|Barked: Fri May 31, '13 1:35pm PST |
|yep. Surprisingly, dogs need to be trained to accept a brush. I know we find it natural to use one, but they see scary things that are not handspulling on their skin and causing pain. Poms, LHCs and Paps have very thin skin compared to us, and under that hair, the skin doesn't have a lot of exposure to the elements so it is very sensitive. Like they've already sad, take your time. This is something that should have started in puppyhood. Even when the dog doesn't lok like it needs a brush it can be brushed just for training sake. they need to know that not all grooming sessions are involving pain from the brush.
Be careful not to rake the skin when you brush the fur, but make sure you do get into that undercoat because that is where the shedding comes from. You really did not pick a very good breed for allergies. Poms are related to sled dogs, and if you have been around people with huskies or malamutes or laphunds, you know that there will always be hair everywhere.
Brushes and baths need to be introduced slowly for some breeds. Give the dog a chance to check out the hairbrush. Use a shedding mitt and pet your dog with it to get him used to the feel of something inanimate being run over the skin, then after he is ok in the presence of the brush, begin to run it over his back with the smooth side until he no longer wants to jerk around. Praise him soothingly for being calm and quiet or with a clicker if you have trained with that.
It's best to do little bits of brushing at first, say, every day do a small section of the dog. One day, brush the back, then another day brush the feet, and another day the pantaloons of one leg. the idea is to be slow, calm and gentle. When you do come to a mat, work it out with a little olive oil. Hold the base of the mat with your hand and work olive oil into the fur by massaging, then gently, while holding the base of the mat, work the tangle out from the tip inwards. Think of a mat like a tangled ball of yarn. Pulling on a tangled ball only makes it impossible to undo. With a mat you know the beginning and the end of the strands. You are working out the dead hair that is trapping the living hair by weaving and knotting sideways. Be patient. If you can't be patient, or the mat is very large, don't hesitate to scissor it. Unless your dog is being shown, his haircut won't matter too much. It will grow back, and a moment's scissoring is worth a month of resentment.
YOur dog is 2 years old. Poms have an adolescent attitude well into about year 5 or 6. Expect shenanigans, but don't give up. A dog that can be groomed is much more safe and comfortable than a dog that can't be groomed. It's also a lot better for when you have to take your dog to a groomer.
On that note, look for groomers that slowly introduce your dog to the routine. the last thing you want is a quick groomer. You wouldn't want someone to be speedy with your hair and scalp, with no regard to how close product gets to the eyes, or irons to the skin. Pick a groomer that can explain how they introduce a new dog to the grooming stand, and demonstrate that they know about animal behavior. It's important because dog grooming is not a regulated industry in most places. A groomer is a wonderful and understanding person who understands dog and cat body language the way that a farrier understands a horse.
For your protection if you do not want to muzzle, a pair of leather gardening gloves will protect your fingers with as small as a pommie mouth is, but never let those gloves become a permission for bad behavior. Biting and nipping is never to be tolerated. If you find that you are frustrated, stop and try again when you are calm. You need a calm environment to train your dog to the routine.
P.S. a dogs ultra sensitive spots are belly, pantaloons, ears and tail, followed closely by the upper arms and feet. You will have to go extra slow and careful around these places.
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