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Use of muzzle when grooming??
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Use of muzzle when grooming??

Our Westie (a Terrier if you don't already know, and that means strong will, stubborn,  and quick) is a rescue that we have had for almost 10 months.  He appears to have been a family pet, but was feral long enough to almost starve to death and to suffer from run-away yeast infection, so bad the vet thinks it was the cause of his loss of hearing.

He is a frisky 8 (est) year old that is clearly not a lap dog but does love affection.  But, soon after our adoption we learned that he did not like to be groomed.  He would snap at the brush and accident or not sometimes hit the groomers hand.  He has been groomed a couple of times, including nails trimmer and I assume the groomers used a muzzle to prevent being bitten.  The rescue person who is also a Westie breeder and shower said she has had some that it takes two people to accomplish a trim, one to hold, the other to trim.  In our case I don't want to subject my wife to being the support person,  The rescue worker also warned that using a muzzle could make the dog "head shy".

He is well behaved for a bath in the kitchen sink, and just fits. He is even patient about drying with a hair dryer, but not so much with brushing while drying.

I am thinking of purchasing one of the Velcro-type straps that can be looped and secured around the nose/mouth.  This need again surfaced during a attempted solo nail trim (using a Dremel rotating sanding tool - which works great and removes nail in a very smooth and even fashion) and today following an attempt to do some grooming after a bath.  

Any suggestions or warnings on use of a muzzle?
6 Comments Post a Comment
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974371_tn?1364538460
Boy, I hear ya and understand!  My own dogs that I raised were used to getting nails done and I prefer a Dremmel.  The little rescue I have here is terrible about getting nails trimmed in any fashion.  She nipped me once and will have none of that.  A friend comes over and we do her dogs and my dog's nails together.  Yep, we started putting a soft muzzle on her but the las couple of times have not used it as she is getting the "no bite!" Command.  Actually, we found if we let them run and play hard for a while it tires them out some.  I understand the breeder being concerned about becoming head shy but you are not doing it that often and I do not notice that problem.  We had a Greyhound fir a number if years and have had fosters here and had to do their nails.  I only ever had one bare it's teeth, ours never did, but I always muzzled them as my face was too close for comfort.  Of course, track dogs are used to muzzles.  After every nail session, they are always praised and rewarded with a treat whether they were little Hellions or not. :-)
As for the brushing, try just laying the dog on the floor when you are watching TV or something and do some brushing and rewarding for short periods, maybe stay away from the head to start.
No issues using muzzles here, if need be.
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Avatar_f_tn
Yes, I train all of my dogs to accept a muzzle, so that if they ever need it, they won't be freaked out by it.  I use the mesh kind.  It has to be bought in the right size.  You might want to take your dog to the pet store, so as to avoid having to bring a muzzle back and exchange it for the right size.  The first time you put the muzze on the dog, immediately give him a high-value (meaning something he goes crazy for but doesn't get very often) food treat.  That's why I like the mesh muzzles, because you can feed a small treat to the dog with the muzzle on.  Then, just as he is guzzling the treat, take the muzzle off.  The next day, repeat the procedure:  put muzzle on, feed high value treat, and then immediately remove the muzzle.  When he starts seeming like he is eager for you to put the muzzle on him so he can get the treat, you can gradually start increasing the amount of time that you leave the muzzle on him.  Go slow.  Feed him a lot of treats while he has it on, or better yet, use an activity treat.  In other words, play a game that he loves or take him someplace that he loves, but only with the muzzle on.  If he learns to associate the muzzle with good things, it won't be stressful for him when you get it out and put it on him.  If he fusses and wants the muzzle off, get him calm before you  take it off, even if he's only momentarily calm.  Pick your moment, when removing it.  You don't want to reward him for acting out by removing the muzzle while he is fussing,  but you also don't want to stress him too much by leaving it on him for an excessive amount of time at first.  I have to disagree with your rescue worker by saying that there is no problem with using a muzzle if you condition the dog to accept it by using positive rewards.  
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974371_tn?1364538460
I don't see that I said that and I always advocate using rewards
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Avatar_f_tn
Please refer to the Original Post:  "The rescue worker warned that using a muzzle could make the dog head-shy."  That's what I was referring to -- a reported comment by the rescue worker who adopted out Jerry_NJ's dog to him.  
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612551_tn?1247839157
I think "skydnsr" was referring to the rescue worker from whom I got our Westie, she's the one that was worried about the dog becoming "Head Shy"  She did not say I shouldn't use one.  The help I have already gotten here I think puts me on the right track.
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974371_tn?1364538460
Gotcha.  :-)
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