The Best thing to realize when getting your dog to love being brushed is that for a doodle/your dog, brushing is as imperative as a child eating their vegetables. Vegetables are vital to keeping your kid healthy. It keeps them running at maximum capacity with a strong immune system, a sharp brain, and aids in their mental development.
Of course, brushing your dog won’t aid in keeping their brain functioning at maximum capacity, but it can keep their coat healthy and skin clean. It can also help keep your vet bills lowered and your dog grooming costs at a minimum.
Not being able to brush your dog keeps their skin from breathing, allows their coats to get knotted and tangled. And the more they hate brushing, especially if they bite for it, can create further behavioral problems. That could lead to needing an animal behavioralist, along with heightened vet bills because your dog may need a light or heavy sedative just be groomed, or you may be charged a special handling fee just so your dog can be safely seen by a groomer.
Getting your dog to enjoy getting brushed starts in the home. I’m sure you wouldn’t send your child to school, expecting your child to get taught to enjoy their vegetables by their teachers. And I’m definitely sure that your parents didn’t send you to a cosmetologist to learn how to wash, brush, and comb your hair every day. That would not only be impractical, but it would also be expensive. Along with irresponsible.
So why would you do that for your dog?
It doesn’t make sense to put the responsibility of brushing your dog on your groomer.
If you want your dog to enjoy being brushed and love it, it’ll take patience and time. Maybe even a visit with a trainer. But it doesn’t have to be ridiculously hard or impossible. Just simply being consistent, patient, and positively reinforcing is key.
Here are my top ways on making the bushing process a pleasurable experience for both you and your dog!
Starting your dog young will help make brushing seem like a normal part of life. I can always tell when a dog is getting brushed at home and when they’re not. Those that don’t get brushed regularly, if at all, tend to feel like they are being attacked by the brush and really hate the experience all together. However, puppies who are brushed on regularly act as if it’s nothing new, and they’ll even fall asleep on my table.
The best time to begin brushing is as soon as you get them home as a puppy. Starting as young as possible makes it better for both parties.
Use treats and positive reinforcement.
I don’t know about you, but I can get my dog to enjoy just about anything as long as treats are involved. Getting your dog to love brushing is similar to teaching your dog to learn how to sit. You reward with treats to teach them that getting brushed
Make it fun, with lots of rewards and playtime!
Recently I’ve had a few pet parents tell me that they hold their dogs down and “force” them to get brushed. Forcing your dog to do something they don’t want to do will only make the detest brushing more! It’s best to make it fun and exciting. After you’ve brushed a section of their hair you can give them praise, run around the house with them, and then do it all over again. Doodles just want you to be happy with them, and a huge smile on your face only makes them happier.
Don’t do it all in one session. Break it up to make it easy.
It’s easy to want to get all of the brushing done in one session. If brushing is already challenging for your doodle, you may want to break the process up into sections throughout the day. For example, let’s assume you have a very busy schedule and you are trying to find the best time to brush your doodle, morning and night would be your best friend. Fifteen minutes in the a.m. before work and 15 minutes in the p.m. after work would be great for your doodle, giving them time to relax and not feel overwhelmed.
Go slow and do it with love.
Some pet parents have confessed that they brush quickly and forcefully. If you’re digging into the skin with the brush and yanking with the comb, your doodle will definitely not enjoy the process. As a groomer, with every dog we have to brush and comb gently and delicately as if the skin is very fragile and can rip easily. This helps prevent brush burn and allows our doodles to love and enjoy the process. It just makes since to brush and comb gently, especially in the beginning of getting them to like getting brushed by you.
Don’t force it. Allow it to come with time and patience.
Once again, don’t force your dog to get brushed! Don’t hold them down. Instead, slowly develop the process. Gain their trust. Show them that they can like the process, that brushing is a good thing. It’s not a punishment, just part of having long hair.
Find a Trainer that can help with animal behavior.
If you’ve followed all of the above options and you still seem to be having trouble, get a trainer! Trainers are great at getting behind and fixing any behavioral related issues. Maybe your doodle had a traumatic experience, or has a dominant personality. There are ways to fix the issues, please don’t simply give up and leave it up to your groomer to solve the problem. Groomers are stylists, not trainers. If your child hit or scratched the barber or salon stylist, you wouldn’t look to the barber or salon stylist to solve your child’s behavior issues, you would look to a licensed counselor or child behaviorlist. Someone licensed and capable of helping your dog is who you should look to.
Ask your vet for recommendations for calming aids to get started.
Veterinarians have plenty of options to help calm your puppy. If they’re biting, scratching, screaming, peeing or pooping–go to your vet! They can help you find a proper solution while keeping your doodle healthy and happy.
Make it a daily habit.
We never say that we “ate once” or “exercised one time” and then expect to feel nourished or have a healthy body. It’s making these priority in life and creating a habit that makes a person healthy and have the body they want. Therefore it’s imperative to do the same with your doodle. Brushing them a few times isn’t going to make a difference. It’s creating a daily habit whether with a calendar or alarm clock set up on your phone. It can make an incredible difference to incorporate brushing into the daily norms of your everyday life.
Don’t give up, stay consistent.
Stay hopeful and stay consistent! I have had many rescue dogs that I have had to rehabilitate into loving either nails trim, baths, other dogs, and many other issues. Consistency has won every single time. Never giving up. I’ve always had hope and faith in the dog I’ve worked with, knowing in my heart that they could get better!
It’s easy to anthropomorphize your doodle and treat them as if they’re human, but you have to remember that they’re still animals. You have to communicate to them differently because they don’t think with reason. It’s our jobs as pet parents to guide them through life and make decisions that can help them in the long run. They don’t know what’s always best, it’s our job to have their best interest at hand, even if it’s something they don’t always like. It doesn’t have to be force on them, but we have to help push them positively along the way.