Eats badly after brushing

Grooming: This is how your dog overcomes the fear of brushing

Summer is going and the autumn days with wind, rain and colorful leaves are just around the corner. This is a popular season for dogs to romp in forests and over meadows or to hunt through rain puddles - and at temperatures that really bring your four-legged friend to life. But especially in autumn we dog owners are faced with some challenges. Because with the wet season comes more grooming - including frequent combing and brushing. But what if your dog is afraid of brushing and bares its teeth as soon as you pick up the brush?

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Combing and brushing - the be-all and end-all in grooming

Regular brushing is a must when grooming. A well-groomed coat is not just a question of looking good, it is also good for the dog's health, for example the blood circulation in the skin, which is stimulated by combing.

How often or in what way a dog has to be combed cannot be answered across the board, but depends on the breed of dog in question. Long-haired dogs like the Collie, Maltese or Newfoundland, for example, tend to be matted. And these are great food for parasites, which like to settle in the small nodules and can be the cause of diseases. Daily combing and brushing helps to gently loosen these knots. Tufts of fur that hang over the ears, eyes or nose are more likely to be clipped, as they impair the dog's senses. Especially when the coat changes in spring and autumn, the four-legged friends with a thick undercoat have extreme hair. Then special combs help to gently remove the loose undercoat from the coat without damaging the skin or top coat. It is a little easier for short-haired or stick-haired dogs. They need to be brushed less often.

By the way: dog hair does not fall off automatically, but only loosens over time. Because of this, dogs often shake or rub against walls, on the carpet or on the sofa.

Teach the dog to brush - just not with force or hectic!

Dogs don't automatically love to be combed and brushed. But on the contrary! If the dog was not used to it as a puppy or if a previous owner did not take his dog's coat care seriously, they can react anxiously or aggressively to the combing. The reasons could be varied, however. Let's imagine the following situation that could happen to any of us: The dog has to be combed, but actually we don't have time again. So we grab a comb and brush, call our dog and brush it relatively quickly and with a bit of a hectic pace. The dog immediately notices the tension and wants to withdraw. But we hold it tight and brush the fur roughly off. There is a risk of possible injuries to the sensitive skin. And before we know it, our four-legged friend will run away the next time if he only sees the brush or starts to growl. Shelter dogs can also react hectically at the beginning.

No matter why a dog reacts aggressively to combing. There are a few tips and tricks we can use to remedy this. But that is only possible with a lot of time and patience.

Look for the cause

Do you have any idea why your four-legged friend is afraid of the brush or comb? If not, you should start with this question. Sometimes the cause is part of the solution. Because every breed of dog has a different coat, the requirements for utensils such as combs, brushes, massage gloves or scissors are very different. Could it be the brush itself because it's too hard? Or are you using a comb that is not ideal for the dog breed? That alone can lead to sensitivity disorders on the skin. Even with mongrels, it is not always immediately apparent which brush we need. Then we recommend getting advice from a veterinarian or specialist retailer. They examine the fur with the undercoat and give tips.

Perhaps the cause is also your own fear? If you are unsure how to properly brush your fur nose, this fear will be transferred to your sensitive dog. He senses exactly that you are afraid. You should actually be the boss and show where to go. In the end, you are both afraid and a vicious circle develops. Then relaxation and rest are the way to the goal.

Don't force the dog!

If your four-legged friend reacts to you and your brush by growling, he feels under pressure. And we have to take that away from him. Because by force we create a situation that is never good for you or your dog. The four-legged friend has to learn (again) that brushing is not bad, but is good for them. And that is only possible with a conscious approach, a lot of time and even more patience.

Create a relaxed environment

As a rule, dogs do not like a hectic pace and great restlessness. And that's exactly what we humans should learn from. You should have time to comb your dog. Plan conscious time for combing in your daily routine and look for a permanent place for you and your dog. So after a certain time he knows: Now I'm being combed! That gives him and you structure and security. Example: Always comb it before you eat it in the evening. This is how your dog knows that there will be a large portion of reward after work. In time, he will lose his fear.

Combing step by step

If your four-legged friend is already afraid of combing and reacts aggressively, you have to approach it step by step.

  • When he's completely relaxed, start by sitting next to your dog on the sofa without a brush and petting him.
  • The next time you use such a situation and sit next to him with the dog brush in your hand. You stroke it again without using the brush. You should just lie very quietly on your knees, for example. If the dog breaks down, reward him with a treat. If he frantically jumps up and runs away, try again next time. At some point there comes a moment when your dog realizes that nothing is happening with the brush in hand. Do not forget treats so that the brush combines something positive with the dog.
  • When you have taken the step, try to bring the brush closer together with the dog. Again you sit next to him on the sofa. For example, you could let your dog sniff the brush or put a reward on the brush. Stay relaxed while doing this. Because your calm carries over to your fur nose. Maybe you just leave your comb and brush lying on the floor somewhere. Then he has time to sniff at it in an inconspicuous moment.
  • Is the hurdle over? Then you could try stroking your dog's back with a very soft brush or massage glove. But be careful: the dogs' heads, ears and paws are very sensitive. For now, do without it and brush it in places that it doesn't mind. Again you can reward him with treats.
  • If that all worked out, you can switch to the right brush or comb over time. It is best to start at the neck and then work your way towards the back. Don't forget the tail. Important: Long movements with the brush are better than briefly moving the brush over the same spot over and over again. Be gentle when brushing, but consistently lovingly. For example, if your dog doesn't want to let his head rest, gently push him back to the floor. If he prefers to stand, you should make sure that he does not run away, but hold him in that position with gentle pressure.

Sounds easy? Well, the most important thing is that the dog and not you set the limit. If you pay attention to his signals, it can take a long time to get him used to the brush. Do not see time as lost time, but conscious togetherness between you and your four-legged friend, which strengthens your friendship.

Make sure the background noise is calm

Is the TV or radio running at full volume? Or your children have brought friends home with them who are rumbling loudly through the house? Then now is hardly the right time to prepare your already fearful or aggressive dog for brushing. Because the dog cannot relax like this. Find a moment when it's quieter.

At eye level with the dog

Some dogs do not like it that much when the dog owner approaches him from above while combing, because they could perceive this as a threat. In that case we should try to be on an equal footing with the dog. Small dogs can sometimes be placed on the table. If dogs don't like this or are too big, we can get on our knees to comb them.

Start at puppy age

Often times, problems with grooming can be traced back to a failure to comb a dog when it was a puppy. But it is precisely then that it is easiest to get used to it with a lot of love. Because he does not associate anything positive or negative with the brush.

If in doubt, go to the animal salon

Long-haired dogs in particular need a lot of grooming. While weekly brushing is sufficient for short-haired dogs, the growing hair of long-haired dogs becomes matted quickly and is difficult or painful to untangle. To do this, they need to be shorn and trimmed regularly. Going to the animal salon makes sense here. The experts have more experience in grooming, suitable accessories for de-felting and can give you tips and tricks on everything you can do at home. By the way: some pet hairdressers even come home, which makes it even more relaxed for your dog.


An overview of important utensils

  • Moisturizing dog shampoo
  • Dog scissors
  • Massage brush or fur glove
  • Comb (antistatic)
  • Wire brush (must match the breed and size)
  • Natural hair brush
  • Plucking brush
  • Trim knife

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