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I have a 2 year old Irish setter who loves fuss and being stroked etc. We moved house 6 months ago and opposite my house is a huge area of forest to play in, he absolutely loves it and runs around loving life for hours. My problem is now the bad weather has arrived the area has got pretty muddy, therefore i am needing to wash and brush him etc more often. Being bathed he is OK with, doesn’t particularly enjoy it but stands fairly still and tolerates it. Brushing his back, ears, head and tail he’s also ok with, however now he’s getting a lot more dirty he is also getting his feathers far messier and in some areas a couple of matts have appeared, i worked the majority out with a comb and conditioner again he was ok, however what we have all noticed is that when we go to brush him or even touch around the folds of his groin area, he hates it, growls and snaps, this is where the small (ten pence piece size matts are) they must be pulling on his skin and i totally emphasise with why he is reacting the way he is to them, he seems to have made an association with anyone touching there and pain. I’m not sure if when being groomed he’s been hurt, or someone’s caught a Matt while stroking. Its only recently started happening.
I’d cut them out if he let me anywhere near there. I could restrain him and do it, but then i fear he’s going to become more fearful of that area being groomed going forward. I also dont want to traumatise him.
Any suggestions anyone? Does any of you have a setter that isn’t keen on being groomed?
i live inside a forest too and I put on some conditioner on legs belly, and when I get back, I just hose the conditioner off, no matts or tangles.
works every time
One of my girls doesn't like being groomed but she doesn't growl or snap. She is very birdy and loves the water (we are bordered by a river as well as a very dirty pond) so she is much like your boy. First of all, if he is going to be playing in the woods I would definitely coat his feathers and sensitive areas with conditioner BEFORE he goes out. ("Mane N Tail" for horses works great!) When my girl is done playing, I would ensure he is brushed and combed out daily whether he needs it or not, to get him more used to it, using conditioner and working the knots by holding close to the skin so they don't pull and brushing out from then ends gently. Sometimes just working a heavy glob of conditioner through the matt will help release it. When working at those sensitive areas around the groin area just make it quick and easy and shave those tiny matts in areas that you can't see when he's standing up. Restraining him and combing or cutting them out takes too long. You need to check for grasses and thorns that can work their way under the skin. Always do the worst matts before bathing. If he requires a major grooming job split it into several sessions until he gets more comfortable being groomed or take him to a groomer who is prepared for a dog that doesn't like grooming but needs to be treated with compassion. Preferably they would be familiar with a proper Irish Setter groom, as well. Then get the groomer to do a sanitary groom so those "littles" don't get all caught up with sticks and knots. Once the unseen areas are shorter he will be easier for you to groom daily. Sometimes one of my girls gets little tiny knots in her arm pit. I show, so can't clip them. I take her to the groomer for those so she won't hate me. Hahaha!
Sorry, I just realized this post is from January. Hope he is dealing with grooming better now!