I have not had to use a muzzle in the past - my last sheepie hated being groomed but obediently endured it with only the ocasional nip if I caused pain or frightened her.
Chelsea is another story, despite the fact that we have made her grooming environment comfortable and secure, that we are very gentle and use positive reinforcement, that it is a family affair with lots of love and support, this dog is impossible! She bites and bites hard, when corrected she gets aggressive and the whole affair turns into a dominance thing. She's been to the real groomer once and the report was not good. They had a lot of trouble with her too.
So I decided to try a muzzle so that I can comb her out without risking injury. Any thoughts on the muzzle, long term drawbacks? Anyone have any experience with muzzling these dogs? Will she develop a psychosis about this? I know it sounds crazy to ask all of this, but I know how these dogs think, and i don't want to start down an adversarial path with her, she's really smart, very stubborn, and very opinionated (sound familiar!?)
Anyway- any advice would be much appreciated.
|I've heard of alot of OES needing muzzling to be groomed! It's unfortunate - but if it means safety for all those involved - it's a good choice.
I don't have much experience at this - but you could email Grannie Annie of NEOESR (email@example.com) - she's an expert in this area and has dealt with many dogs with an aversion to grooming! She'll know what to do - I'm sure of it!
In the mean time, I'd consider clipping her down - to minimize the grooming needed.
|One wonders if you'll have to start with the one minute grooming and each day add another minute. If the dog snaps, on goes the muzzle and continue grooming for the alloted time. You might put a giant timer nearby and as soon as it goes off, stop. The dog will learn the session ends with the timer. Patience is a virtue, espec in sheepies, LOL.|
|Thanks for the insight!
I took Chelsea to the groomer Friday and asked them - they of course said 'yes' to the muzzle. One thing I have noticed though. When I use the muzzle, she is really feisty afterward, more so than she otherwise would be- I guess she's just plain MAD.
That leads me to think I will be better off trying to groom without the muzzle, and the muzzle will then be a consequence if she is biting and not managing to 'control' herself, I may use the timer trick too. I KNOW she is smart enough. She's always sorry when she bites, she just has a really hard time remembering to resist the urge.
Like I said to my mother-in-law who is visting, some things are hard, some are easy! Chelsea is perfectly amicable about sleeping all night in her crate, she was house trained in a flash, so the grooming will be our 'hard' thing to learn. They are all different.
Thanks again for the advice!
|Have you tried scraping peanut butter on the top of her mouth? Sometimes they get so preoccupied with licking it off the roof of their mouth that you can do just about anything to them. I don't own an OES - but it has worked with a lot of my other pets.
My Himalayan cat is just as bad as your dog when it comes to being groomed. We have to put beef broth in a dropper - and let someone slowly drip it into his mouth while we clip his nails - he is such a baby! He is also heavily resistant to brushing - so I have to brush him while he eats... maybe it will work for you too?
|I seem to have the same problem also with bathing can't really clean the ears or the feet to well. domination has been my key but I don't hit him. no one else in the family can handle his grooming so I try to maintain him short haired.|
|if my trainer saw your post, though she doesn't support muzzles, i'm pretty sure she would say "too bad for your dog." Meaning, let the dog fight it out. When it's done fighting the muzzle, keep it on for a few more minutes, tell her she's good, then take it off. I work in an animal lab and we have to do all sorts of strange restraints to animals. We gradually acclimate them until they are comfortable so we can do what needs to get done.|
|Here's an update-
The muzzle is an option - but it makes Chelsea MEAN- so we try to avoid it at all costs. The best tricks we've discovered are:
1) leaning against her while we brush something sensitive, it's a love thing, she cuddles up and acts brave if she's getting held close and leaned on.
2) holding a treat just out of reach - commanding "hold" while we make a few strokes with the brush and if she maintains without biting she gets the treat- baby steps, it's arduous, but it's working, slowly but surely.
3) PEANUT BUTTER - the previous poster (above) had this one nailed. Not only does she respond to PB on the roof of the mouth, but I owe a BIG THANK YOU to my Vet's tech, she told us to smear PB really thin on the refrig, the washer, or some other non-porous, vertical surface, WOW! We smear it on a ceramic tile wall that is next to the grooming table- she just stands there and licks, and licks, and licks, while we just brush and brush and brush. It is GREAT while it lasts. ( a little windex and the smudgy PB is all gone)
So - those are the tricks we have learned, the muzzle is a bust and it almost puts us back to "square one" each time because she gets so darn MAD that we have to start all over establishing trust.
I use the analogy of teaching your kids manners, if you pick up all of the breakables how will they ever learn to NOT break them?- if you have them eat at 'kid's table' at home, how can you expect them to have manners when they sit with you at a restaurant? If you put a muzzle on your OES, they think it's okay to be aggressive and bite and be angry - you just can't feel it, take the muzzle off and they think they can still have all that agression- you have to teach the aggression / mistrust out of them.
That's my final analysis on the muzzle question - thanks everybody for the support!!
|I did the unthinkable last night. I bought Zoe a muzzle. She gets so excited when we play that she has started biting. Ignoring her and turning our back to her worked for about a day. and we have just tried everything.
So I bought that thing. When she started up last night, it was NO BAD DOG! and she continued. So we put it on and left it for about 10 minutes.
She was totally calm when we removed it and when we played she did not try to bite. However the thing as she tried to get it off have left mats on her nose down to the skin. We worked on her last night for about 45 minutes, I think we got out two.
I have watered down some good conditioner and am going to work on her today.
That thing is going back to Pets Mart today. Yucky Mats!!
Thanks for letting a newbie rant (again!)
|We have a muzzle that we use every blue moon for burcwen. Whenever she is going to be exposed for a length of time to other people I usually put the muzzle on because I know otherwise she will bite them, but that is because, as you may have read in the behaviour section, burcwen is neurotic.
One thing that I have found is that burcwen actually calms down when the muzzle is on. If a stranger was standing in front of her and I was simply holding on to her, she would be growling and pulling, trying to attack. With the muzzle on however she just sits nice, as if she knows she couldn't bite, so she give up on the idea!
Ironically, grooming is the one time I do not have to worry about burcwen. She hops up on the grooming table and will stand still, obeidantly, for long periods of time. Almost anyone can approach her when she is in "grooming mode" and while grooming her anyone can touch her anywhere and she will not be nervous (whereas normally, I am the only one who she will allow to touch her tummy). I would love to figure out what it is about grooming time that vanquishes her neurosis.
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