Do you remember thinking THAT? Reactive Dogs Need MORE LOVE!

Do you remember that moment when seeing a dog lunging, barking, and baring teeth thinking, “Oh my gosh, that is a horrible dog! Why doesn’t the owner yell at it or train it better? What a bad dog!” Do you remember thinking THAT? Okay, well the thoughts might not have been exactly that, but I remember hurrying my dog away while giving sidelong glances at the owner of a reactive dog passing by. At the time I didn’t know what “reactive” meant or that “reactive” was even a term to describe dogs.

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What is a reactive dog? Well a reactive dog isn’t a dog who barks a lot, or a jumping kangaroo dog. Reactivity is seen when a dog overreacts to something. When a dog is scared they hide, bark, lunge, snarl, etc. If you’ve heard of flight or fight, this is where it takes place. A reactive dog will TAKE ACTION. It won’t stay frozen. You may see it freeze for a few seconds, but it will quickly decide whether to run & hide or try to scare away whatever it is truly scared of.

Before Oreo I had a childhood dog that lived 18 long years with me. I loved Snowy, the white-highland terrier. She was was stubborn as all heck and loved playing a good game of chase when we were 10 years old around the neighborhood for hours. She was your average behaved terrier, one with little behavioral problems who you could trust around many people. Did she bark? Sure. Did she overreact and seem to “lose it”? No.

When my husband and I decided to get a puppy, we didn’t think we’d have a lifetime of training ahead of us. We, like the average dog owner, thought we would take her to a few classes and she would be well-behaved. Do you remember thinking THAT? Well, how wrong we were indeed. As a puppy I tried to give Oreo many experiences with other dogs, training, and people. As a teacher and person, I am someone who “follows the rules” to the best of my ability. Being a good dog owner, I pleaded with my husband to take a walk with Oreo before we went shopping at the mall when she was 9 months old. That walk changed everything. A few weeks after that walk Oreo started showing signs of being reactive. See on that same walk, the walk I thought I had to take her on, she got attacked by another dog.

Oreo when we first got her

Oreo when we first got her

A week or so after the attack we took Oreo back to the vet to get checked out again. I remember sitting in the waiting room with her & instead of her cowering on my lap or on the floor next to me, she was now wildly lunging, barking, & snapping at a passing dog. When we got into the area where the vet examines Oreo, she snarled and hid under the chair, not wanting to be touched. This was very unlike her, a shy, but easygoing, sweet tempered dog. At puppy training she was recommended as a therapy dog.

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Things definitely changed.

Those were the first signs and as they progressed to an event I call the “culminating one” (I’ll save that for another post), I knew I needed to do something. We called in a local trainer, who came into our home and Oreo was very calm & great. However, outside in the neighborhood she cowered, then barked and lunged at dogs in other apartments. He told us a few tricks and went home.

He didn’t seem concerned, but I WAS. I now have at least 20 or more publications & books on reactive dogs and training. I can’t thank Ali Brown enough & her training & book (Scaredy Dog!) which turned my life & saved Oreo’s life. I remember thinking dogs like Oreo were bad. Those dogs couldn’t be lovable, they must be like that all the time, unlovable. How wrong was I? I believe reactive dogs need MORE LOVE because they are afraid, because they do need self-confidence. Does this mean hugging them? HECK NO!!  What I mean is attention, training, doing things fun for them, building confidence, and spending time with them helping them learn ways to cope with the scary world around them.

It’s been a long rode, from thinking dogs were bad, misbehaved, to really seeing what is going on inside a dog & its’ emotions. As humans and dog owners we must ask ourselves WHY a dog does certain things & how we can help them. We must give our reactive dogs MORE LOVE because boy do they need it!!

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Should We Care?

Should we are what other people think of our dogs? Only minutes ago I was sitting on my porch while Oreo lounged in the spring-growing grass towards a neighbors dog that appeared from behind a car. The neighbors were taking their dog for a walk and emerged from behind their car with their dog on leash. I wasn’t expecting this, didn’t hear them as I was engrossed working on typing for a book I’m working on and of course Oreo lost it. Her threshold was over and there was no time to call her to attention or tempt her with treats. My laptop rolled off of my lap as I scrambled to pull her back on the leash.

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At this point I knew I couldn’t bring her into the house since she weighs too much for me to drag her in, plus they nearly passed our house. “Attack dog huh?” was the question the neighbor asked through the loud barking as they passed. I was too entangled with my job of keeping my dog in control to answer. When the neighbor’s dog finally was out of sight I the barking stopped and Oreo did a few paces around then laid back down into her casual spot. “No, we don’t want that, ” I heard from the neighbor. I have no idea what they were talking about, but for some reason I think I know. The neighbor is due any day now, and they have been talking about putting a large wooden fence up (which I would love, then we could get a fence and save some money by connecting it!). I can only guess perhaps she was saying she wouldn’t want her child attacked (who would?).

Oreo was scared. She’s reactive, so she reacts. I failed in my job to get her attention before she reached her threshold. However, I’m not going to pine about it-there was nothing I could have done, animals and people always appear from behind objects, which Oreo reacts to the worst. She does not like surprises, especially big scary surprises that remind of her of the attack from her past.

So why did I care what the neighbors thought? Well I automatically felt embarrassed because I thought I looked like a fool as I scrambled to hold onto my dog. I grew up with a mother who definitely cares what people think. I don’t usually care too much, but with Oreo I am more protective. I wish people could see how caring, kind, and loving this dog is. She is all kisses and cuddling inside (with the occasional leave me alone stare or warning if she is sleeping). However, I know people who are knowledgeable about reactive dogs know exactly how I feel. I highly recommend a reactive dog class that is positive. Not only do you learn how to give your dog courage, manage, and train your dog, but you also find companionship and comfort knowing you are not the only one and people do understand.

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My Dog is Deadly Contagious

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As I was away enjoying a few days with my mom in the Poconos, I got an urgent call from my husband seemingly upset. He rattled off a tale that I have been fearing ever since Oreo got attacked…a person who just doesn’t understand.

As many of you know, we live in townhomes, which we have been trying to get out of FOREVER! We finally sold our home back in May, but are currently stuck in a short sale. We do have a date we have to get out though-end of September is the moving date (YAY!). Anyway, he was enjoying a nice walk on the walkway behind out homes (about 50 feet away from our back door) with the dog and out of the corner of his eye he saw one of neighbors open his back sliding door and let the dog out. The neighbor is newer, but has mostly followed the rules about leashing his dog. My husband kept going on his leisurely walk with Oreo until he saw a golden retriever mix heading straight for them. Apparently the neighbor brought his dog out without a leash, surprise, surprise.

This is the scary moment, where I would say, “HOLY SHIT, IT’S HAPPENING!” Luckily, my husband is stronger than I am, and he told me that lifted her up way above his head as the dog approached. Oreo couldn’t see the dog since it was like Simba being held up in The Lion King. The dog below didn’t growl or snarl, but barked and waited below my husband to greet Oreo. However, Oreo was not in the greeting mood-she was looking around wildly trying to find the dog, growling and snarling.

“Don’t worry my dog is nice, she just wants to play,” was the response from our neighbor. Wow, how cliché is that? My husband yelled back, “My dog is not nice and will attack your dog!” The neighbor took his time getting to the dog, calling it-with no response. He finally reached his dog and left without a word. No sorry, no it won’t happen again, NOTHING!

Ugh! I have heard this blogged about countless times-people who think if their dog is nice, it’s okay. What if my dog isn’t nice? Should I have a blinking sign or shirt made that says stay away my dog will tear you apart? Maybe then, people would get the point…probably not. Our neighbor didn’t seem too concerned that his dog would be attacked. I would be running to get my dog and apologizing profusely if I were in his position.

Not surprisingly I was enjoying reading “The Whole Dog Journal” on my porch in the back yesterday with Oreo laying at my feet, when who comes out unsupervised? The golden mix pooch. At least he was leashed this time, but his leash was long enough to cross 3 townhomes and no one was supervising him (the rules in the neighborhood don’t allow dogs to be outside without someone with them). Oreo of course went ballistic as I pulled her inside then asked for tricks and gave her treats…I can’t wait to move & I bet Oreo can’t wait either!

The morale of the story is to have a plan. Matt and I have talked about this many times after Oreo was attacked-we wished we had a plan before she was attacked. We decided that we would risk getting bitten by Oreo if she would go crazy and bite us to get down (which hasn’t happened..) and risk getting attacked by the approaching dog. We decided we would rather be attacked than the dog. That is our personal choice, where many people would not risk it. I told my husband to yell to the owner of the loose dog that our dog is not friendly and will attack their dog. However, I see that doesn’t work as effectively as I thought. I did read somewhere where someone suggested that you should call out, “My dog is highly contagious.I thought I could take it another step and say, “My dog is deadly contagious.” (haha) I read recently if you are near a car you can try to get on the roof of a car if a dog is actually attacking-I always keep that in mind. Whether the dog is friendly or not, if your dog is reactive towards dogs, you must have a plan.

Go Ahead, Treat Adults Like Children (They Just Don’t Get it!)

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Speak up for your pup because sometimes people don’t get the message!

It came to my attention this past weekend that I needed to treat my mom like a child when it comes to dogs.

Did I like treating her like a kid, repeating the same thing to her many times to ensure she would listen? No, absolutely not. Was it necessary? Definitely!

Many times we don’t always say what is on our mind when it comes to our dogs. We worry about what people might think of us, if they will be mad, laugh, or get upset with us if we do or say things that don’t seem “normal”. For example, this past weekend my parents were watching Oreo. My brother and sister-in-law were stopping over for a few minutes. I told my mom to put her in the bedroom when they came over. “It’s just Den and Lila, she’ll be fine,” was my mother’s response. “No, she won’t be fine. Please put her in the bedroom, it’s better to be safe than sorry,” I replied. “Oh come on Jess, don’t be ridiculous…” The conversation continued like this until I basically had to annoy her and get her to comply. Yes, she was doing us a favor watching the dog, but Oreo is a bite risk if left around strangers (she doesn’t see them much at all). I called the night before my brother was coming over to remind her. Did she get angry? YES! She told me not to treat her like a child, that she knows. I tried to explain why I reminded her, yet she didn’t quite understand.

That’s the point, PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO UNDERSTAND. We need to stick up for our dogs and for what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable. They don’t have a voice, so we need to speak for them.

If I didn’t speak up to my mom Oreo could’ve easily bitten or had a bad experience that couldn’t worsened her reactivity. Maybe she would have been fine with them, but why risk it?

Sometimes we have to treat other people like children, beacause they just don’t get it. People who aren’t associated with dog training or have had a reactive/scared dog just don’t get it. What’s worse is that they don’t believe you. When you tell people your dog will NOT be okay in a certain situation you are most likely met with the comment, “Oh well she’ll be okay, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.” This is where you have to be your dogs’ protector. You can protect your pup many ways, but one of the most powerful ways is to speak up even if you feel uncomfortable. Trust me, things will work out better and after you have stuck up for your dog (even if you’ve offended someone) you will feel better and so will your dog.

So go ahead, treat someone like a child if they don’t understand. Stand up for your dog!

During an Attack

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Today I’m going to cover what to do if you or your dog are attacked by another dog. Even if you believe it will never happen to you or your pup, you should still be ready in an emergency.

Before the dog attacks:

-Keep your eyes open on walks, scanning the area for stray or loose dogs. If you see one, head in the opposite direction.

-Do not run. If a dog is frozen in place looking at you and you decide to run, you lose. The dog will be more excited and definitely run after you. However, if the dog is already running towards you and you are close to your home or something that will help you, then running is the way to go.

When the dog is running towards you or stops and stares at you:

-Try commanding the dog into a sit or down.

-Make yourself really big. Outstretch your arms, get on your toes and yell for the dog to go home or stay.

When the dog is attacking or about to attack:
-Find a car-take your dog and yourself and stand on top of a car. This will give you shelter from a dog or at least an advantage since you are higher than the dog, and it’s unlikely (but definitely not impossible) that the dog will follow you.

-Take out that umbrella, pepper spray, or stun baton and use it if the dog is aggressively approaching (growling, tense stance, snarling, barking). Don’t wait until it’s too late-use the weapon BEFORE the dog latches onto you or your pup. Also, if I were you and you are considering buying pepper spray-either get dog pepper spray or bear pepper spray. You may wonder why bear spray? Let’s face it-all dogs aren’t the same and if you have a big strong dog in front of you, you want the best to protect yourself and your dog.

-If a dog attacks, it is advised that you curl up in a ball and play dead. However, if you are with your pup you can bet 9 out of 10 times the dog will be going after your pup first, not you. You need to defend yourself. Find a stick or something nearby to pick up and make yourself scary.

-The stick or something else like a bat, umbrella, yard stick-anything can come in handy when the dog is on you. You can use these to put between yourself or your dog-and the attacking dog. You could use your coat-take it off roll it up and shove it in the dog’s mouth.

-This is a personal choice-but if the dog is attacking you or your dog-I would personally offer my arm. I know it sounds horrible, but I’d rather have one arm attacked than my stomach, head, legs, or my pup. I will still have an arm and two legs to fight back. DO NOT pull your arm from the dog, it will only make it worse and rip your arm apart.

-If worst case scenario the dog is attacking you-it’s on you-go for the eyes try to poke it’s eyes or go for its throat by trying to choke it so it will stop attacking you.

-It may be unlikely depending where you are, but if there is a hose nearby or water-spray the dog in the face-they will be surprised and most likely stop attacking.

If the dog is attacking your puppy:
-Choke the dog. Get behind the dog and put your arm around the dog’s neck to choke it until it lets go. It may sound violent, but the attack itself is violent, and some dogs do NOT want to release, even if you are punching them. Believe me, from first hand experience punching a dog in the face, head or body usually does not work.

-Lift the back or front legs from the dog to unbalance the dog-you may surprise it and it will release. However, be prepared, it may turn on you.

-Use a break stick-something to wedge in the dog’s mouth to open it. Straddle the dog and lock your legs around the dog’s hips. Pull the dog by the collar to raise its’ head. Put the breaking stick in the opening of the dog’s mouth where the molar gap is located. Try to get it at least 1/2 inch to 2 inches inside the dog’s mouth. Turn the stick like a motorcycle handle. This will cause the dog to bite on the stick and release your pup or yourself from its’ grip.

The most effective thing is to always be aware of your surroundings on the walk. However, most times dog attacks are surprises. Usually dogs get out of an open gate, broken door, or are running free in a yard. Always take a walking stick, pepper spray, stun baton, umbrella, or something with you in case of an attack. Always be prepared. It isn’t hard to carry something with you, or just put some pepper spray in your pocket. Best to ALWAYS BE PREPARED.

Protecting Yourself and Your Dog

Depending on where you live you will have to consider different types of protection.

If you live near the woods or in an environment that has lots of wildlife you might consider some of these tips:-Have a fenced in area where your dog can roam without fear of bears, wildcats, or whatever type of animals go wild in your backyard!
-If you don’t have a fence always check outside for wildlife
-Stay with your dog and hang out or play games while your dog is outside

Most people don’t live in that type of environment, but a more populated one. Here are some tips on protection for more populated areas:

-If you are letting your dog out-again-have a fence. If you own a bit of land you may not have to worry about that depending on how populated the area and how many dogs are around.

My main concern is walks…here are some things you might want to consider bringing with you:
-dog pepper spray
-a walking stick
-billy club
-umbrella
-cell phone

Believe it or not…I have a stun baton, which is a baton that will extend if you press a button then stun anything it touches. Yes, it is a bit overkill, and no I don’t still take it with me on walks-although I might regret that-who knows.
After Oreo was attacked I would do anything to protect her again. If you know the story, you know that the pit bull would not release her even with hitting, punch, and choking. I did research and decided to invest in some dog pepper spray and a stun baton. I still carry pepper spray and my cell phone with me.

I always thought that it would never happen to me, I grew up with a dog that never got attacked. I live in a safe neighborhood where nothing bad happens and everyone is friendly. However, one sunny Saturday it happened when all I wanted to do was go shopping with my husband and take Oreo for quick walk before shopping. I insisted we needed to take her for a walk after my husband said she would be fine at home, she didn’t need a walk. What a mistake the walk was!

The walking stick, billy club, and umbrella can be helpful in first scaring a dog that comes up to you and putting something between you and the dog or between both dogs. It also acts as a pry to open up a dogs’ mouth if it locks its’ jaw on your dog. It is almost impossible to open a locked jaw unless you somehow pull out all the legs of the dog to shock it, or cut off its breathing. However, if you have something with you that you can slide in the dogs’ mouth to pry it open, that can save your dogs’ life. Some people have used crow bars, yard stakes, anything that you can wedge in the dogs’ mouth to open it.

The cell phone is for calling for help if needed. I was lucky enough to be walking with my husband who stayed with Oreo after the attack while I ran home for the car. There are many things you can carry with you that might help you on walks, but I suggest you take at least one or two of them with you. I never carried anything with me before, but will always carry protection with us now.

Local Dog Attack

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This is the picture of a local dog that was recently attacked and the story has been reported in the media. Oreo, (not my Oreo) is a cockapoo who was attacked and severely injured just last month.

A loving dog parent and family’s worst nightmare. A dog attack.

Oreo the cockapoo was outside with Tammie Jesberger’s father-Bill Tittel. He was taking her for walk around noon in a nice neighborhood. As they walked to the top of the road he saw two pit bulls. Before he knew what was happening, the larger one attacked Oreo and went right for her throat. Bill hit the dog and managed to get the pit bull off of Oreo after pulling out its’ front legs. Oreo was released and Bill yelled for Oreo to go home, but Oreo wouldn’t leave his side.

Bill had to get Oreo home, but knew he couldn’t let go of the pit bull’s front legs or it would go right for Oreo again. He decided to keep holding the dog’s front legs and it used its’ back legs to walk so he could try to get Oreo home. The dog tried to lunge at him and Oreo but he used a strong voice saying, “DON’T YOU DARE!” Tittel being an older gentlemen, dragged the dog as far as he could, trying to get his own dog home. He yelled out for help, but none came and he collapsed after using all of his strength to protect his dog.

Bill’s daughter Tammie heard the commotion and tried to get the pit bull off of Oreo (which again had a deadly grip on her throat after Bill collapsed). Bill scraped up the strength to get up and ran for a shovel and hit the dog with it, but its’ lock was holding. The pit bull dragged Oreo into the bushes shaking her like a rag doll.

Tammie remembered something she saw on Animal Planet about wrestling alligators and grabbed a Christmas decoration and took the stake from it and pried the pit bull’s mouth open. The pit bull released Oreo. Tammie grabbed Oreo and rushed inside, with the pitbull barking and lunging-leaving bloody paw prints and scrapes on the front door. Tammie wrapped Oreo in a towel and called 911. The police came and the dog tried attacking officers who shot the dog. The entire attack lasted over 40 minutes.

Oreo had extensive injuries including a broken jaw and ripped open throat. The owner of the pit bull is paying penalties for not having the pit bull on leash or contained in the yard. He is also paying thousands of dollars for Oreo’s vet bills. Oreo has been to the vet many times for surgeries and is physically recovering. Tammie reports that Oreo is very nervous and wakes up every night crying from nightmares. Tammie and her father say that we can’t even imagine the terror and what they lived through.

Unfortunately many people do and can imagine the terror with the rates of dog attacks increasing. I wished after Oreo (my Oreo) was attacked that NO ONE else would ever have to go through that nightmare, but it happens every single day. My former coworker on facebook just posted her new puppy was attacked by another dog and now has a broken jaw. People let their dogs wander the neighborhood or have doors that don’t close securely. Dogs escape fences and people approach unfriendly dogs. Even a friendly dog can attack for many reasons. That’s why we always need to be prepared. I am not trying to scare or disgust you (although I’m sure the article does). I am trying to make it clear that dog attacks can, will, and do happen anywhere and frequently. In the next few articles posted, I will discuss how to protect yourself, your dog, and the both of you from the nightmare of a dog attack. I will also address what to do if you or your dog gets attacked legally, reporting it, and the after effects from a dog attack, including ways to help your dog be brave again.

Buying a Puppy for Christmas

Considering buying a puppy or pet for Christmas?

Please don’t!

PETS ARE NOT GIFTS/TOYS. Please do NOT give a dog as a gift/toy. A dog is a family member, very much like a baby in many ways. Don’t buy the dog on a whim-yes they are sooooo cute and can be cuddly, but they also can pee and poop all over your house and tear apart your belongings. Puppies have fear periods and the holidays are full of commotion. You want to get a puppy or dog at a time of stability and calmness. Breeders don’t usually sell Christmas litters because it takes TIME to train them and socialize them properly. You might be disappointed with a puppy when you find out they keep you up every night crying and make messes. They might not be the “Christmas Present” you thought they would be. Please don’t adopt/buy during Christmas or for Christmas-many dogs are returned during this time and this can have a profound effect on the dog for the rest of it’s life.

If you have talked about getting a dog, please be serious and committed to the dog. Do your research if you haven’t had a dog. Ask neighbors, friends, and trainers the effort that needs to be put into training and having a dog. Consider adopting a shelter dog. Instead of adopting/buying a dog right away, perhaps have a card saying, “Let’s talk about getting a dog!” Over the holidays you can discuss many different things:

  • Where to get the dog (finding a reputable breeder, adopting from a shelter, etc)
  • How to train the dog
  • Do your research about dog training, adopting, house training, etc.
  • Discuss breed type-get some books!
  • Discuss cost of a dog/puppy and consider all the food/vet bills/equipment
  • Discuss time you will need to put into training with your dog/spending with your dog (make sure you have time!)

Overall, adopting a shelter dog is a wonderful thing to do. Adding a puppy or dog to your family can be very rewarding, however, please don’t do it around the holidays.

Be Your Dog’s Advocate

Stand up for your scared pooch!

Yesterday my husband and I took a lovely, long walk. Even though the air was cold and crisp, we enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood. We encountered a few dogs in yards. Luckily enough they stayed in their yards. We decided to keep our distance and I grasped my treats to give to Oreo as we walked by. I was also holding onto those treats tightly incase I needed to launch them into an approaching dogs face.

We must stand up for our dogs. If your dog is scared of another dog, don’t let the dog come up to it. We had a close call on the way home when someone was greeting relatives. The man opened his door and started walking across the roach when his little poodle came running out after him. I’m sure the dog was nice, as everyone reassured us. However, I place myself in between my dog and the white poodle looking to say hello. Luckily I was with my husband, who picked up Oreo (she is not light anymore, around 45 lbs.). I yelled for the people to get their dog. I told them my dog will attack their dog (seemed like a good thing to say to get them moving, they were moving sloooww). “Oh, she’s nice, don’t worry about it,” they replied. I don’t think so….I called back to them telling them she WILL bite their dog, they need to call it back.

You know that awkward moment when someone tries to walk by you, you move out of the way, but you actually move in their way. Then they move to the right, and you move to the right, and you both are gridlocked like you are playing a blocking game. Well, that’s what we were doing. The poodle moved to the right I moved in front of it and said “No!” The people might have taken offense, but too bad…MOVE YOUR DOG, it’s like 2 feet away from being attacked or who knows! They called their poodle, yet it didn’t listen. Luckily I kept blocking the dog long enough for the owner to scoop it up when if finally swerved to the side and started peeing. Unbelievable.

We live in a condo area, so it’s the law to keep your dog on a leash at all times. There are many condos tightly packed together, with many people around. The man let his dog follow him and run around right in the middle of the street. It horrified me even more that the dog seemed to have no recall skills. If I didn’t stick up for Oreo I don’t know what would have happened. Maybe she would have been nice to the dog, but more likely she would have been scared and lashed out. I didn’t want her training to regress, but I also didn’t want her to have to experience that fear of being attacked or having to attack herself to protect herself. I had to show her that I would protect her. She could trust me, and I wouldn’t let her be attacked again.

It’s important to protect your dog from major triggers and fears. For example, if your dog is afraid of small children, don’t let children pet your dog. Tell them your dog is scared, sick, or training, or the truth-that it would bite them. Do what you need to do to protect your dog. They can’t talk the same way we can, so talk for them. Be your dog’s advocate.

Taking the Scare Out of the Hair

Today’s blog post is a review of a product called the Scaredy Cut Silent Clippers. As you see above, it is basically scissors plus an attachment combs.  When you order the product it comes in either blue or pink, with 6 attachments from very long to very short.

When Oreo was under a year old she would get groomed (hair cut) at a local pet store. I was told she was very good during trimming. Eventually she would throw a fit when she saw us leaving (like a 2-year-old barking throwing herself on the ground, etc). Still, after a few minutes the groomers would take her in the back and she would be fine. After being attacked, her fear of dogs came about so bringing her to a dog store is not a great idea. I thought of alternatives, maybe having someone come to the house or a traveling groomer or even a local one with no other dogs there.

However, her fear of people had increased and other reasons added to our decision to do her hair ourselves. For one, we paid over $45 each grooming session. Cutting her hair ourselves would save us some money. Additionally, she has come back from the groomers with cuts before. We have tried a few groomers and days later each time we would find cuts and scratches on her that were not there before.

So I decided to take things into my own hands. My mother always groomed out west highland terrier herself with an electric razor. So I brought Oreo to my moms and we plugged it in to get started. Immediately the humming vibrations freaked her out! She would not come anywhere near it and was scared to death. Well, that was out of the question unless I wanted to go through weeks of training to have her adjust to the humming noise. Plus the thing was big, heavy, and bulky…I wouldn’t want that coming at me if it was around the size of my head either! Great, now what was I going to do?

Internet! Yes, I am an avid user of the internet and finding answers on here. I searched no noise razor, silent dog groomer, quiet haircut for dogs, etc until I came across the scaredy cut. I said hey, I’ll give it a try. I was skeptical knowing that Oreo is afraid of almost everything new, and thought it would take FOREVER to give her a haircut. However, I read reviews and took the advice of others.

My amazon purchase arrived shortly later that week and I opened the package to be surprised by how easy it looked. Everything looks easy until you try it right? Wrong! I spent some time having Oreo touch the scissors and treating her so she knew it was a “good thing”.  I progressed to taking her outside and running it along her back (not cutting), and treating. I was trying to get her to think it was a positive thing. I read many other reviews from people on amazon and some used similar techniques with their scared dogs or cats. Eventually I cut a piece of her hair and treated her immensely. Yay! We did a little at a time.

The first time I gave her a haircut I will admit it took a long time. Not because of the product, but because she was scared. I probably cut her hair for about 10 minutes, then gave her a break. I focused on one section of her body, then we took a break. Sometimes we came inside and played or did other things then returned to cutting later so she wouldn’t be anxious.

The scissor attachments work great. I started with a longer attachment but found the shortest one the best for most of her body except her face and lower legs. All I had to do was run the scissor with the attachment up her back and snip snip snip. I was amazed at how quick I could cut her hair, if she wasn’t afraid. The hardest area for her of course was her paws and face. That took much longer because it required more stopping and more treating. However, I am happy to say now she is hardly bothered by the trimming of her face (however she seems annoyed at me sometimes!). She is MUCH better with me trimming around her legs and feet, especially when she is tired (that is key!).

Overall, the Scarey Cut is a great tool for people who want to save money or have scaredy dogs or cats. She actually loves it now and will lay down and sleep while I am cutting her hair! Well, I can’t say she loves the scissors, but I know she loves the treats that come along with them. I can probably cut all of her hair (back, belly, feet, legs, trim ears, face, etc) in an hour or less depending on how perfect I want it. It has been a wonderful gift for us and can’t thank the inventor enough!