Training Your Show Dog to Relax for Grooming
One of the things we have to get our show dogs used to is being groomed. Of course, depending on the breed of dog grooming can be extremely labor intensive or very little work at all. Dogs that are heavily coated need to learn to accept being blow dried, brushed, combed, banded, clipped, nails trimmed, topknots done and so on. My goal is not only get a dog used to it, but I want the dog to really learn to relax and hopefully even enjoy it.
- a towel, blanket, mat or bed to sit on the grooming table
- a pillow for the dog’s head
- a bag of high value treats
- a grooming table and arm
|Make the table comfortable with a towel or bed and a pillow.|
|Lure the dog down with their chin on the pillow.|
Once down, give the treat and then periodically offer treats for staying down on the table. Also, pet and massage the dog on the table to help her relax. Delivering the treats in between the dogs front legs, or in front of the rear foot if they are rolled onto their hip will help to encourage them to stay down and to relax.
|Here I delivered a treat in between her front legs to reinforce staying down.|
|Cannoli is an extremely active young puppy, but she can relax and sleep while I groom her.|
|Cannoli rests her chin on my hand while I comb her face and head.|
|The chin rest on hand transitions nicely to her pillow.|
|Cannoli can lick peanut butter off of the grooming arm while I work on her.|
- Practice daily with your dog so that she gets a lot of practice.
- Be generous with your treats and reinforce good behavior often.
- Try to groom gently and thoughtfully without rough handling and yanking on coat. It can be hard sometimes to avoid pulling on their skin, but it is important to work on this so that they can relax and not feel anxious that it will hurt.
- If you are working on a sensitive area try to be gentle and offer treats in between very short sessions. This is how I got Cannoli so agreeable when having to comb little knots out of her face.