Grooming your dog is an important part of their overall health and well-being.
Regular brushing helps to remove dirt, debris, and loose hair from their coat, as well as prevent mats and tangles from forming.
However, if your Newfie hates being brushed, grooming can quickly become a frustrating and stressful experience for both you and your dog.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips and techniques for grooming a dog that hates being brushed.
People often comment about how well-behaved Lou is on the grooming table and he is, in fact, if I would have to narrow down the areas that Lou is the best behaved in, grooming on the table would be one of them.
However, the catch here is that Lou is well-behaved ON the grooming table.
Doing any type of grooming on Lou including brushing, combing, trimming and drying on the floor is a nightmare.
He will try to eat the dog brush, mouth my arm, start barking at me and walk away.
The reason for this is that to Lou, being groomed on the table is a “serious” time but being groomed on the floor is playtime.
I can see why he thinks this is because we play on the floor.
If I sit on the floor with him, he thinks it’s playtime but when we do grooming we go to a separate area where play usually doesn’t take place.
I’m lucky because I have the ability to have a designated room for my grooming table but it wasn’t always that way.
In fact, where my dog grooming tables stand now there used to be a pool table but I still had a designated area in my house for grooming.
The reason why I’m going into so much detail with this is that whenever someone tells me that their dog hates being brushed and groomed, they usually describe exactly what I see Lou doing if he’s not on the table.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to have a grooming table inside of your house because I know that’s not feasible for a lot of people but you should try to have a designated area for grooming in your house.
That area could be a separate room, the corner of a room, the garage…..etc.
That area should also be marked and what I mean by that is that you want your dog to have a designated place where they should sit, stand or lie down on.
This could be a yoga mat, a large beach towel, or a few carpet squares-just something that your dog can identify as a place.
Let’s talk about a few other ways you can make grooming a more enjoyable experience for your Newfie
Designated Dog Grooming Area
As we talked about above, make a designated spot in your house for dog grooming.
A spot that your dog will know is THE dog brushing spot.
Use a yoga mat, carpet square, cooling mat or beach towel for your dog to lay on.
In your grooming area, you can also include a lick mat or Toppl/Kong so that your dog can keep their mind busy while you’re brushing.
Don’t include any toys though because it’s not playtime.
I know I say this all the time but it’s so important to introduce grooming to your Newfoundland as soon as you bring them home.
Newfie puppies don’t need a lot of grooming until their double coat comes in but they should still be conditioned to the process.
Just like you train your Newfie to sit and stay, you should also train them to be groomed.
Grooming in small increments even just 5 minutes a day, could make a world of difference in the long run.
If your dog is new to being brushed or has had negative experiences with grooming in the past, it’s important to start slow and build up their tolerance gradually.
Begin by offering your dog treats and praise while showing them the brush or comb.
Once they are comfortable with the brush, try brushing a small section of their coat for just a few seconds at a time, gradually increasing the length of the grooming sessions over time.
You can’t expect a puppy or an adult dog that has never been groomed to just accept being touched with an object they aren’t familiar with.
Use positive reinforcement.
Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool for training dogs to enjoy grooming.
Offer treats and praise for good behavior, and take breaks if your dog becomes stressed or agitated.
If possible use a praise word when your dog is responding the way you want them to respond.
For Lou, I use the word GOOD in a high-pitched excited tone.
I also make sure to give him his favorite paw massage and I also ALWAYS throw in some smooches.
Over time, your dog will learn to associate grooming with positive experiences and will be more willing to tolerate the process.
Choose the Right Grooming Tools
Purchasing good grooming tools for your Newfie is an investment.
Over time you’ll accumulate a lot of different tools but your favorites will stay your favorites.
Choosing the correct tools doesn’t only include just the brushes that are supposed to work well on a Newfie’s dense coat but it also includes what tool works best on YOUR Newfie and what is most comfortable for you to use.
Be sure to choose a dog brush and comb that is appropriate for your dog’s coat type, and length and tools that are comfortable for you to use because you’ll be using them a lot.
If you have to pick between a comb or a brush, I personally would choose the dog comb because it’s much more efficient.
If your dog has sensitive skin, consider a brush with wooden pins.
Use a Conditioning Spray
Conditioning sprays can help to loosen mats and tangles, making brushing easier and less painful for your dog.
A detangling spray is going to make brushing or combing a lot easier for you too!
Look for a spray that is formulated specifically for dogs and does not contain any harsh chemicals or fragrances.
Try Different Techniques
If your dog still hates being brushed, try using different grooming techniques, such as using your fingers to gently separate mats or tangles, or using a grooming glove that fits over your hand and allows you to massage your dog’s coat while removing loose hair.
Consider Professional Grooming
If your dog simply cannot tolerate brushing, consider taking them to a professional dog groomer who has experience working with difficult dogs.
A professional groomer can provide a stress-free grooming experience for your dog and help you maintain their coat without causing them undue stress or discomfort.
Address Underlying Health Issues
If your dog continues to resist grooming despite your best efforts, it’s possible that it might have an underlying health issue, such as skin allergies like a hot spot or arthritis.
Be sure to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that may be causing your dog’s discomfort.
In conclusion, grooming a dog that hates being brushed can be a challenging task, but with patience, persistence, and the right tools and techniques, it is possible to make the experience more comfortable for both you and your dog.
By taking a gentle, positive approach to grooming and using conditioning sprays, different techniques, and possibly professional grooming, you can help your Newfie enjoy the benefits of regular grooming without causing them undue stress or discomfort.