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  #1  
Old 05-17-2006, 08:17 PM
nova_gh nova_gh is offline
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Default Stubborn Sheltie

My sheltie, Simba, needs grooming badly. Since we got him a few months ago he's had wads of balled up hair stuck on him belly, and he has a huge one behind his right ear. Besides that his rear and stomach needs trimming badly.

Heres the problem with it. We adopted him, he's almost 2 years old and we're having a heck of a time breaking him in. He does not respond to disipline of any kind, he is stuck in his ways. If we leave him unattended and not in his crate for more than 15 minutes he'll have garbage riped up and pooped or peed wherever. Otherwise while we're around him he's just an angel.

We need to be able to do grooming ourselves because we cannot afford a professional to do it all the time. We brush once a week and that is a hastle, he will not sit still and gets defensive. If we attempt to trim his nails he tries to bite. If I attempt to cut hair off he yelps and or pees on my wife, which ever comes first. Its just flat out ridiculous. We're not being super nice and we're not being super mean, we just want him to understand "this needs to be done so deal with it". Can anyone help me???
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Old 05-18-2006, 08:50 AM
cowgurl6254 cowgurl6254 is offline
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I've had shelties my entire life, and his behavior is not at all typical for this breed. Normally they are very submissive and eager to please. I've owned/trained over 20 shelties and i've never had one attempt to bite me. Did you rescue him from a bad situation? If that's the case, he is probably responding out of fear. You can't have a "deal with it" kind of attitude towards him if he is genuinely afraid. I would start by very gently brushing one leg. If he does well with that and sits still, reward him and praise him and stop for that day. When he will sit still for one leg to be brushed, add in another leg and so on until you can groom his whole body. Shelties are very sensitive so any kind of negative feedback will only make things harder. Just go very slowly and reward him for any type of improvement. Good luck!
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Old 05-18-2006, 09:59 AM
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mojozen mojozen is offline
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One thing you might want to keep in mind when grooming your dog is those little balls of hair are pulling on his skin. He may need to be shaved down to the skin once by a professional to get rid of all the mats so they stop pulling on his skin causing him fear and pain. You can then regrow his hair coat out while you teach him through kindness that being groomed isn't something that hurts or that he needs to be afraid.
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Old 05-18-2006, 06:41 PM
nova_gh nova_gh is offline
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I don't know what kind of situation we pulled him out of but I don't think it was terribably bad. He seems to me to be quite obvious that he was never trained or worked with at all while a pup because he will not do anything by command. He's worse than a cat.

When he gets brushed, we do go slowly and reward him as nessesary. But it seems to me that he is causing more trouble than what is worth rewarding, and thus acts out, thinking he's doing good and will be rewarded. I definatly saw this while trying to clip hair off him, he would get squirmy and yelp after I attemp to cut. We'd have cheese or biscuits ready for him and the more I tried to get the hair cut the more "fun" it seemed like he was having. By the end he was all smiles and I'm left poed and nothing to show for my labor.

This weekend I'm going to find a muzzle, our sheltie rescue vet told us that if anything putting a muzzle on him would give him something else to think about.

Before we decided to adopt him wer did a ton of research and we were left with the impression that Shelties are a highly intelligent dogs. Is this an incorrect statement?
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Old 05-18-2006, 06:55 PM
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mojozen mojozen is offline
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It can also take a dog from a shelter about 6 months to settle in. Your dog may not know that everything is okay, he won't knowt his until he decides for himself. The more angry you get with him, the more time it will take him to settle in. Even if you don't yell at him, they can tell when you are angry.

Keep trying with the treats and gentle sessions... keep them VERY short.. only 5 minutes at best. And if you dont make a lot of progress with his coat, then you don't... it will take time for him to accept being brushed, as well as accept being handled, or even told what to do if he was allowed to be a wild child when he was younger.

To give you an example from my own life - my dog is now 4 years old. I adopted him 2 years ago from a vet tech school who had gotten him from a shelter to be used for 6 months to be a model dog for the vet tech students. He was used to being handled for "examinations" but he hadn't really been groomed at all while he was there.

When I got him home he would NOT sit still to be brushed. He would whine, squirm, dance away, and run and hide when I brought out the brushes. Finally I started to clip him to a short leash, and do just as you described... it wasn't until the next shedding season (about 6months later) he realized that being brushed helped with his itchiness! Now while he still isn't the best for grooming he will allow me to brush him for 10 minutes at a time (which with his short coat is all we need), including using a very soft brush made of goat fur on his face and legs.


Patience is the key.
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Old 05-18-2006, 09:29 PM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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I also recommend taking him to a reputable groomer to get those matts clipped out. They are VERY painful, and it could be just aggrivating everything. The groomer might need to sedate him lightly (you would need to take him to your Vet) - but it would be worth it to start off the training fresh. Just be positive. Try to get your GF to sit in front of him holding treats or chews and distract him with the treats before the grooming starts. Make sure he is surely leashed and the leash is being held, and just brush him lightly or snip here and there. If he shys away, call him back and reward him only when he stands still again.

Shelties are VERY smart! Trust me, by experience, herding dogs are bred to have brains galore. However, fear-aggression can be common in poorly socialized Shelties & Shelties from bad breeding. I suggest a behaviorist, training classes, and lots of reading up on good dog behavior books. I have a Border Collie with a neglectful start in life, and he came to us with loads of fearful behaviors. He still "shuts down" at times if he is over-stimulated or just mentally tired, and we give him plenty of breaks and positive reinforcement which prevents that. A Sheltie is certaintly not a Lab or a Golden, but they have great traits all their own.
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Old 05-19-2006, 10:24 AM
cowgurl6254 cowgurl6254 is offline
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Your research was correct. Shelties are amazingly intelligent and are known for that and their desire to please. I'm constantly amazed at how quick my shelties catch on to things. Ihartgonzo made a great point....all herding breeds are known for being very smart. It sounds like he has some behavorial issues...have you tried consulting a professional trainer? Don't get too discouraged. You have only had him a few months and it can take up to a year for a dog to fully settle in. Especially if that dog had not been trained or socialized before. Hang in there
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:42 PM
nova_gh nova_gh is offline
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Thanks for the great advice everyone, its what I need to hear. We did try to get him enrolled with a trainer but they wouldn't take any dogs that didn't go threw their circulum at younger ages. Basically saying Simba is to old for them to train. And they're really the only ones (not even in a decent driving distance) we found. Oh well. .

Heres a picture of the rascal.
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Old 05-20-2006, 11:11 AM
cowgurl6254 cowgurl6254 is offline
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I hope the advice helps. He is BEAUTIFUL by the way
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Old 05-20-2006, 11:34 AM
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No dog is ever too old to train. It's just that as they get older, they get more set in their ways and need better reasons to change. It sounds like perhaps those trainers don't have a full grasp on what they're doing and only know how to correct what they've started.

I agree that you may need to have him shaved down once and then start over. With short hair it won't be as much of a hassle to brush, and it will keep the sessions short without you having to worry about more tangles forming. One thing you might try is to hold the brush up for him, and if he looks at/touches it, say "good boy!" and give him a treat. Get him used to thinking that the brush makes treats appear for him. Same with the nail clippers. Start very slow and form a positive connection.

Good luck and feel free to ask all the questions you want to! Also, go dig through the training forum--there is a ton of great advice in there.
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