every word means and his 2 but 7 in human years.

Little unrealistic Dogs understand sound tone and what feels good and to a dog anything that involves easy food feels good

The Phonics that a Dog understands is Tone not the actual word they can connect car means ride somewhere park our everyday words that associate with fun food or experience bath run etc


Attention feels good praise high energy feels good reward for food is one way of training.

but in Grooming we cannot be feeding the dog every time we want to groom them, However treats can work wonders for distraction.

So how do we get a Dog to do what we want and not by what they want to do with encouragement and understanding  

Grooming a Dog’s Point of View

There’s a routine of behavior that is set the brush means scratch me the scissors’ means I can see I feel lighter it makes this sound and while the dog is trying to work out what are you doing

The whole time your raining all over his coat and smudging him with smelly stuff blowing wind all over his body and it is warm now you are scratching him gently with a brush pulling on knots then a buzzing thing is touching them and taking all his hair off.

The baby talk and the word No Stop that Dont ! mean nothing because they are everyday words that have no real consequences growl tones ahhh like an alpha dog growling the puppy be cool be calm and breathe be collective in control at all times

The approach of water is nice massage feels good the warm wind is soothing the scissors’ are quite the handling is gentle we can sometimes as groomers get a dog that just loves all this attention

The experience is it’s not going to harm me and afterwards they feel better the whole experience is to not traumatize or put too much pressure on

then there are those dogs that just want absolutely nothing to do with this bath brush attention thing going on

Don’t touch my feet my legs I am going to bite that buzzing noise and don’t even think of blowing wind on me now we have an agitated dog that is going to give any groomer a hard time aggression and resistance with a dog means let’s fight.

Why because of lack of attention and communication we need to communicate grooming in a sense that the attention is beneficial and make it feel good the dog feels safe and will overcome trust issues 

So one has to back off and it is usually never the dog so in this case the dog won and will perform again eventually we end up with a Drama Dramatic dog

Overcoming the defiant Dog

So to overcome the defiant dog other methods need to be used it is all about survival just think of how it feels when we are told you have too and your pushed to do something you don’t want to do you become defensive same as the dog so the approach needs to be in small introducing steps and a reward

touching of the feet regular nail trimming get them use to it then it’s not such a big deal later 

Brush on body survived that stoke brush on coat survived that stop and praise, if a dog is not use to grooming tools when you first bring it out they may think its an object to play with so start from behind facing the dog away from you.

It can take a long time everyday little by little but in a Grooming scenario when going to someone’s home and the dog has had a bad experience

it is all about trust building a relationship of your not going to hurt me and this feels good,

we don’t always have the time for all this TLC approach and the job just has to get done so restraints are needed a Groomers assistant or the owner can restrain the dog.

We have to think safety for the handler the groomer and the dog with these on hand the job can get done faster  a Cone neck piece, a muzzle, a harness, and if it’s just to stressful for the part ferrell sedation with a vet on hand a local anesthetic is usually enough.     

Dogs are creatures of habit so the groomer needs to assess and learn what this dog has had done before and work around that body language can tell you if there is a tender spot an old wound or something isn’t right.

read these signs and listen to what the owner says had an operation on the back left leg so that leg maybe tender so be gentle and careful

Owner has trouble grooming their dog and they bite 

Time to call in the professional to train the dog and the owner if the owner is keen of course, The canine Hairdresser can help in these situations 

Learn how to groom your own dog 

Consistent Routine

Here’s a routine most groomers do so the dog knows 1st step 2nd step so by starting with the routine groom is too

Bath time

The defiant dog will dislike water so gentle reassurance is needed the method of bathing is in small but slow steps remember its reassurance and safety if you can add an element of fun then do so but biting the water when the hose is turned on is not the same as bathing the dog 

you just taught the dog when the hose is on its play time so another approach is needed brush bath method puddle bath increasing the levels slowly

 I had a dog in the kennels we had to put a cone brace on the collar so the dog couldn’t see the shower nozzle or he would want to attack it but thats extreme but it worked.

Face trimming keeping the head still talk to the dog reassurance and don’t take a lot of time to do it patting the head and face dosnt mean that the scissors are going to be welcomed slow steps on a regular basis consistency and persistency is how all training is achieved.

touch takeaway getting use to what your doing the dog will not think what are the benefits of doing this how you hold the dog can make all the difference.  

have a System in place

belly legs body or you might do Brush bath face hygiene clip feet then clip or brush it is all about keeping it the same routine every time, and being consistent will help the dog understand the process and they will know when your almost done

OCD In Dogs

When it comes to grooming a set routine works best they know what’s about to happen next and in order this relieves the stress  

The Salon is much the same the dog’s know OK bath blow dry brush face feet hygiene clip then break then body clip and scissor last cut nails and we are finished keeping in a routine will also help you to keep your time down

It is the same when clipping always hear people say start from the neck down same do face first some do it last, I prefer Face first ears then hygiene clip under paws body clip scissor legs paws cut nails done,

sounds fast when we say it but each task has a time frame same dog’s that can be groomed fast get annoyed it is taking too long and dog’s that have been groomed slower may think you haven’t finished yet by chopping and changing in the dog’s routine can cause confusion

much like training in any other way consistency the same routine without change will bring contentment when content and the programming of grooming has been fully established.

Then it is OK to slack off in some areas but the dog knows the routine of what is expected what’s expected behavior and what is not acceptable

with correction and doing it again when the behavior is good praise nice voice BAD DOG voice they know when they are in trouble and that behavior is not acceptable

And don’t allow the dog to win or show your weakness you must be Alpha at all times

Your smarter your Human Dogs respond to knowing what’s expected of them and what is the reward what are the boundaries in grooming it is very much the same.

but we can learn How to be your Dog’s Best friend and in doing so we can have a better relationship with our dogs

Dont get to stuck on I have to use this tool only after clipping some coats are different lines from the clippers you may need to use a different blade or comb to blend, your lines are a little crooked practice consistency and patience it will all fall into place one step at a time


Horse responds to what you want them to do the reward is back off if force is used the horse becomes unsure of what you want

with a Dog he does what you want he gets a reward treat or praise so his happy to do it again we cannot make a dog do something to feel good

we have to demonstrate this is good correction this is not good got it so when grooming work in with your dog he will tell you hey that didn’t feel good and respond your response to the reaction is what matters

Make it Feel good make an impression

Most Dogs love to play but grooming isn’t play time so don’t walk into the yard and start throwing the ball to win the dog’s affection not a good idea The one you need to impress is the owners

Your presence your dress actions mannerisms how you greet their dog’s the first impression is always about the owners. your equipment how you set up

Tell them exactly what you need and always ask for a broom and a bag for the hair and leave as little mess as possible Your time there is their money so respect their time to earn your money.

Now friend the dog’s talk nice be patient even if they are a bit boisterous be calm be firm and never smack yell or correct the dog in a hasty manner,

sounds like common sense but some dog’s really push the boundaries so it is no nonsense and just get on with the routine.

Dog moves away move dog back stay good dog 🙂 dog moves away move dog back after stay be consistent don’t give in by the 3rd visit the dog’s know who you are and what your there for and your there visitor

After 3 months the same dog’s should be happy to see you and respond like this is the normal visit don’t change what you do greet the same same set up same dog first and they accept it easier and this makes it more comfortable for everyone.

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In this article we talked about How the dog thinks how it is important to be consistent and have a routine and to always consider the owners first then love their dog’s up with cuddles and you’re loving patient personality

it’s also important that the dog’s see you as a friend that’s come to see them

And it’s all about them well that’s what they think anyway.

Happy Grooming I hope you enjoyed this Article if there is anything you would like to add please leave it in the comments below

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A passionate Dog person with a background in Animal Care, Vet nursing, Security Dog Handling, Boarding Kennels RSPCA Volunteering, Dog training Pet sitting Dog Grooming teaching people how to groom their own dogs and now creating a website dedicated to Dog Grooming


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