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Dogs/Nervous Scottie

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Question
Our male Scottie will be 2 years old this month.  This is our 3rd Scottie and we love the temperament of the breed.  
George O'Malley has some unusual fears we need some help with.  He is very fearful of his collar or a bandana.  If you need to take his collar off or put it back on, he hides or runs around rubbing his snout on the floor.  When he sees his leash to go for a walk, he hides.  We have always used a harness, so he has never been choked and we don't understand how to make him comfortable.  I have tried leaving the harness on inside to get used to it but his anxiety is extreme.  It makes me feel awful, so I remove it.  Once outside, he does eventually adjust and enjoys a walk, but getting ready is so much work, it has not been happening very often lately.
His other issue is grooming.  I have always groomed him at home and it is such an ordeal, we never get all the way through.  He is fearful, even of his brush. Praise, treats, nothing works.
I am sure you will say that we need to work on these things often and slowly let him understand that no harm will come to him, but his anxiety is so great, I hate torturing him.  Any ideas would be helpful at this point.
nancy

Answer
Is it the harness or a collar that he is objecting to, or both.  
Suggestion:  Start with a thin yarn and put it on his neck or fashion it as a harness and let him wear this all the time.  If/when he is comfortable with this, get a thicker yarn for him to wear.  Yarn is extremely light and it will give him a chance to get used to something on him.  Gradually increase weight of the yarn until you can trade it in with a VERY light weight puppy collar, then finally to a regular collar.

Grooming:  Switch to a comb, don't pull out matts or anything for awhile.  Get the mats out with your fingers until he isn't afraid anymore. Start this next suggestion when he is in a deep sleep. Comb him, do ONE stroke on a part of his body; he will jump awake.  Stop the process, praise him by yelling  "Hurayyyyyyy" and leave it for another time.  Next time he is in a deep sleep, start the process again.  This is a long process, but it eventually works.

Another suggestion is to try a sedative from the vet.  Make sure you are not brushing too hard.  He sounds like he is tender skinned.  Have you heard of people that are tender heads?  Dogs can be that way too.  So anytime you groom him go very lightly and careully.  This way you won't hit any knots that will pull his skin.  If you are stripping him, know that it hurts and he may never adapt to that.
n
ps  if you are stipping him, pull less hair each time.

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Nancy Perry

Expertise

You can ask me anything on dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming. What type of dog you should get. Pertinent facts about different breeds. I am also specifically knowledgeable about terriers and the diets that help maintain coat excellence. I have trained and helped owners train their dogs.

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I have worked in dog training for 35 years. I have been a dog groomer for 25 years..

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Certified trainer with Petsmart Certified Groomer with Petsmart

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approximatedly 2 to three hundred clients since 1993

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