4 reasons why your Doodle refuses to be brushed

02-09-2015

People who know me or have seen me know that I have curls (a case of “one is known by the company one keeps” or in my case “birds of a feather flock together”).Anyway, as a child those curls were a bit longer, say up to my tailbone. And every morning those curls had to be brushed (or not at all, but at that time people didn't know how to deal with curls, so my hair was brushed, just like any other child's. And that brushing was a disaster, because anything but pleasant. I can still feel how much it hurt when my mother pulled my hair (because in my memory that brushing was not very gentle. It brought tears to my eyes. But more than a very loud "OW!" I couldn't; I had to endure the brushing. It must be the same for many Doodles and Water dogs, because curls simply tangle faster than straight hair. I often see messages from owners whose Doodle shows resistance when brushing. That resistance can range from not wanting to stand still, to growling while brushing and even biting the brush, especially if it is still a puppy. If a dog does not want to be brushed, it is never the dog's fault, but always the owner!

His negative energy, the wrong habituation, the wrong method of brushing, the wrong bush, or all of it combined. Brushing should be a pleasant experience. Something that calms both the owner and the Doodle. There is no reason whatsoever why brushing should not be equal to a wellness treatment.

So let's just expand a bit on those four points.

Labradoodle brushing

 

1.The energy of the dog owner

If you feel tense or uneasy during brushing, your Doodle will not turn submissive. A dog owner who fails to act like a pact leader won't be taken seriously by his or her dog. Be it a pup or a grown dog.

Your Doodle needs to feel safe in your hands and if you give her but the slightest reason to mistrust you, the game's up.

As Cesar Millan puts it, this means that you should always stay "calm and assertive".

You stand firm, think only about what you want to accomplish, take a deep breath and then you act.

As soon as you show hesitation, you'll get caught. Your Doodle expects you to be clear.

Brushing is something that takes time. Doing it in a hurry will only have the opposite effect.

2. Wrong habituation

If you've slacked in getting your puppy comfortable with brushing from the get-go, problems will loom on the horizon.
If you hold off brushing until your puppy suffers from tangles, then it's going to hurt and you really can't 
blame your pup for putting up a fight.

Biting your hands or the brush is a serious no-no. Once you allow this, or worse, if you stop brushing because of it, you'll just reinforce him in that kind of behaviour. That'll only make the biting worse.

This too requires you to act like a leader. As soon as your pup shows an inclination to bite, you'll discipline him with a low-pitched, short "UH", "NO" or "BAD" to show him that biting doesn't fly in this house.

Do this consistently, and you'll see that your pup quickly picks up on the do's and don'ts of brushing behaviour.

Rewarding bad behaviour is a serious NO NO! Don't comfort your pup once he puts up a fight, whines, growls, pushes up against you, rests his head on your shoulder, or any other form of manipulation to get you to stop brushing.

Pups are quick to pick up on what they should do to influence you, and if you yield you'll only reinforce that behaviour and you'll never be accepted as a leader. 

So no treats, petting, hugs, high-pitched words or even tolerating that type of resistance. Instead, you act as the pack leader, who knows what to do, doesn't do it half-assed and keeps going until she's accomplished what she set out to do: in this case, brushing her pup.

Labradoodle brushing

3. The wrong style of brushing

If you brush too hard or too fast, or if you exert too much pressure when brushing, you'll hurt your pup.
Can't blame him for struggling then, can you? 

The brush is used as an extension of your hand and all you're doing is petting. You should never hear yourself brush, because then the odds are you're scratching the skin.

What's more, you use the brush first and only begin combing after the brushing.
Never the other way around, because a comb will pull on the tangles, which hurts your Doodle.

There are more techniques like this that you should know in order to brush effectively and efficiently.

You can learn all these in my Brushing Pro Program. Check it out!

4. The wrong brush

The number 1 problem for Doodle coat care is using the wrong grooming materials, first and foremost the wrong brush.

If you don't use the right one, you won't touch the skin when brushing, so you'll only glance over the 'fresh' tangles that will develop into felt.

Brushing will then hurt your Doodle immediately. 

Not using a special grooming table is a recipe for disaster as well.

If you care to learn more about this, I'd recommend you to read my free eBook "6 secrets to keep your Doodle tangle-free".
It has everything you need to know to you give your Doodle an optimal coat care and you can download it on this page.

After reading this blog, I hope you've gained some understanding on how you can learn to brush your Doodle effortlessly.

Are you experiencing these kinds of problems when brushing and/or grooming your Doodle?

Maybe this will help you.

For now happy grooming!

Lots of Doodle love,

Wanda & Joy

Labradoodle grooming