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After many years of owning ang loving Labs ( still have 3 old girls ) I am now the proud Mom of "Allison" my 5 month old Havanese. She is wonderful in every way, except grooming. She hates it. She trys to bite whenever I attempt to brush her legs. Will she out grow this ?? Am I doing something wrong ?? I work for a Veterinarian, so I see lots of dogs that can be aggressive. Allison isn't at all....except when she sees a brush or comb. She is so smart and loving, and I am thrilled with her, but I am hoping this will end !! We have tons of clients at the Clinic where I work, but she is the only Havanese. I would appreciate any advice !!
 

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There is no universal standard as to how any individual Havanese takes to grooming, or even grooming some particular area. They all take to it, or some part of it, differently. The trick is in how the dog is held. Or more specifically the timing of the release while holding. They have to accept the fact that they are being held, but more importantly they have to trust the holder in that the holder will release the resistance to the dog moving the INSTANT the dog relaxes. No baby talk. The release is the reward. This is the exact same timing used in training horses. You can't win a test of strength with a horse. You can only gain their respect and complete trust. The difference in a good horse trainer and any other lower level of trainer is the level of trust and how complete that trust is.
The dog also has to trust that the groomer will use the minimum amount of force needed during the brushing.
A couple that have 2 of our "puppies", one 2 yr. old and one 4 years old, brought them a couple of days ago for Pam and I to give them puppy cuts (they had driven from about 3 hours away). They had drop dead gorgeous, down to the floor, perfectly kept coats. Long story short-we got to the toenail cutting part. The owners were terribly anxious telling us that it took 2 people to hold one while his toenails were cut. Their mouths both dropped open as we trimmed the nails with no resistance from the dog. By the time we got to that part we had gained his trust and respect.
I'll be glad to show some of the holds I use and explain the release at Nationals sometime if anyone is interested.
 

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Grooming

Miss Daisy also hates being combed. For that reason, I keep her in a puppy cut, which I do myself. (she is a pet not a show dog) She doesn't like that much either, but I only have to cut her every 2 or 3 months and it really cuts down on the combing. Soooo, she is happier and I am happier.
 
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