Five common dog care challenges and how to resolve them

Five common dog care challenges and how to resolve them


Even if your dog is really well trained and exceptionally well behaved, there are still likely to be times when they’re uncooperative or reluctant about something, and will either refuse to comply with your commands or make everything a lot harder than it needs to be.

Knowing how to deal with challenging situations that your dog dislikes or is wary of is a common element of dog ownership, and one that has stumped every dog owner at some point! Exactly what any given dog dislikes or objects to can be very variable, and being surprised by a bad reaction on the part of your dog can make it challenging to know how to tackle things next time.

If your dog has previously had a bad experience or if something about what you’re trying to do distresses them, their reactions to a certain stimulus or event are likely to worsen in the future – presenting the dual challenge of doing what you need to do at the time, and working to change your dog’s reactions for the future.

In this article we will look at five common dog care challenges that often cause problems for owners, and how to resolve them. Read on to learn more.

Cleaning your dog’s teeth

Using a dog safe toothbrush and special toothpaste to clean your dog’s teeth a few times a week is by far the best way to keep their teeth and gums in good condition, and avoid dental decay, bad breath, and other problems that can develop over time.

However, very few dog owners actually clean their dog’s teeth regularly, and this is because it can be quite challenging until your dog gets used to the process and comes to accept or even enjoy it. Getting a dog used to having their teeth cleaned is best achieved whilst the dog is still young, and can be a lot more challenging further down the line.

Begin by choosing the right products and taking advice from your vet on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly, and begin by getting your dog used to the brush slowly, as well as having their gums lifted and teeth examined.

Keep cleaning sessions short and encouraging and over time, build up to regularly and thoroughly brushing your dog’s teeth a few times a week.

Clipping your dog’s nails

Dogs often find nail clipping a strange and unsettling experience, as their legs are lifted, feet handled, and of course, the sound of the clipper itself can make many dogs jump. This can make nail clipping a struggle at the best of times, but if your dog has previously had the quick of their nail accidentally nipped by the clippers, the pain and shock of this can make things a lot harder in the future!

There is no way to shortcut getting a dog comfortable with nail clipping, particularly if they’ve had an unpleasant experience with this before. However, doing so will pay off in the long term, so it is worth the effort. Try asking a professional dog groomer who is experienced with working with nervous dogs to help out, and work with your dog at home to get them more comfortable by lifting their legs, handling their paws, and manipulating their claws in between trims.

Giving your dog a pill

Dogs tend to be less than choosy about what they eat, which means that you can often disguise pills in food and administer them to your dog without them being any the wiser. However, if your dog is too savvy to eat food with a pill in or if the pills cannot be given with food for some reason, it all gets a little more complicated.

Tools such as a pill popper can help to make things easier, but if you cannot get your dog to swallow a pill when needed, you might need to revise your approach. This article will provide some tips and tricks to get you started.

Bathing your dog

Bathing a dog can be a complicated and messy procedure even when things go well, but if your dog is stressed, excited or otherwise wants to make life difficult for you, they will usually manage this very effectively!

A shortcut to managing bathing at home is to take your dog to a groomer and let them handle things, but there are a number of ways in which you can make it easier to bathe your dog at home too.

Keeping your dog calm and relaxed is vital, as is ensuring that where and how you bathe your dog makes it easy to reach them and move them around. Securing your dog with leads, harnesses and potentially, help from someone else can all make the process quicker and easier, and you should endeavour to make baths fun and enjoyable for your dog so that they don’t begin to act out as soon as you turn the water on!

Trying new harnesses and equipment

A simple collar and lead is fine for many dogs when going out for walks but for others, a little more kit may be needed. Things like harnesses, Haltis, dog coats and booties might be essential for some dogs, but it can take dogs time to get used to wearing something new, and it is important not to rush the process.

If you’re trying to get your dog comfortable with a new harness or item of clothing, don’t just dress them up and take them out. Particularly when it comes to things like booties, the feeling of wearing them for the first time can be alien and unsettling for your dog, and it can take a while for them to accept such things without a fuss.

Take the time to get your dog used to wearing their new kit at home and accept putting it on without a fuss before you venture out for the first time, and encourage and reward your dog when they behave sensibly about it all!



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