Q. I have an eight-month-old male neutered Corgie and I have a real problem trying to groom him. He won't let me touch his paws or clean his eyes and last week he growled at me. I'm worried and I'd like to get on top of the situation. Mark, via e-mail
A. This is a very delicate situation and it needs to be approached in the right way or you could end up getting bitten. Your dog is nervous of being groomed either because he's not used to it, or because he's had a bad experience in the past.
You need to start gently. If you rush in, hold him down and try to clean his eyes, there's a high probability you'll get bitten and that he won't let you near him again!
When he is sitting near you, start stroking him very gently all over his body – if he lets you. When he is calm and enjoying it, give him a treat. Then move on to the problem areas, ie, his feet and his head, by gently running your hand around them and then rewarding him. What you are trying to do is build up a relationship so that he trusts you not to hurt him.
It is very unusual to find a dog that will stand still when you groom them, so what I usually do is put a lead on, so I have some control. When he's OK with having the lead on indoors, sit with him on the floor, gently stroking him all over.
The big step will be to get a piece of moist kitchen roll and to put it on your lap where he can see it. When he looks relaxed, start stroking him on the head. Now, take the kitchen roll and gently wipe it over his face – not just the eyes – like you are stroking him. Don't forget to give him treats while you do this. Good luck!
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