Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Trimming Dilemma

Meet Roxie, The Peanut's doggie. 

She's sassy, loving and playful pretty much most of the time.

But yesterday?

She got a piece of...erm...poop stuck on the fur near her backside.  And she's wigged out about letting us take it off.

So much so that we are taking her in to the vet today to have them try and take care of it, because now it's gotten itself matted into the fur and is a mess.

She's terrified, for some weird reason, of anyone getting anywhere near her backside.  Including when we take her to the groomers to have her fur trimmed, to try and keep something like this from happening.  She just growls, whines, snaps, moves around to avoid you getting anywhere near her, you name it.  Poor pooch has been hunkering in her kennel for the last day, and is terrified to come out for fear we'll try to clean things off.

I've never seen a dog overreact to something like this -- and it has me stumped.

Any suggestions on prevention of this issue, or how to train her to be less terrified of getting cleaned up, would be most appreciated.

(Photo is one of my own -- this is Roxie's first day with her new stuffed hedgehog squeaky toy.  It was love at first bite.)


Pade said...

Hi Christie,
Poor thing - can't imagine what has caused such a reaction. I have an idea or two but both are long term solutions. First try petting her only toward the rear. No pets anywhere else - you may have to be very patient - so she will only get a reward for allowing a pet in the rear area. This will take some time to get a positive result as she will have to figure out the connection. The other solution would be to do some clicker training to accomplish a similar solution. In that case you would first have to learn about clicker training. There is a lot of info on the internet. I have learned and used it with my new Airedale pup and it has been a huge success. I have a terrific puppy clicker training video that I would be happy to share with you. I would have to send it as I have no idea how to email it. I think you must have my email address or access to it. Let me know and I will ship it out. Good luck at the vet's.


Pade said...

PS - is she food oriented? If so any positive progress could also be marked by a small food reward. The clicker method gives a click for behavior toward the desired result followed by a treat. The method was designed by people training dolphins and transfered to dog trainers. It has also been used on many other species I think even goldfish.


Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks so much, Nancy -- really appreciate the advice. She's had a wash, and a shaving in the rear area which will (hopefully) keep things from getting icky for a little while. I thought maybe there might be a soreness issues that was making her crabby, but there isn't any abrasion or other problem apparent to anyone.

I'm just stumped because she's so good otherwise. Would love to take a peek at the clicker training -- will e-mail you about it soon. Thanks mucho!

Pade said...

Happy to help. I just typed a long suggestion and couldn't get it to publish without going back and registering again. Which I also had to do this morning. Am I doing something wrong or is that the usual? Although the PS went through earlier. I always read your daily comments and enjoy them every day and would comment from time to time without this dilema.

Anyway - my suggestion. Make sure that when she is difficult you do not attempt to soothe her but make some sound to let her know that behavior is not acceptable. I often have a dog to be groomed whose owner tells it OK when it doesn't want to cooperate. That gives the dog permission and makes it think that behavior is one you want. Only reward the behavior you want from Roxie. You know like people who hold barking dogs by the collar and tell them it is OK and then wonder why they always bark at the door for example. Terriers are so smart that it doesn't take much. I have several friends who use clicker training with their Westies and do very well.


Suzanne said...

token's real skittish about anyone or anything going anywhere near his rear end -- i've found that he reacts less when he gets the occasional sticky poo if i put him in the sink and run warm water over his behind. i use the veggie sprayer for a wee bit more water pressure. tis the only time i let him stand with his front legs on the sink lip when getting bathed which he thinks is a treat and allows me greater access to his rear.

he doesn't freak out about the water touching his bottom and eventually will let me try to dislodge the offender with a wet washrag as long as the water continues to flow.

needless to say, the sink gets cleaned and disinfected immediately...

Christy Hardin Smith said...

Thanks, Suz -- we have tried that with Roxie, too. As she's gotten older and much stronger, it is harder to manage, but still works well in a pinch. (Clorox makes a great cleaning spray for just such an occasion afterward. lol)

The bottom line for us (no pun intended) is that we are just going to have to be much more vigilant about keeping her backside trimmed. So we'll just have to make a regular appointment with the groomers and take care of that first thing. And then the behavioral modification that Nancy suggests also sounds really helpful.

Roxie is such a sweet, loving dog that this behavior is really out of character, and it makes her really unhappy while its going on, too -- you can see it. We don't want her to be miserable, so we're going to do what needs to be done to try and prevent it, and help her cope with it when it comes up with behavioral training. Here's hoping this works well. (If not, we can always run her back over to the vet for a quick shave and a scrub -- they were fantastic with her yesterday, which makes me think part of this may be us inadvertently giving her cues that hype the bad behavior. It's like training your child -- or your husband -- I suppose. *g*)