How many times have you asked your dog to sit still so you can brush them, only to have them flee the room? If this sounds familiar, don’t worry—it’s pretty common! Many dogs become nervous when they’re approached with an object in their face, and react by jumping up and running away, which only makes it harder to brush them later on. The good news is that there are steps you can take to convince your dog to let you brush them, which will leave both of you happier and healthier in the long run. Read on for our top 5 suggestions here at Pet Gifts & Toys.
1) Try Treats
Usually, dogs aren’t too keen on brushing—at least not as keen as we are. To coax your pup into a brushing session, try rewarding them with some tasty treats. Just be sure you take it easy at first; you don’t want your dog to get used to gorging on treats every time they brush! Start small and slowly increase how many treats you give them. Soon enough, they’ll see brushing as a wonderful event that warrants tasty rewards. If all else fails, try giving them their favorite toy or bone instead of food. This way, you can train them to associate good things with being brushed.
2) Find The Most Comfortable Position
One of my dogs hates being brushed so much that when he sees me reach for his brush, he runs and hides under a table. With my other dog, she’ll tolerate brushing if I hold her or lay her down on a bed. The bottom line is that you need to find what works best for your pet—not necessarily what works best for you. Does your dog love to sit in your lap? Sit with them! Do they prefer laying down on a bed? Lay them down and get brushed!
3) Use A Grooming Tool They Enjoy on the Dog’s Coat
If your dog already has a favorite toy or activity, you might be able to use that as leverage to get them used to groom. For example, give them a fun treat when they sit still during brushing. In time, they’ll associate it with good feelings and will want another goodie after every brush session. Alternatively, if your pup is food-motivated, try using a special toy filled with their favorite treats for each brush session. This way, they’ll learn to enjoy being brushed rather than dreading it.
4) Show Them What You’re Doing
The first thing you can do is just show your dog what you’re doing. Rubbing a brush or comb against their fur will let them know you’re not trying to hurt them, so they might be more comfortable if they can see what you’re doing. Make sure you don’t pull out any knots, though! That could make things worse and cause discomfort for your pup.
5) End On A Positive Note
If your dog is not a fan of being brushed, they might associate it with negative experiences. If that’s so, start by reinforcing positive behaviors: reward your pup when they do something right! Things like sitting still while you hold up their favorite treat or patting them on their head after they lie down and keep still are great ways to teach your dog exactly what you want from them.