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Aggression when bathing my dog- advice please.

(9 Posts)
DowntonTrout Mon 20-May-13 10:55:09

I have brother and sister Shesties. (westie/shitzhu cross). They are 7yo.

The boy dog is ultra sensitive and temperamental. He is fine if he comes to you on his own terms, but does not really like being handled, picked up, groomed etc. he is also very sensitive to noise, low level rumble type noise, so cooker fan, washing machine, vacuum, he leaves the house as soon as something is switched on. If in a confined space ie my husbands car (sports car) he turns into a Tasmanian devil. He is fine in my car, 4x4 different sound.

He has never liked baths. He will not go to a groomer, we have tried. He goes mental at the sound of clippers. The only thing I can do is snip away with scissors, even that is under duress, and he just growls and walks away when he's had enough.

Anyway, he developed a skin condition and we had no choice but to get the vet to clip him under sedation. We now have to bath him with special shampoo. I washed him yesterday but he was growling and snarling and tried to bite me. Luckily he didn't draw blood and I don't blame him at all. He doesn't like it and was telling us his displeasure. But what can I do. He has to be bathed. I need to get him used to it regularly, rather than a couple of times a year. We had just got used to his grumpiness- he is all the more endearing for it, but this is a big issue. His sister is fine and no problem at all.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-May-13 11:06:39

I'm no expert as am having serious problems with an aggressive dog myself.

But I would muzzle for a starters in the bath so you're safe.

Try introducing him to the bath little steps at a time with lots of rewards/treats. So initially treat for just going in the bathroom, then leave the bathroom. Repeat and each time stay in the room longer. Progress to getting in empty bath and treat. Then build up slowly to small amount of water in bath and treat, then get out without bathing.

Eventually getting to a stage where he can have water put over him, etc.

Hope it works out.

DowntonTrout Mon 20-May-13 11:26:29

Yes DH said we need to muzzle him.. I can't help feeling that this will add to his displeasure. Your other suggestions are good. In fact the muzzle suggestion is good too, I feel so sad it has come to that.

He is a lovely dog otherwise. Loyal, always at your side, follows me everywhere but just doesn't like being messed with. But he is highly strung and I think we probably just manage his issues rather than confronting them and dealing with them.

DowntonTrout Mon 20-May-13 11:30:33

Also that is the way I get him to let me groom him. Little treats and gentle encouragement, he will stand and let me trim his hair. But when he growls I know he's reached his limit. He often has a half cut, one side short/one long, or trimmed front with big baggy "trousers" at the back!

fieldfare Mon 20-May-13 11:30:58

You definitely need to muzzle him.

Our dog hates the vets. With the young female vet he is fine. She can examine him, look in his mouth etc and he's happy. With the older female or any of the males he is terrified and shows aggression. I try to book in with just the young female one but if she's not available then I ask them to have a large muzzle handy at reception when I book in. No amount of treats will make the slightest bit of difference to him.

idirdog Mon 20-May-13 11:39:35

It is not definite that you have to muzzle him. Counter conditioning can work very quickly for some dogs.

Get the yummiest, smelliest treat you can find, liver cake hot dogs, sausages.

Take him into the bathroom and hold your hand closed with the treat in in but very close to him so that he has to work hard to get the food out, do this for a few seconds. leave the room

Go back into the room and letting him try to get the food from your hand lift him and then give him the food.

Try later by lifting him into the bath etc still encouraging him to get the food let him work to get the food, do not take the treat away and do not give it to him all in one go. he has has to be constantly engaged on the food whilst you are doing things.

Very very quickly you can build up to keeping the food in front of him whilst someone can then bath him.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-May-13 11:45:35

Someone yesterday posted a link for me on how to get your dog to wear a muzzle. It isn't just a case of plonking it on as the dog wouldn't like that, again its all treat based so dog associates the muzzle with something nice.

Sorry am on phone so can't link, but look for the thread in dog topic that is titled something like vivalebeaver, want to thank you.

VivaLeBeaver Mon 20-May-13 11:49:13

He's the thread with the link to the muzzle video

DowntonTrout Mon 20-May-13 12:51:05

Thank you idirdog I will try that next time.

He is very food orientated ( overweight and greedy) so that is worth a go.

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