‘Hard to groom’ Zack

Of the three Pyrenean Mountain Dogs we have given refuge to, Zack is the most difficult to groom. Monty, which is no longer with us, did not enjoy being groomed but he tolerated it. Maddi, being a typical female, will sit fairly quietly for me when I groom her. Zack, on the other hand, will run away as soon as I lay a comb on him!

Yours truly is the nominated dog groomer in the house. Of course I did not pick myself for the job, but no one else does it, so the business has fallen to me. Unfortunately, I am right-handed and suffer almost constantly from a sore right shoulder because of the cleaning work I do in the guest house. As a result, dog grooming can only take place – and only in short spurts – when my shoulder is feeling less sore.

I am actually quite embarrassed about Zack’s and Maddi’s coats as I think they could look less untidy. Maddi has very fine soft hair and always looks unkempt right after I comb her once she has lain down. She is also an untidy eater; thus her face always looks a little wet and oily.

Zack, on the other hand, is a tidy dog. Nevertheless, he still needs to be groomed. However, the tricks he pulls when I try to brush his hair makes it very difficult for me to comb him properly. One of his tricks is to turn onto his back and paw at me, expecting me to rub his tummy and play with him. Those long legs of his surely have a long reach and have caught my glasses a number of times. His best trick however is to run off. He will literally get up and go away.

When I first started to groom Zack, he would not even let me touch his tail without trying to mouth my hand. Now, I can do so with impunity but he has also developed a new way of avoiding the grooming process at that end of him: he sits down on his rump, thus denying me access to his furry behind. I also suffer from a bad back, so after a few minutes of combing either dog, I become achy and find it rather sore to stand up as my vertebrae stretch out again.

Perhaps the most tricky part of grooming Zack is when he has a dirty behind. This is a two-person job and I am inevitably the one at the nether end using a pair of fine scissors to trim the very gritty hairs near his delicate parts. Meanwhile, Hubby will have gathered a handful of turkey ham or some such treat in one hand, and with the other holding Zack’s collar, he would be sitting halfway up the stairs in our apartment slowly feeding our dog, whilst I crouch down at the other end cleaning his backside.

We hit on the method above for cleaning Zack’s nether regions when he first dirtied himself terribly because of slimy poo. Bits had dried onto his hair and as we do not have a large enough shower to wash our dog, we decided we would have to tidy him up some other way. So I hit on the idea of having Zack straddling a few steps on our stairway so that I would have a better view to work with when cleaning him. Meanwhile, in order to keep him from running off, Hubby would entice Zack with v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y apportioned food so as to keep him occupied at the front end rather than being bothered with what was happening at his bottom end. Our teamwork does work very well indeed!

I have just been combing Zack; and half an hour later, as I write this post, I am still nursing an aching back and a sore shoulder. I wish Hubby would allow me to take the dogs into a grooming parlour just once to see if it would work for us. And if it did, then perhaps such soreness will become a thing of the past where dog grooming is concerned.

pyrenean mountain dog

Here is Zack, my baby at 9 months of age, so still small in size. He was taken from an abusive home and we rescued him about 3 years ago from Scottish Pyrenean Rescue (www.scottishpyreneanrescue.webs.com).

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